In December, Google introduced continuous scrolling to desktop search results. SEOs were quick to predict the impact this move would have on the industry.
In this article, we share some insight into the current relevance of continuous scrolling, its potential impact on the search experience, and how SEO can adapt.
From my point of view, continuous scrolling marks a departure from the outdated “page” metaphor.
Since the early 1990s, we have used the term “web page” as if the website were printed on paper. Despite more than 20 years of technological advancement, even his SERPs on Google still retain this flawed metaphor. But it may be gone soon.
The concept of scrolling is pervasive on today’s web. Most web pages are stretched “under the hood” and content is almost always accessible by scrolling, which is the easiest way to navigate a website.
As such, the scrolling user experience has been continuously enhanced in recent years. In this way, when the user scrolls down he loads web content on demand, hence the name “infinite scroll”.
Technically it’s not really infinite as scrolling continues as long as there is content to display. Rather, the correct term is “continuous scrolling”.
Most social media platforms implement this approach to present users with unlimited and often addictive streams of content. Freedom, an app that blocks infinite scrolling sites, is gaining popularity among people looking to eliminate distractions and ensure productivity at work.
Some publishers are starting to integrate pagination and scrolling approaches. This means that when the user reaches the end of the post they are reading, a new article will be served.
SEO still relies heavily on page metaphors to assign specific keywords to specific content.
In contrast, smaller search engines such as DuckDuckGo have served search results without pagination for quite some time.
However, the user must click the “more results” button. This reveals another batch of organic SERPs, and search engines put the numbers on the results page.
Users are more likely to scroll than click. Simple psychology.
Why stop and take another action when it’s much easier to go in the direction you’ve already started?
“A perfect place to hide a corpse…”
It’s no secret that most searchers just click on Google’s page 1 search results.
There’s even an old joke in the SEO industry that hints at being relatively unlikely to be found on page 2.
“The best place to hide a corpse is on the second page of Google search results.”
Ohno! Think of all the corpses hidden on the second page over the years! Soon you’ll find them all.
SEO Insider jokes aside, the impact on Google Search of abandoning the “page” metaphor may be significant or negligible. Base your assessment on existing data and experience.
Over the years, we’ve seen research analyzing the distribution of clicks on search results, and user experience testing of how “folding” (or scrolling) affects the visibility of page elements and general usability. It’s here.
The #1 organic search result gets the majority of attention and clicks between 20-40%. The second and her third results also give double-digit percentages. Overall, this is more than half of all clicks.
rest of the page? Not really!
Most click distribution studies have found that only 2% to 9% clicks are leftover results.
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Above the fold: truth or myth?
The concept of “above the fold” traces its roots back to traditional newspapers. Due to their large size, newspapers were often folded in half for display on newsstands or for carrying around.
The most important news stories were placed in the “above the fold” on the first page, where passers-by would see the headlines when they casually glanced at them.
When the trope of page and front page moved to the web, many website owners started applying the same rules to their online content.
Does “above the fold” apply only to real newspapers? Experts in information architecture, user experience, and graphic design have conflicting opinions on this issue.
Some experts believe it is essential to place the most important elements at the top of the page where they can be seen above the fold, similar to the traditional newspaper “above the fold” concept. thinking about.
Others believe that folding is a web myth because most people tend to scroll down to see the rest of the webpage.
Whether you agree with the concept or not, most experts agree that it’s important to include as much information as possible on your homepage or landing page.
This is because on average about 80% of website visitors view only one page during their visit and return without clicking anything.
Therefore, the best combined solution is to have the important elements (i.e. value proposition, CTA, contact) visible above the fold, and scroll to see the rest without relying on clicking to other pages. seems like a compromise.
Some designers create fancy effects to further enhance the experience of scrolling through pages and content, and even drop the page metaphor entirely to create a “one-page website.”
Apparently, this is also the approach Google takes to search results.
Given that increasing With the clutter that search results have accumulated over the years, including a huge number of SERP features and ever-growing ads, Google could push actual organic search results even further down the SERPs. Needed more space.
There are many potential ways that constant scrolling can impact your search experience on Google, and it will impact your SEO practices as well.
Below are some ideas from me and other SEO professionals discussing the changes.
