Is Google Search Console Reliable?

The Google Search Console tool is probably the most powerful free seo tool marketers have at their disposal. It’s fantastic in a lot of ways, but like with anything you have to take it with a grain of salt. While some of their features are absolute go-to tools there are others you’re better off ignoring completely.

Thankfully, Russ Jones wrote a piece for Moz that dissects this powerhouse tool to help us understand what is worth paying attention to, and what should be avoided.

There are a handful of data sources relied upon by nearly every search engine optimizer. Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) has perhaps become the most ubiquitous. There are simply some things you can do with GSC, like disavowing links, that cannot be accomplished anywhere else, so we are in some ways forced to rely upon it. But, like all sources of knowledge, we must put it to the test to determine its trustworthiness — can we stake our craft on its recommendations? Let’s see if we can pull back the curtain on GSC data and determine, once and for all, how skeptical we should be of the data it provides.

Google Search Console screenshot

Before we dive in, I think it is worth having a quick discussion about how we might address this problem. There are basically two concepts that I want to introduce for the sake of this analysis: internal validity and external validity.