Google recently rolled out a new desktop feature called continuous scroll. Previously released on mobile, continuous scroll was designed to improve searchers’ user experience when navigating Google search results.
So, what does this mean for you and your brand?
Google’s new continuous scroll feature allows users to navigate to the next page of the search results without manually clicking forward. Instead, they can simply continue scrolling, and the next search engine results page (SERP) will automatically load. Only after scrolling through six pages will users need to click “More” to see the next SERP batch.
Mobile users have had access to continuous scroll since October of 2021, making it a long-anticipated feature for desktop. Though Google has rolled out this new change exclusively for English searches in the United States, it will likely expand the feature into different markets over time.
According to Google, people searching for information beyond the first page of the search results will browse through up to four additional pages to find what they’re looking for. With continuous scroll, searchers can locate information more easily with fewer clicks. As a result, your web pages have a greater chance of making it in front of users.
If you have web pages that rank beyond the first page of the SERPs, Google continuous scroll makes them more likely to be seen by consumers. Because these lesser-ranked pages become visible to searchers without clicking to the next page, your brand has a better chance of being seen and driving traffic to its website. With this increased traffic comes the opportunity for higher conversions, leading to more revenue for your business.
You might be thinking – haven’t I seen continuous scroll somewhere before? A similar function exists on most social media platforms called infinite scroll, or endless scroll, but these user experience features differ slightly.
Like Google’s continuous scroll, infinite scroll allows web users to scroll through content without clicking to progress to the next page. However, with infinite scroll, users can scroll through results infinitely, hence the name. That means searchers will never have to click to go to the next page – new content will never stop loading, as opposed to continuous scroll, which stops after six pages.
Pagination is perhaps the best-known user experience pattern. Pagination divides content into separate pages for ease of navigation, providing users with “Next” and “Previous” links or page number buttons to switch between pages. So, all the times you scrolled to the bottom of Google’s SERPs and saw page numbers one through 10, you were encountering a paginated user experience.
The shift to continuous scroll provides several user experience benefits over pagination. However, it also introduces considerable advantages for local markers, the biggest being that users are more likely to find your content if it doesn’t appear on page one of the SERPs. That’s because unlike pagination, continuous scroll encourages more people to view sites that appear beyond Google’s first page by loading them automatically. Paginated search results don’t garner as much attention for pages two onward due to searchers’ reluctance to navigate past page one.
It’s safe to say Google’s new continuous scroll feature for desktop will impact local marketers, though it's a bit more difficult to anticipate how. However, we can assume several changes will occur as a result of continuous scroll.
Continuous scroll encourages users to explore their SERP options, making them more likely to see and click on search results from pages two and beyond, putting lesser-ranking brands in a better position for conversions. On the flip side, with more people scrolling through results pages may come a lower click-through rate for businesses with page-one rankings.
In short, continuous scroll may reduce the significance of Google’s first page, making search engine result positions matter more than page numbers.
As a local marketer, you likely put considerable effort into ranking for SERP features like knowledge panels, people also ask (PAAs), and featured snippets. With the continuous scroll update, you can expect to see more of these rich results appear across Google’s SERPs. As a result, you’ll have more opportunities to rank for these features and subsequently increase visibility for your brand.
Web users and marketers are used to seeing paid ads at the top of the SERPs. Because Google’s continuous search eliminates page distinctions by loading pages one through six simultaneously, these paid ads will begin appearing in between organic search results. However, any paid advertisements on page one will remain at the top of the page.
Because continuous scrolling makes it easier for users to find the information they’re looking for, brands may see an increase in zero-click searches. The more meta descriptions and rich results users see as they scroll through the SERPs, the more likely they are to get the answers they need without clicking on page links.
There’s no doubt that continuous scroll will impact you and your local partners. Due to this new feature and the changes it will bring to local search, it’s more important than ever that your company embraces the following tactics:
Contact us to improve your local search rankings and drive more revenue.