Google recently rolled out support for continuous scrolling in Google Search on mobile devices. Since then, site owners and SEO experts have speculated on the effect it would have on Site Impressions Report in Google Search Console.
What is Google’s take on this?
According to Google’s search advocate, John Mueller, site owners should expect an increase in Impressions with the Continuous scrolling feature.
John has stated this on multiple instances:
“What I think will change a little bit is that users will probably scroll a little bit easier to page two, page three or four. And based on that the number of impressions that a website can get in the search results will probably go up a little bit.
I don’t think it’ll be like an extreme change but probably it’ll be the case, more the case, that if you were ranking on page two then suddenly your website gets a lot more impressions just because it’s easier to reach page two in the search results.”
I do expect impressions (of content that ranks on pages 2-4) to go up a bit because it's easier to get to pages 2-4, which may make CTR-evaluations harder, but it's not a completely new world (it's not live everywhere + it's pages 1-4, not pages 1-1000).
— 🦙 johnmu.xml (personal) 🦙 (@JohnMu) October 26, 2021
How are Impressions measured in Search Console?
With Google’s new continuous scroll feature, there has been a lot of discussion in the SEO community over how Impressions will be measured. John Mueller was asked this question in the English SEO Office hours held on October 22, 2021.
Here’s the question:
“Hi, John, my question is kind of an elementary one, but it’s wildly debated at my agency.
And it’s about impressions. So can you tell us what classifies an impression in Google Search Console? And then how that might be changing with the infinite scroll?”
John Mueller’s answer to this:
“OK, there’s a lot about that. So we have a Help Center page on what is Impressions, Clicks,
and Positions ..that has a ton of details on those impressions. So that’s something that I would look at first.
…With regards to infinite scroll or kind of this continuous scroll setup that we’re trying out, I think it’s a little bit tricky… But essentially, from our side, we’re still loading the search results in groups of 10. And as a user scrolls down on the page, we kind of dynamically load the next set of 10 results there. And when that set of 10 results is loaded, that counts as an impression.
So that basically means that kind of the scrolling down, and you start seeing page two of the search results, that we would see is like, well, this is page two now. And it now has impressions, similar to if someone were to just click on page two directly in the links.”
Will Clicks & CTR be affected?
While the number of Impressions in Google Search Console is expected to increase, the Clicks and CTR are likely to take a hit.
John Mueller expressed his opinion on this:
“And the number of clicks I suspect will remain similar, because people will kind of scroll up and down and look at the results on a page. And they’ll click on one of them.
So probably what will happen is impressions go up a little bit. Clicks stay the same. That means your click-through rate tends to go down a little bit. And if you’re focusing purely on click-through rate for SEO, then I suspect that will be a little bit of a kind of–I don’t know– weird situation, because it’s hard to determine, did the click through rate drop because this page was shown in this continuous scroll environment? Or did it drop because users saw it, but they didn’t like to click on it as much anymore? So that’s I think kind of tricky there.”
What impact do you think the Continuous Scrolling feature will have on Google Search Console reports? Do share your thoughts in the comments box below.
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