Google announced this week brings continuous scrolling to desktop browsers. Now when you scroll down to the bottom of the search results page, Google will automatically load another page worth of results without you having to click an additional button. The feature has been available on mobile devices since last year, but will now be available to all US users searching in English and will likely expand to other countries and languages from there.
Google is careful to call this feature “continuous scrolling” rather than “infinite scrolling”. A similar functionality is available on most social media sites or apps; Here, as you scroll, new content continues to appear in your feed as you get to the bottom of the page. Still, infinite scroll has had its critics, and some have accused the feature of ruining our attention span.
But Google only loads six pages of results before you have to click a button that says “See More Results.” (On mobile devices, you can scroll through up to four pages before touching anything.) Also, Google doesn’t load six pages of results at once; user scrolls.
So far, Google has displayed search results on multiple pages with ten results per page interspersed with ads, suggested results, and other call boxes. There is an industry full of search engine optimization (SEO) consultants, companies, blogs and tools that can measure the value of different organic (not a paid ad or other feature) search positions and provide advice on how to rank. your website is higher.
According to a recent analysis of 4 million Google search results by SEO training site Backlinko, an average of 27.6 percent of searchers clicked on the top result. By comparison, less than five percent of searchers clicked on results in positions six through ten on the first page. For results not on the first page, the odds are even worse: 0.63 percent of Google searchers clicked on any link on the second page. (Other similar analyzes have come to almost the same conclusions.)
Presumably, Google hopes that the new continuous scrolling feature will encourage searchers to click or at least look at more results; This increases the probability of finding what they are looking for.
To that end, a few other features have been rolled out in recent months aimed at improving the quality of results people see, but they’re mostly available on the mobile app in the US (apparently most new features are posted here first). Google has added a “Discussions and forums” call box placed on the first page of the search, similar to the existing “News” and “Images”, for queries that “could benefit from the variety of personal experiences found in online discussions.” Also, steps have been taken to change its algorithm and make image search more natural and intuitive by allowing you to add additional queries using the “multiple search” feature. This will supposedly allow the engine to take on more complex questions. Similarly, it sought to encourage searchers to explore deeper by offering topic suggestions based on their searches and showing more images when they purchased a product on a desktop. Specifically, it has not committed to showing fewer ads.
Given the growing narrative that Google’s search results and overall user experience are deteriorating (even if it’s a truly internet-wide issue), getting people the right results when they search is clearly important to the company; In particular, more people are turning to social media like Reddit and TikTok for information, but these platforms have their own problems with misinformation and taking statements out of context. Google also competes with other browsers such as Bing and the privacy-centric DuckDuckGo (see how results vary between sites here). It’s not yet clear whether Google’s wide-ranging attempts to improve its product will be enough to keep searchers happy.