GSC Impressions Reports May Change Due To Infinite Scroll
Many online businesses and site owners rely on Google Search Console (GSC) for their SEO analysis reports. However, some in the community have debated about how impressions are classified in their SEO analysis in GSC.
In a Google Office Hours hangout, Google’s John Mueller was asked how impressions reports in GSC are reported now that the initial page of the search results is shown in an “infinite scroll” format.
The term “infinite scroll” – also known as a continuous scroll – refers to a method of displaying content without requiring the user to click on a link to another web page. It’s a frictionless approach to show users the answers to their queries without forcing them to go through the time-consuming process of clicking a link to view another page.
In the case of a website visitor searching for information, it’s particularly effective. Infinite scrolling has also seen much success in the context of social media. Thus, it may be argued that it is appropriate for search results as well.
How Does Infinite Scroll Affect SEO?
Infinite scroll is used to provide users with greater comfort when browsing a website. This technique means a person won’t have to click the next page number before getting the content they want. The most common use of infinite scroll is on social networking sites, which try and help the user see as much material as possible. It’s particularly effective on social media platforms like Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook.
Infinite scroll’s most obvious advantage is efficiency and convenience since it is more user-friendly than clicking the “next page” button every time the user wants to see the rest of the content. Each click adds a delay to the page load and the action that users should perform. Long articles, tutorials, or courses in long blocks of text have better UX when they’re not divided into multiple separate pages or screens.
The use of infinite scroll on mobile devices is also beneficial. Because using gestures is far more natural and user-friendly than clicking on a page number, this is usually done on mobile phones and tablets. This reaffirms that infinite scroll is a technique that requires less work from customers while also simplifying their activities significantly.
How Are Impressions Measured In A Continuous Scroll?
According to the person who asked Mueller about the issue, their company’s employees disagreed on what constituted an impression in search results that appeared in a continuous scroll format. The person wanted to know what makes an impression in GSC and how it evolves and affects their SEO analysis with the infinite scroll.
Mueller remarked that it’s going to take a lot of explanation to answer the question. He said that Google has a Help Center page explaining what impressions, clicks, and positions are. It also has a lot of detailed information about impressions.
Mueller recommended going to the Help Center page first. When it comes to infinite scroll or any other form of continuous scroll setup being tested, he believes it’s difficult because there’s no way for an SEO to tell what’s going on.
Search Results Load In Groups of Ten
Mueller explained that while the search results appear to be a continuous scroll from a user standpoint, Google simply sees ten search results grouped together.
As a user scrolls down the page, Google dynamically loads the next group of ten search results. When that set of ten results has been loaded, it is considered an impression.
It means that when a person scrolls down and begins seeing page two of the search results, Google would think that this is now page two, and it has impressions similar to if someone were to click on page two directly in the links. From that standpoint, there is not much difference.
Impressions May Go Up, But Clicks May Remain Static
Mueller then went on to state his opinion, saying that little would change for the search results. He anticipates that users will scroll a bit less to reach page two, page three, or four, but that’s it. Based on that, the number of impressions a website may receive in search results will most likely go up, but just a little bit.
He doesn’t think that it will be a major shift. But he does believe that if a website was ranked on page two before, there is a possibility that it would receive a higher number of impressions now that it is easier to get to page two in the search results.
As for the number of clicks, Mueller guesses that it would stay the same. Users would probably scroll up and down to find the answer to their query. If they find it instantly on page 1 of the search results, they will click on one of them instead of going to page 2.
Since the number of clicks remains the same, it could mean that the click-through rate (CTR) would go down a little bit.
For online businesses and site owners solely looking to improve their CTR for SEO, Mueller said it might be a little challenging. He said that it was quite hard to determine because there is the possibility that the CTR dropped because of the search result’s continuous scroll environment. Or it could have dropped because users saw the result but were not compelled to click on it.
In the end, Mueller mentioned an interesting concept of CTR declining and possible opaqueness in attempting to diagnose the reasons for that.
Manage Your GSC Account With Position1SEO
Google is quickly updating its algorithms and systems, and many online businesses and site owners are having trouble catching up. With the infinite scroll search results, the impressions reports could very well change in the Google Search Console. If you are not sure how to handle your Google Search Console account, entrust it to Position1SEO.
Position1SEO is a UK-based SEO agency that specialises in providing businesses with quality SEO services they need to compete online. Our team of SEO professionals have years of experience and expertise in handling Google Search Console and other SEO analysis reports. These reports are important as they allow you to see where your website needs improvement and how it’s performing on the search engine results pages.
Some of our work includes positive link building, improving site load speed, accessibility, and performance, setting up Google Local pages for your business listing; the list goes on! Contact us today for more information about what we can do for you!