Another day, another change from Google. As of 11th April, Google’s mobile search will now be in the form of a Google ‘infinite scroll’, meaning pagination has disappeared from mobile search, replaced by ‘More Results’. What this may mean for Mobile SEO, and for the user too, is yet to be decided.
Many in the SEO community are not happy about these latest changes, suspicious that this is another way for Google to showcase more adverts and less organic search results. However, there are some positives as well as negatives to the new Google infinite scroll, and the impact for Mobile SEO may be much better than we initially thought.
Infinite scroll is widely accepted as the best way to achieve better content exposure. People, especially on mobile devices, are more likely to scroll indefinitely through the content provided than they would be likely to click ‘next’ on a paginated page. Users might therefore find themselves on page 4, 5, or further on Google Mobile without even realising, meaning more brands that aren’t so high up in rankings will still achieve impressions. The competition for page 1 may ease, as it stops being the only results a Google user looks at.
Scrolling without having to stop to click to a second page is also seen as a UX (User Experience) that encourages increased time on site (the site being Google Mobile, in this case) and generates more engagement, according to studies. If this trend carries through to the Google infinite scroll, then we could see users getting deeper and deeper into the search results and actually engaging with more results. This could mean that Mobile SEO changes dramatically, and rankings won’t be as important, as optimising for a high click-through-rate to your site takes precedent.
Infinite scroll does come with its own limitations, depending on the situation and the experience that the user wants. Many experts claim that results-driven searching doesn’t necessarily suit an infinite scroll design. Whether this applies to Google or not varies wildly depending on the search intent of the user and their particular query. Google may be banking on the fact that for results-driven searchers, a rich result such as an answer box will deliver the answer immediately, and these users would have then left the site (Google) regardless. Google infinite scroll may therefore be designed to help the users who aren’t results-driven.
Aside from not suiting results-driven searchers, a big downfall of any infinite scroll, but especially Google infinite scroll, is that a user can’t track what page they’re on. This makes a big difference as it means people lose track of where they have seen something, cannot bookmark a particular set of results, and struggle to locate old results again. This can discourage thorough scrolling and actually decreases time on site in some instances – particularly eCommerce – but this could also apply to Google Mobile.
Good or Bad?
The impact that the new Google infinite scroll will have on Mobile SEO is yet to be known, but many are panicking. However, at Active Internet Marketing (UK) we’ll be striving to find the positives and approach this as a new opportunity for visibility in the mobile SERPs. If lower ranking websites are now open to high levels of visibility, Mobile SEO may need a focus shift, with a large amount of time spent tracking conversion rates and tweaking meta descriptions as a priority, to ensure that when our clients are found, they also get that all-important click. Are you concerned about the way Google keeps changing? Unsure how this will impact your website traffic? Our expert staff are available to discuss all manner of Google changes; we can steer you right so that you work with Google and take advantage of all the opportunities, meaning your website stays strong no matter what happens. Call us today on 01604 765796 to organise a meeting free of charge.