Is it possible to get retroactive data out of Google Search Console even if you just set it up?

Good news for people who have had a website live for awhile, but never actually set up their Google Search Console account! It is possible to get up to 16 months of past data even if you never initially set up Google Search Console or confirmed that you are the website owner.

retroactive data is available in google search console

Recently we took on a client and spot checked (googled) a few keywords that we thought they should be ranking for. Due to their domain age they were actually ranking pretty well even though they hadn’t prioritized SEO. Because SEO wasn’t on their radar, they never initially set up Google Search Console when they launched the site. As search marketers we all know that the data in search console is a gold mine for understanding opportunities including:

  • Where do they rank today for certain keywords?
  • What are they not ranking for that they should be?
  • How have their rankings and CTR changed over time?
  • Which keywords have the biggest traffic opportunity?
  • And most importantly – How have all the metrics shifted over time?

Knowing that all this data is super critical to the traffic and growth strategy we were worried that we might not be able to access all their valuable historical data since they had never set up Google Search Console.

We went ahead and set up search console by verifying the property through Google Analytics. We weren’t sure if we’d get the retroactive data but obviously wanted the data in search console moving forward. Luckily, within just a day or two – BOOM – Google provided us all their retroactive organic search data for the last 16 months. Obviously we were very excited to have access to this old data, but of course this makes sense – Google is already storing and updating this historical data constantly to provide the most relevant search results for each query. They already have all the old data tied to every website! It was really just a matter of having Google expose the retroactive data they already had into the website owner’s newly set up Google Search Console account.

Lesson being: if you come across a site that does not have Google Search Console set up – you can still access all the retroactive search ranking and performance data up to 16 months in the past.

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