While I don’t personally use average position to track my websites’ health, I typically like to see an average position of 30 or better.
As we’ll see, there are many factors that influence average position, and when you average position goes down (by down I mean from 25 to 30 for example) it’s not always a bad sign.
A worsening average position can often mean that Google has decided to rank your articles for new search terms, and that’s a GREAT thing.
Now if you’re looking for a comparison, I’ll be sharing numbers from my own sites, so feel free to keep reading.
Finding The Average Position Across My Sites
I currently run three websites, and I have Google Search Console set up for all three. First, I want to take a look at my average position for each of the three sites.
Of course, there are many factors that can affect these numbers, but I’m not going to worry about those yet. Let’s just look at the numbers.
Site #1 – Avg. Position 28 over the last three months
I generally call this site my “first website,” even though I’ve started a handful of websites in the past that I just gave up on. This is the first website I’ve made that I stuck with long enough to see results.
It happens to be my best performing website in terms of monetization and click through rate.
This site actually saw a big increase in traffic (close to doubling) about 4 months ago. At that time the average position stayed relatively consistent.
I started this site about 2 years ago and it has between 100 and 150 articles.
Looking back at the history in Google Search Console. The average position has gotten as high as 15-20 at times and as low as 35-40 at other times. However, for the last 6 months or so it’s stayed between 25 and 35 pretty consistently.
Site #2 – Avg. Position 20.7 over the last three months
Site #2 has in many ways been my biggest learning experience. After having moderate success with Site #1, I decided to try my luck purchasing a website through an online marketplace.
When I purchased this site it had 200 articles and was about a year old. Now it’s over a year and a half old with over 250 articles.
The idea was simply to acquire a cash flowing asset and see if I could grow revenue over time. So far I’ve not seen the results I’d hoped for.
Even after adding more than 50 new articles to the site, I’ve actually seen a decrease in overall traffic. But that’s a story for another day.
The common wisdom is that a better position in search results means improved click through rate. But this site is proof that that’s not always the case. With an average position more than 7 spots higher than site #1, this site’s CTR is far lower (1.3% compared with 3.7%).
Site #3 – Avg. Position 22.5 over the last three months
Site #3 is my latest addition. I started this site about 6-7 months ago and have written over half the articles myself. So as you review the numbers for this website just remember that it is very young.
After all the things I learned from my first two sites, I started this one from scratch and thought I could improve upon the keyword research and general writing quality from site #1. And so far this site has taken off quickly.
The Search Console average position has been slowly creeping up towards 20 and the click through rate has also been creeping up. If the trend continues much longer I’ll have an average position at or above 20 and a CTR at or above 3%.
How Avg. Position Seems To Trend Over Time
While some online metrics seem to follow a trend that continues in one direction as a site ages, average position is not one of those metrics.
Pretty much across the board, the Google Search Console average position for my sites goes up and down and up and down all the time.
Here’s what I think is happening.
First 6-12 months
In the first year or so of your blog’s existence (assuming you start writing articles on day 1), you have to gain Google’s trust.
Side note: I’ve found that other search engines (Bing, Yahoo, duckduckgo, etc.) seem to trust new sites very quickly. Google does not.
In those early months it’s not unusual to see average positions of well over 50 (if you even show up in searches at all).
As Google starts to trust your site, it ranks some of your articles on the first page. And if users seem to like your content, more pages will rank and your average position will rise.
Popular articles rank for related keywords
If Google likes an article, it will rank it highly. If the article seems to satisfy searchers then Google will start to rank that article for new keywords.
For example, let’s say you wrote an article for “list of white flowers.” Google ranks the article on page 1 and users who click through to your page seem to spend a long time on the page and interact with your website.
Google assumes that the article is great, and thinks it might be useful for keywords like “how many kinds of white flowers are there” and “what kind of white flower should I buy for Valentine’s day” and “white flower with yellow center.” You get the idea.
Well when Google starts showing your article for those new search terms, it starts out ranking it low. Then it slowly ranks it higher if users seem to like your article for those terms.
This process can significantly change your average position for periods of time.
New articles you write and publish will also follow the same pattern of starting out low in the rankings and slowly rising if Google determines that the article is satisfying users.
If you all of a sudden pump out 30-50 new articles out of nowhere it can drop your average position for a while until those articles start ranking.
This behavior combined with Google ranking your articles for new keywords (and just the natural change of rankings over time) can create significant fluctuations in the average position you see in Google Search Console.
So What’s a Good Avg. Position in Google Search Console?
In my opinion, average position isn’t a great metric for determining a website’s health. However, I usually want to see an average position of 30 or better for my sites.
As we’ve seen already, average position isn’t always a good indicator of how many clicks your website will get.
If you want to track progress on your sites with Google Search Console, I recommend tracking click through rate and impressions.
My Other Data Source
Even though my one purchased site has not performed up to my expectations thus far, I haven’t given up hope.
I still regularly browse websites for sale, and I still wholeheartedly believe that investing in websites (and other online businesses) is a great way to invest your money.
It’s not uncommon for website owners to share Google Search Console data when they sell.
In fact, it’s standard to do so in certain communities like the Flipping Websites Facebook community.
The vast majority of sites I see for sale have average positions between about 18 and 35. It’s very rare to see sites for sale that fall outside that range.
The best GSC data I ever saw
Yes it’s rare to see average position outside that range, which is why I still remember the most incredible Google Search Console data on a site for sale.
The screenshot for the website showed this data:
- Average position – 12.5
- Average CTR – 9.4%
Are you kidding me?!
To this day I’ve never seen another website come anywhere near these two numbers. I won’t get into details, but the niche for this site appeared to have something to do with a severely under-served resource online.
Regardless those kind of metrics are just unheard of (as far as I know).
I want to reiterate once more than I don’t think average position in Google Search Console should be an important metric for you sites.
It can be nice for peace of mind to know that you fall within a normal range, which is 18 to 35 in my experience. But I don’t see much value in trying to optimize your site’s content to increase average search position.
I recommend optimizing for metrics like click through rate and number of total impressions.