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Google Says No Correlation Between Impressions And Search Volume

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Google Says No Correlation Between Impressions And Search Volume


Google’s Search Advocate John Mueller says the impressions your site receives for a keyword is not an indication of the search volume for that keyword.

This is stated on Twitter in response to a question regarding whether impressions data in Google Search Console can be used to estimate search volume.

For example, if you have a page ranking in the first position for a particular keyword, and it’s receiving 1,000 impressions per month, does that mean the keyword’s search volume is 1,000 monthly queries?

No, that’s not how it works, Mueller says.

Impressions Are Not Related To Search Volume

First, Mueller clarifies how impression data differs from search volume data:

“The impressions are the impressions your site received in search. It’s not necessarily all the impressions shown to all users. It’s not the search volume. Also, all tools guess & simplify search volume, so the numbers you see in search volume tools will always be wrong.”

Syed Sufiyan, the Twitter user who posed the initial question, presses further.

He has a page that ranks in position one for a certain keyword. So he asks if the impressions the page receives is indicative of the amount of searches being conducted for that keyword.

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Sufiyan states:

“Thanks for the clarification, but still I’m confused!
For Instance:
I have a keyword/query (Suppose “Buy Shoes”) in the Search Console that is ranking on 1st position and getting 1000 impressions in one month so the search volume should be 1000 too?”

Sufiyan is assuming, since the page ranks first, that his page is being shown to everyone who enters the keyword into Google.

Therefore, according to his reasoning, the number of impressions shown in Search Console could be used as a way to figure out the keyword’s monthly search volume.

Mueller quickly dismisses that theory:

“Not necessarily. Just because you’re ranking 1st in some cases, doesn’t mean the page is always shown.”

Even though rank trackers show that a page is ranking first for a specific keyword, it’s not accurate to assume it’s being shown for 100% of searches.

So the impression data for a page ranking #1 is not the same as the search volume of the keyword it ranks for, since the page isn’t shown to all searchers.

There are a number of reasons why a page wouldn’t be shown to all searchers, despite ranking number one for a keyword.

The layout of the search results page can impact how many impressions the organic links receive.

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For example, if there’s a bunch of Google Shopping and Google Ads results shown, the searcher mayhave to scroll down a bit before seeing the organic links.

In a case like that, an impression wouldn’t be recorded for the page in the first position if the searcher never scrolls down far enough to see it.

Another reason could be personalization and the fact that search results are not identical for all users.

The key takeaway here is that impressions are not a reliable indicator of search volume.

Source: @JohnMu On Twitter


Featured Image: marc gusev/Shutterstock

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What Happens When Google Picks The Wrong Canonical URL?

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What Happens When Google Picks The Wrong Canonical URL?

Despite your best effort to implement canonical tags, Google won’t always choose the same URL to display in search results. How can this be fixed?

This topic is addressed by Google Search Advocate John Mueller in a Reddit thread on the r/TechSEO forum.

An individual asks why Google is displaying the wrong URL in search results, even though they’re making every effort to indicate which page should be displayed.

In addition to canonical tags, this individual is using hreflang tags, and sitemaps, and has the correct settings configured in Google Search Console.

Google continues to display a different URL in search results.

Mueller first explains why Google isn’t displaying the intended URL and describes what can be done to get Google surfacing a different page.

Canonical Tags: Why Isn’t Google Displaying The Correct URL?

A canonical tag sends a signal to Google indicating which URL is the correct one to show in search results when you have similar pieces of content.

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In this particular example, the Reddit user notes they’re dealing with a brand’s website that has multiple country code top-level domains (ccTLDs).

Instead of displaying brand-name.ca in Canadian search results, for example, Google is displaying brand-name.co.uk instead.

There are multiple reasons why this is happening.

Duplicate Content Leading To Wrong Canonicals

The Reddit user believes the pages across domains are different enough to not be seen as duplicate content. However, Mueller informs him otherwise.

Mueller says Google sees the pages as duplicates and indexes only one version in search results, dropping the others from its index.

“What’s happening here is that these pages are overall significantly similar, so that Google de-duplicates them by indexing a canonical version. However, with the hreflang annotations, the correct URL is still shown in the search results (at least where the hreflang is recognized, etc).”

Interesting to learn hreflang is what helped ensure the correct URL was shown in certain cases.

Page Titles Leading To Wrong Canonicals

Mueller notes the way the Reddit user has their page titles written could be confusing to Google.

When dealing with a website that has multiple ccTLDs, Mueller suggests keeping the domain extension out of page titles.

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“One confusing part here is that your page titles use compantyname.TLD. This means the URL shown is the .com.au version, but the title includes .co.uk. You can fix that by changing the page titles to just use Companyname.”

How Do You Fix An Issue With Wrong Canonicals?

There’s no easy fix to this one. It’s not simply a matter of adding more tags or changing page titles.

If you want to prevent Google from de-duplicating your pages in search results then you have to make the content significantly different.

Mueller states in the Reddit thread:

“If you wanted to change the indexing / canonicalization here, you’d have to make sure that the pages are significantly different, not just a bit different.”

Is This A Major Problem?

While it may be distressing to see Google displaying the wrong URL in search results, Mueller says this is not an urgent problem.

There’s no disadvantage when it comes to search rankings, and Google Search Console reports are the same as they would be if your preferred URL was selected.

“Despite what Search Console says, the position, impressions, and clicks of these URLs will be fine. They will appear the same way as if the actual URL were also selected as canonical. There’s no ranking disadvantage to things being indexed like this — and there’s an advantage of there being fewer URLs that need to be crawled & refreshed across your sites (faster inventory updates, etc).”

To be clear, The above statement applies to domain properties you own.

If you want Google to index and display your chosen canonical URL, the solution is to make the content different from the page Google is choosing to display instead.

When it comes to fixing the issue, Mueller suggests it might not be worth the effort.

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“Given that the search results would essentially be the same, I don’t know if that’s really worthwhile for you — at least it probably wouldn’t be an urgent problem to solve.”


Source: Reddit

Featured Image: fizkes/Shutterstock

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