More threads by Doug429

Doug429

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Hello All!
New member of the forum here, but with years of Local/SEO experience at the enterprise agency level, and avid fan and reader of this forum, especially when client issues emerge that don't have an obvious explanation, such as the one below. Thanks in advance for any feedback or insights that you may be able to share!

One of our clients (a large enterprise brand, bulk verified account) is experiencing some anomalies with their GBP metrics per below. Any insight from the community would be appreciated!

Anomaly #1: Driving Directions Spike
  • Sudden 4x increase in late June/early July 2023. (Sustained since then.)
  • Not linked to listing changes, ranking shifts, or known Google algo updates.
  • Data verified through account and API (likely not a data gathering issue.)
Question: Was this issue observed generally across GBP, or possibly vertical-specific, and/or is there any consensus on the root cause? If not widespread, can anyone shed light on some possible explanations beyond those ruled out above?

Anomaly #2: Missing Query Impressions
  • Client ranks well for targeted, high-volume keywords (~2K listings in 3-pack.)
  • GBP API returns very limited (near zero) non-brand terms despite 3-pack rankings in thousands of locations for targeted localized terms that have a healthy volume of searches (per Keyword Planner.)
Question: Does Google filter GBP query data returned by the Performance API, favoring brand and location terms? Are there other causes or theories that may explain this?

Thanks again all!
 
Solution
1. The statement I got from the Google API team indicated that it's not a bug, but rather a change in the way they track the data. Here is the statement again
We are aware of the spike, I have reached out to our team and they have confirmed this is accurate. This is likely from improved detection and reporting from the performance metrics.
2. The API doesn't filter query data unless they believe the keyword is considered to be sensitive or it could be used to identify individuals. You might want to also check if you getting traffic but it's below the threshold and therefore not visible in your report.
Anomaly #1 = I've seen the exact same weird data for numerous clients. I'd say this was vertical-specific because I didn't see it for all, but it was a lot of verticals. Driving direction data has been really wild ever since the switch over to the new reporting API in February of 2023.

Anomaly #2 - I haven't seen this. But I can't say I've been looking for it.
 
Anomaly #1: Driving Directions Spike: I am pretty sure this is a bug with Google, but it could be industry related. What industry/category are you in? We saw this happen in January 2024 - did you also see this spike in January? Google Business Profiles Driving Directions Report With Huge Increase

Anomaly #2: Missing Query Impressions: This is not something I have experience with either but maybe @noahlearner can shed some light!
 
1. The statement I got from the Google API team indicated that it's not a bug, but rather a change in the way they track the data. Here is the statement again
We are aware of the spike, I have reached out to our team and they have confirmed this is accurate. This is likely from improved detection and reporting from the performance metrics.
2. The API doesn't filter query data unless they believe the keyword is considered to be sensitive or it could be used to identify individuals. You might want to also check if you getting traffic but it's below the threshold and therefore not visible in your report.
 
Solution
Thank you @dale-jepto , @ElizabethRule , @klharris08 for your feedback! I was OOO and traveling all last week and your update notifications got buried in my inbox, so I apologize for my delayed response here. All of your updates are super helpful.

KLHarris,
I hear you! I definitely began to see some wide fluctuations and adjustments across the board, post-February 2023 when the metrics all changed and the Performance API was released. For this client oddly, the biggest flux happened in June, after most of our clients had already started to settle into the "new normal" to a degree.

Elizabeth,
Sadly, I am not at liberty to disclose the vertical my client is in. That said, can you share any that you feel were widely impacted?

Also, I had been aware of the spike folks were seeing in January 2024, but my client first saw this back in June 2023, so we were looking at this as possibly something unrelated to that January issue. The elevated click volume did sustain through January though. I believe the Google team announced the tweak for January as likely to produce a decrease in Driving Directions, while many brands actually saw the opposite. From what Dale shared though, possibly it was the same mechanism that impacted my client earlier in the year than what Google announced?

Dale,
Thanks so much for checking in with your contacts on the Google API team! To my point above regarding timing, I just wanted to clarify or confirm, was that statement above around improved accuracy applicable as far back as June 2023, or was that feedback offered in the context of the anomalies people were reporting around January 2024?

Again, thank you all for your input here, it is very appreciated!

-Doug
 
The response from Google was only concerning the spike in Jan 24.

Any change back in June 23 might have been due to the change to unique user tracking that started back in Nov 22 in the API, but took a while to roll out to the GBP dashboard. However, as you said it would have correlated with a decrease because of the deduplicating, so it might have been something completely unrelated to either of these changes.
 

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