Google search queries data inaccurate
Early June 2010 a sudden loss of data occured in the reporting of search queries in Google Webmaster Tools (GWT). Search results hit a hard zero in GWT which given the evidence in web analytics tools just couldn't be the case. Where that data went and how it was found no one knows, but it was solved.
Using the functional feature of starred queries makes pinpointing the 2 search phrases that are driving the inflation of the search queries quite easy.
Anomalies are easy to spot in the search queries reports, as an example look at the number of displayed impressions of the starred report. If 2 selected search phrases are chosen, the report states that 1.000 impressions are displayed. But 590 + 480 = 1070. Odd math due to "Caffeine" rush?
According to GWT there where a total of 210 clicks that occured during the full month of June 2010, however the web analytics tool reports 293 (see image above). This indicates that GWT in this specific case only detects ~72% of the clicks, and with that kind of gap the numbers are merely estimates.
Despite the vast amount of traffic data Google has been collecting since day 1 (or maybe because of) Google is apparently unable to produce reliable reporting in GWT. And when impressions suddenly take a sharp peak upwards in a normally dead period one it becomes evident that there is more than a ghost in the machine.
Perhaps this is just the Caffeine effect kicking in, then it's a good thing I guess if it in percentage continues to generate the corresponding amount of clicks. Time and repeat validation will tell. Take the GWT numbers with a huge pinch of salt!
* Pictures in the article are manipulated to fit the page format.