On December 5, 2022, Google introduced continuous scroll for desktop searches. Now, instead of having designated pages that users view one at a time, they see a continuous stream of results as they scroll. The announcement comes about 1 year after introducing continuous scroll for mobile searches.
Google has historically used paginated pages to show search results to users, showing just ten blue links at a time and requiring users to click on the next page number at the bottom of the page to see additional results.
Now, Google shows 6 pages of results before requiring the user to click a “See More” button to view additional results. With the introduction of continuous scroll, users simply continue scrolling to generate more results, much like the infinite scroll we are used to on social media platforms.
Although this is a major user experience update, it shouldn’t impact your SEO strategy or change your approach to creating content.
While it’s likely content that previously ranked on “page 2” or more within Google may see an uptick in organic impressions and clicks, we don’t expect it to be a dramatic increase for most types of queries.
For really broad, general, informational queries, it’s possible users want to see a lot of search results to generate new ideas or see all options available to them. In these cases, continuous scroll will likely be valuable for searchers and may lead to some additional organic traffic for lower-ranking content on those topics.
However, for most searches where a user has a specific question to be answered, piece of information to find or action to accomplish, it’s still likely users will choose the first result that looks like it will fulfill their need. There’s no need to continuously scroll if you found the answer you need in the first result.
Given that Google’s goal is still to deliver the best results that meet searchers’ needs, our goal and focus as content marketers should still be focused on meeting the needs of searchers. If that remains our focus, we should continue to see success from SEO.
While this update shouldn’t impact your SEO strategy, it will have some impact on how we talk about SEO performance. We’ll move from referring to “page rankings” to focusing solely on “position rankings.”
But beyond that, we expect that the top 10 results (and more importantly the top 3 results) will still remain our target goals for organic rankings and will continue to be an important measure of SEO success.