In mid-October 2021, Google introduced a major change to mobile search results: Continuous scrolling.
What Is Continuous Scrolling?
If you’re searching in the US using the English language through a mobile device, you might already have noticed by now that you’re scrolling through Google results endlessly, as if there’s no end to it.
This is continuous scrolling in action.
Soon, the first page of Google will become four times longer in all parts of the globe. Results will keep showing up as you scroll for what’s equivalent to four results pages.
It’s not just limited to Google though. Big social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest have been doing it for a while now. Many others are planning to follow suit as well.
Why the Move?
According to Google, most users who are looking for information beyond the first page usually browse up to four pages. This means pressing the “See more” button three times, which isn’t really user-friendly.
With continuous scrolling, the user experience (UX) becomes much smoother. Searchers will find it incredibly easy to access whatever it is they’re looking for.
What Does This Mean for SEO?
Now that you know what continuous scrolling is and why it matters, this brings us to the big question – what could this update mean for your SEO efforts?
While the answer remains to be seen, it will no doubt change how we interact with SERPs. So far, here’s what we can predict:
- There Will Be More Rich Results
Google’s rich results closely resembles a social media news feed.
However, whereas you see images and videos in your social feed, Google will give you features such as snippets, commonly asked questions, shopping, maps, and more.
If Google observes that users are comfortable scrolling through the SERPs, it will easily include rich results. Having too many rich elements in static pages can be overkill, but with continuous scrolling, it becomes more convenient from a UX standpoint.
- Zero-Click Searches Will Skyrocket
Zero-click searches, which are queries in search engines that don’t send you to a third-party website from an organic search result, have been growing rapidly over the years.
Zero-click searches basically showcase information or respond to simple questions with getting searchers to click on a website to learn more. The answer appears at the top of the results page in a simple snippet.
Because browsing with continuous scrolling is like browsing on a social media news feed, users won’t click on a page anymore if they could get their answers
straight on the SERP.
And, with continuous scrolling resulting in more rich features, there’s a massive chance that zero-click searches will continue to dominate.
- Page One’s CTR Will Drop
With results from pages two to four becoming easily accessible, expect to see the click-through rate of first page results going down.
Many people have always perceived results beyond page one as being low quality, and only a handful make an effort to explore pages two and down. This will all change once continuous scrolling is in effect.
Since it blurs the lines between the first four pages, what may have formerly been a low-performing second or third page search result will likely gain more clicks.
- Ranking on the First Page Won’t Be as Meaningful
Ranking on the first page has always been the goal of SEO.
However, with four times the result, landing on page one will no longer be as impactful as it used to be on mobile. As a matter of fact, the results previously displayed on pages two, three, or four could possibly gather more impressions.
This could be good news if you’re often stuck in any of these pages. You’ll finally get the chance to show up on page one!
Then again, you’ll still need to step up your game. Like you, your competitors who struggle to secure a ranking on the first page will also be there.
- Desktop Will Most Likely Follow Suit
You may be wondering why continuous scrolling is available on mobile. The answer is pretty simple: It fits better with the user experience.
Desktop users find it easier to press the “see more” button. However, it doesn’t mean that desktop won’t have the feature sometime in the future.
If Google is impressed with the results from continuous scrolling, be it improved UX or increased ad revenue, expect it to roll out on desktop in the coming months.
Continuous scrolling is the future.
The trend has been around for some time now, mainly on social media and apps. And, with Google turning it into a priority, it’s high time that you fine tune your SEO strategy.
Don’t have spare time for it? Hire a South Florida web development company to take care of it for you!