I have a webpage that constantly ranks for keyword "Watermark software" at place #2. From time to time I also see it in the middle of the first page for "watermark images", but it appears there randomly. I don't see it there everyday.

Webmaster Tools report average position 2 for "watermark Images", but amount of traffic is very low and I suppose Webmaster Tools report is incorrect.

I signed up for semrush and their service reports my website ranks 32nd for "watermark images". This seems to be correct considering amount of traffic I get for that keyword.

The question is what is the reason for a website to appear randomly/sporadically in Google search results? Why do Webmaster Tools report incorrect position for that keyword?

  • It's called the Google dance but Google Search Tools rankings are generally useless. Use Contigo and do your own Google search. – Simon Hayter Mar 29 '18 at 15:17

I think that Search Console should be accurate. You can filter by queries. Enter in "Watermark Images" in the queries filter. It will tell you how many impressions you received as well as your search position over a date range. This should tell you how "Watermark Images" is ranking and how much traffic you are receiving from this.

If search console is showing your position and impressions to be stable for that keyword over a date range, then I think it's likely that it is.

I think it's quite possible that Google is only showing your site for that search phrase some of the time, but not all of the time. There may be a larger search volume for a phrase than the amount of impressions that you receive.

I could be mistaken about this, but I think Google has started capping impressions for sites. If a site ranks for #2 for a search phrase, it doesn't necessarily mean that it will rank #2 100% of the time. If that's the case, then I think this is partially because Google is testing out different sites for that ranking slot.

If it thinks that two sites are very similar with similar domain authority, then it might rank 1 site half the time and another site the other half of the time. The use of this is that Google doesn't want to display duplicate content or content that is too similar to each other in the results. It wants to diversify the results that it shows.


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  • Thank you for the reply. Position graph in Webmaster Tools for "watermark images" is a fairly stable line switching between 2 and 4. So, you're probably correct it's an impressions cap. Is there a reliable way to understand why the cap is applied and how to overcome it? – Ivan Nikitin Mar 29 '18 at 16:35

Google webmaster shows only an estimated position for a keyword.

for my own site, I found that Google webmaster shows position 8th for a keyword. and this position was in Ireland & 18th in Bangladesh but keyword was not on all Google SERP pages in India or USA.

Maybe in any other geolocation, your keyword will be at a 2-4 position that's why GWT showing at that position. Keywords positions in GWT changes when Google re-crawls your that webpage.

Semrush also a good tool to track keywords and provide accurate data. but you should try Semrush special position tracking tool to check updated positions every day. (if you're not using).

if your kw is really at 32th then update your content and give some backlinks and then give some time to Google to rank it...

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