A continuous scrolling feature was added to Google’s mobile search results last month.
For the normal user, it is just a small change in Google’s way of showing results but for SEOs, this is not a small change, this will affect their way of reporting and most importantly user behavior.
As of now, the change will be rolled out in the U.S. for most English-language searches on the mobile web and the Google mobile app.
The search engine notes that this could be particularly useful for people who are searching for fresh ideas or inspiration on a given subject, rather than just quick answers.
What is in this updated feature?
As Google states in October 2021 that they are going to change the Google SERP interface. This means their traditional way of showing results in paginated results would be replaced by continuous scroll. It means that after this update comes to work users will not see the option of “see more results” or a list of pages at the bottom of the first SERP, from now onwards Google will load the next page automatically for you.
However, this does not mean that it would be infinite scrolling. The user can see the results for up to 4 pages by continuous scrolling. However, after 4 pages, they have to click on the “See more” button to load more results.
More changes were made to the look and feel of the search results than to the way the results functioned.
Why did Google make this change?
Google could also place advertisements more efficiently with continuous scrolling. Ads could be inserted into the search results as you move down instead of only appearing at the top – more like the ads that appear in social network feeds.
The company did not publicly explain its plans for ads with this change, but upon confirmation, it informed us that it will redistribute the number of text ads appearing on SERP but for now only in the U.S. The bottom of every page will now show fewer text ads, while text ads will now appear at the top of the second page and beyond. We understand, however, that there is no change to how shopping and local ads display at this time.
How this can affect your no. Impressions and your current CTR?
Whenever this feature is announced, SEOs wonder how this will affect their CTR, way of reporting, and most importantly, new visitor behavior.
Google said in one of his tweets that the position report in Google Search Console will not be affected due to this change in Google’s interface.
In support of that search Advocate John Mueller says – “Nothing changes for Search Console – position is position. We don’t track pages there,”
How will user behavior be impacted by this change?
According to the author of search engine land, CTR of positions 1 to 3 is not going to be affected by this change but 8 to 10 positions can see the major changes in their new visitors. According to him, the bulk of their traffic might get shifted to 11 to 12 positions.
If I need to talk about impressions, then there is a slight change in the listing appearing on Search engine result page 2.
Positions 11 to14 might witness a visible change in their no. of impressions because of the easiness now the user gets to reach result page 2 but when it comes to clicks it will remain the same now.
Why should you care?
For now, this feature is only applicable in the US but Google can imply this for all so this is very important to know how this small change can affect our big strategies.
If there is no limit of results on the SERP page then the fight to be on the first page becomes less aggressive.
In the future, Google can also use this change to the way of showing ads. Maybe in the future, you will witness more ads at the bottom of the page.
This feature also eliminated the big visibility gap between position 10 and position 11.
In addition, continuous scrolling eliminates the need to stop in the middle of your search and tap a link to move forward – as with our desktop era of web search. It feels outdated today in a world where in-app feeds – like Instagram. Facebook, YouTube shorts News Feed for instance – present a never-ending stream of information and updates. Continued scrolling may lead to Google’s users spending more time in the app, which may result in more advertising.