Is Google officially introducing infinite scroll?
No doubt we’ve always been reluctant to accept changes in the ways we’ve used the Internet for decades now, for both professional and personal purposes. Sometimes, our rebellion was justified, if these novelties were more complicated and unnecessary. Other times, we were just skeptical and afraid of change because it meant more time to adapt and become a beginner again.
So, on which side of the spectrum does the newly announced Google Continuous Scroll fall?
Whenever infinite scroll comes up in the discussion, I always remember what the creator of this option for Instagram said in one interview. He pointed out that Internet addiction is an addiction like any other; but with alcoholism, for example, you would always come to the end of the glass or the bottle, and then you would run out of alcohol.
But in the case of the Internet and infinite scroll, there’s no end to it, you could just keep scrolling until your eyes pop out.
After realizing what a monster he had created, he quit.
And he’s right, nothing is keeping us from endlessly scrolling besides our self-discipline. That’s probably the reason why the average screen time for younger generations is 8+ hours.
So, is this a threat to Google as well, considering it’s not a social media app?
Let’s try to figure it out.
How will continuous scroll affect SEO?
For as long as we know, Google search has been paginated. Most relevant results were shown first, and figuring out how to be ranked on the first page was something between science and art. For many, it was unattainable.
After dozens of courses and trying out different strategies, you may have even succeeded in ranking on the first page globally. Why was this so important?
Because we all know the average user won’t navigate to other pages but will instead reformulate the question.
And this was the exact reason why Google wanted to introduce continuous scrolling.
At least that’s what they say.
But what does it mean for websites, marketers and SMEs?
Knowing that Google is the dominant search engine worldwide, this change is huge. Nothing so radical happened since its launch in 1998, although some claim that continuous scroll was available as an extension at some point.
First things first, the scrolling won’t really be infinite. In fact, Google will display what would typically be the first six pages of search results.
But, if you’re so determined to keep scrolling, it will offer you a “More” option.
For mobile, as introduced in October 2022, Google will display the first four pages, considering that the screen is incomparably smaller.
If you’ve ever used the Pinterest search bar, then you can imagine what it will look like.
Why this, why now?
Maybe you’re still undecided whether you like this option or not, but users worldwide are already sharing their impressions. In fact, many of them are mocking Google for introducing this “innovation” only after 30 years.
On a more serious note, users who like this novelty see it as a way to increase visibility for less popular websites that otherwise wouldn’t get a chance to be seen.
However, this could potentially be a problem for users with older devices because they don’t have enough memory storage for all search results on one page. This has already been a problem with Facebook and other apps with infinite scroll option, such as TikTok or Instagram. That’s why they recommend that infinite scroll be optional.
On the other side, some users see it as a potential to place more ads between each search result, encouraging marketers to dedicate more to Google Ads.
Nonetheless, it will definitely make navigating back and forth between results more difficult.
However, Google still hasn’t announced when will the new scroll feature be introduced internationally.