Massive Drops in Search Console for Sites Using UTM Codes in GMB


JoyHawkins

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As of yesterday, one of my employees noticed that all our clients have huge drops in impressions & clicks for the URL we use in GMB that uses UTM codes. I believe something has changed where Search Console is not reporting on the UTM codes and I'm not 100% sure if it's intended or a bug. Izzi Smith has already asked John Mueller on Twitter:


This is one example of the impressions drop on the pages using the UTM codes in GMB:


Here is one of our clients who is not using UTM codes in GMB (this is the traffic to the location page GMB links to) and it shows no drops at all:



It seems to be having a much more dramatic impact on Impressions than clicks. Here is an example of a multi-location chain:



Then looking at the first example I posted, here is how it looks when I add the clicks graph. Clicks seem normal/stable.



It looks like it happened January 14-15. You seeing the same thing? What do you think the cause is?
 

NathanD

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looking at the last 3 months checking +utm pages and big drop in impressions but CTR jumped
 

JoyHawkins

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Glenn Gabe just told me on Twitter that he spoke to John Mueller: "I was able to ask John about the weird issue in GSC last night for local listings using utm codes, & their impressions dropping off a cliff. Seems that GSC will move those impressions to the *canonical* urls. I would monitor over the next week or two & see how things change."


I pointed out that it makes no sense that impressions would get moved and not clicks and he said just to keep an eye out over the next few weeks.

We're not seeing it get moved to the canonical yet.
 

JoyHawkins

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@NathanD it makes sense that you're seeing CTR go through the roof because impressions are flat-lining while clicks are remaining the same.
 

djcoppedge

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I think it's either an issue with how google counts 3-pack impressions (possible glitch that isn't counting them any more?) OR in a lot of cases, we've seen the 3-pack move to page 2 for a lot of queries where it used to be on page 1, so it wouldn't generate an impression any longer. If a site uses UTM parameters in GMB, then it makes sense that the impressions would get wiped out since that's the only place those URLs would be served. I'm leaning heavily towards the 3-pack impression glitch...
 

JoyHawkins

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@djcoppedge if it was related to GMB then we'd be seeing it across all clients, though right? Currently we're only seeing it on those who use UTM codes.
 

djcoppedge

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@JoyHawkins interesting, almost all the sites I've checked (regardless of UTM codes) saw that substantial impression drop to their local landing pages, albeit some more drastic than others. The drop seems to be almost 100% non-brand though...

Only the last example here uses UTM to track GMB, and it does appear to be more drastic, but certainly seeing consistent drops regardless of UTM across the board.




 

JoyHawkins

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Interesting, I checked a bunch without UTM codes and most looked completely stable. I was able to find one without UTM codes that had a pattern just like yours but GMB was linking to http vs https so the drop actually showed up looking at the http version in Search Console. Were your examples http or were they https? Not sure if it matters but figured I'd check.
 

AshleyB

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Just to confirm, this is an error/drop in reporting, not an actual impact to the rankings of listings using UTM codes in GMB?
 

Ian Hammond

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Oct 15, 2018
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Confirming that we have seen a dip in impressions in GSC for GMB's where we use UTMs in the URL. We work exclusively with service area businesses in the "better building" sector (insulation, hvac, solar companies).
 

JoyHawkins

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Yep, Google made an announcement this week that they'll be shifting all data to the canonical URL as of April and it's going to go back to January 2018 so we will basically be losing the ability to segment this in Search Console.
 

SwitchBack

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Dec 15, 2018
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Over the last years, changes are rolling out very quickly... I can't help but wonder if a platform for AI is being established.
The first clue? The Wikipedia page almost always follows a search result... add a schema in there?
Well its like it's a 3rd grade handbook for a growing learning AI student.
Just my thoughts. No facts to support the claim.
 

Ellen

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Apr 4, 2016
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Any updates on this topic? Still seeing UTM-tagged GMB URLs not fully canonical to home page URL in GSC as outlined in official announcement.
 

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