Update: the ScrollToText fragments we were seeing in Google Search Console seem to have stopped appearing as of Wednesday (August 26th).
The tracking of Featured Snippet clicks with this setup had the ability to show sections of content on a page being highlighted, when clicking on a Featured Snippet and the Chrome browser is in use.
The reason why this data can only be collected via Chrome at this point is because of ScrollToText parameters being appended to URLs. You can learn more about this evolution (spanning almost 2 years) in this post.
Similar was then then reported earlier this month in Google Search Console when the ‘Image’ Search Type is selected. But without any prior setup needed by site owners. Glenn Gabe, who noticed the Images data, has now noticed similar happening for Web Search.
Quick update! I shared previously that GSC started showing ScrollToText urls for *Google Images* starting on 8/4. Well, now I’m seeing those for *web search* starting on 8/19. If this sticks, it will make it easier to identify featured snippets in GSC. I hope it’s not a bug. 🙂 pic.twitter.com/Xv3kMt95Cd— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) August 24, 2020
This was also confirmed by others in the SEO community such as Alexander Außermayr, who showed an uptick in impressions at a similar point in time for a site in Google Search Console.
Interestingly, at effectively the same time that we’re now seeing the same happen in Web Search, the data has stopped flowing through via Images. Here’s roughly where this started and stopped for various sites:
So for the example I’m showing in this post, the testing in Image Search had completely stopped by August 19th, then had picked up again on August 17th via Web Search. Not a complete switch, but close to it.
Because of how close these two dates match up, it makes me think there’s a greater chance of this being a test rather than a bug. But it really is hard to say, stuff like this that looks intentional sometimes turns out to be a bug.
When looking at the Web Search ScrollToText data in Google Search Console across various properties, I’m seeing some pretty interesting data. For sites that receive considerable visibility on Google, you can effectively see the queries that receive Featured Snippet clicks in Chrome.
But for smaller sites, like my blog for instance, it’s not all that useful. When tracking Featured Snippet clicks via the GTM/GA method (where you can also see on-site engagement metrics), I felt like I was getting a pretty accurate depiction of clicks via Chrome. But the sample size isn’t quite there with clicks/impressions to see anything meaningful just yet.
The data above is a bit “meh” because all you’re seeing is a handful of impressions for those pages. While it is cool to see one of my Web Stories in there, it only showed twice and for probably very obscure queries. Note: Google Search Console does sampling, so you can’t see every single query, especially for low volume queries that get few impressions.
In the example above, I’m not so sure that this data should be taken all that seriously. Again, it is just a handful of impressions, but it does feel a bit like a glitch in the matrix. See the second example for the Google Featured Snippet Highlights article. The highlighted text ends suddenly, without the usual divider ‘,’ divider. A bit odd…
But nonetheless the data is appearing in Google Search Console and functioning as expected. This type of insight really goes beyond the GA/GTM method (which just shows clicks on Featured Snippets, along with ex: when Google’s extension is in use) that I wrote about in June.
Here we can see data such as search terms, impressions, countries, and devices for Featured Snippets in Chrome. The search terms component is especially important, as we can then potentially add some new queries to our keyword tracking and reporting.
I know Google did test showing Featured Snippet filter functionality in Google Search Console a while back, but that was short-lived. Hopefully this is another step toward site owners receiving more insights about how their content is appearing across the web.