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When Webmaster tools say a query has x amount of impressions, is this the amount of time the URL has been returned into the Google search list or is it the amount of time the URL has been visible?

So basically are Google counting an impression even if the query isn't actually visible on the page?

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From the source https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/6155685?hl=en

Impressions - How many links to your site a user saw on Google search results, even if the link was not scrolled into view. However, if a user views only page 1 and the link is on page 2, the impression is not counted. The count is aggregated by site or page. With infinitely scrolling pages, such as image search, the impression might require the item to be scrolled into view.

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According to google webmaster, impressions means :

The number of times pages from your site appeared in search results. With change also shows the increase/decrease in the daily average compared to the previous period.

So I think it will be count only when page visible in search result..

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