No more results for “Page 1”
Let’s start with the obvious results. There is no real “page 1”.
SXO strategist Lucas Rogala puts it in a very funny way.
- “Now everyone can rank [the] First page. “
Wayfair Senior SEO Analyst Andrew Prince puts it even more eloquently:
- “This may end the ‘I want to rank on page 1’ request, as you will see up to 6 pages of results while scrolling down.” ”
Show more results
The newfound convenience makes it far more likely to scroll down than the usual top 10 organic search results.
Areej AbuAli, technical SEO and founder of Crawlina, supports this conclusion.
- “Humans are scrollers by nature.
Top 3 may lose attention
The top three results are currently where the majority of organic clicks go. This is likely not to change in the near future, but their dominance may decline.
Over the years I’ve seen this happen due to a proliferation of things like:
- Additional features.
- various page elements.
- More content types.
This expansion has already diluted the inverted pyramid of the click distribution. At a time when Google search results still displayed the proverbial “10 blue links,” click heatmaps showed that over 40% of clicks were skewed to his #1 position.
Top organic spots currently get around 28% of clicks, as shown by Backlinko and Sistrix click-through rate studies.
Having additional options further down might get people used to scrolling more and relying less on the top results.
Other ads and features at the top
Google has a lot of potential space for ads and special features, so you also have a better excuse to move further down the organic search results.
It also fails to display properly below the results of continuous scrolling, so you can probably expect some extra functionality above.
Despite infinite scrolling, websites with footers are often a usability nightmare. The user has to follow the disappearing footer to reach the footer link and click it.
Therefore, you may not see as many ads or features below organic search results. Where else can Google put them? “In the middle” before the next section that used to appear as a separate page?
SEO Manager Tobiasz Szlęk expects CTR to drop for the following reasons:
- “…with Google displaying more and more information directly on the search results page, you should expect more zero-click searches…”
Fewer or more clusters of results from one website
I used to get 2 results on page 1 or 2, and even 2 separate results on another page.
If you change the display setting from 10 to 100 per page, you may see two results combined for one website, but they are usually several or more places apart (i.e. , the article ranked 9th is grouped with another article ranked 55th). ).
It will be interesting to see how Google handles this in the future. Such combined result clusters may appear more frequently initially, but become less likely as Google adjusts relevance to the new reality of continuous scrolling.
why? To be honest, just because the second result is on the same site doesn’t mean it’s as helpful as the other top results.
How can SEO specialists optimize or adapt?
So how do you adapt as a publisher, content creator, or SEO? Of course, it depends on what the actual impact will be.
Given past developments, consider these changes to your SEO approach and long-term content marketing plan.
Focus on easy achievements that could land you in the top three
We recommend ranking Top 3 instead of “Page 1” or “Top 10”. Because without pages, the latter is completely useless.
So, we recommend finding easy-to-reach achievements that are already ranking and optimizing those pages for keyphrases that can get you to the top 3.
Stand out in SERPs with page titles
Given that people will be viewing more organic search results in the future, it’s more important than ever to stand out in a crowded SERP.
Techniques to consider include:
- Featured snippets.
- special character.
Ideally, always optimize your page titles and meta descriptions so that searchers don’t initially select the largest number of listings or articles with the most recent date before the description. is needed.
Use Google features like images and “People Also Ask”
If you can’t beat them, join them. It’s hard to compete with Google for “SERP real estate” when Google owns that space.
You must play by Google’s rules. If they say you have to hide and stay there without scrolling, you have no choice.
However, you can get preferential treatment by optimizing your content for Google’s special features.
One successful technique is to look for more specific search queries that often appear as “People Also Ask” (PAA) questions.
Checking out some of them, you have to wonder if searchers really make such grammatical mistakes, or if the algorithm presents potential questions in the most convenient and contextual way.
Regardless of why this happens, you’ll always find a lot of questions to answer just by checking the results for the keyword you’re trying to optimize for.
Another way to quickly track your way to the top and be more clickable than your competitors is image and video content. Consider repurposing your content as images and videos using a variety of formats.
Creating dedicated images (photos, visualizations, infographics) or videos (interviews, tutorials, reviews) will increase your chances of being clicked.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.
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