On the 13th of July, webmasters started seeing changes to impressions and average positions of their pages on Google Search Console. At the time, everyone was under the impression that it was a) a bug or b) was an update in progress. As it turns out, it was an update of sorts to the Search Console, with a new reporting change.
Google’s exact description:
“An incremental improvement in Google’s logging system now provides better accounting for results in lower positions. This change might cause increase in impressions, but also a decrease in average positions. This change only effects [sic] Search Console reporting, not your actual performance on Google Search.”
This description does not explain what happened. Several webmasters ran tests using data from their websites and came to the following conclusions:
The drastic drop webmasters see in average position could be due to Google reporting on more queries regardless of the ranking. They might not be limiting the change to just low-ranked queries.
Your average position did not get worse. Rather, the only thing that changes is the way you see the position. Any individual query-level average position should not see a change because of this update. If you see change, there might be other factors at play.
Despite speculation, there is no voice search data in the current data sets. The difference is that Google is now providing more volume for the search data. There is also no specific pattern to what kinds of queries are showing more volume.