Google recently announced a major change to the mobile search experience by way of the introduction of continuous scrolling. This new functionality builds on Google’s redesign of the mobile search results page, which began rolling out early in 2021.
By removing the natural stopping point that is the “See more” button, Google is enabling searchers to seamlessly continue browsing until they find the best answer for their needs.
What does continuous scrolling on mobile mean for enterprise brands, and how can you best take advantage of this opportunity for greater online visibility? We’ll explore the answers to these questions below.
What Is Continuous Scrolling?
— Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) October 14, 2021
Google explains the change for users:
“Now, when you reach the bottom of a search results page on your phone, the next set of results will automatically load with relevant information.”
Often, the result a searcher is looking for is in the top results – but not always. Google knows this, and this update is designed to make it easier for searchers to dig deeper into the results without having to click the “See More” button.
New results will not load infinitely; the automatic load with continuous scroll is limited to the first four pages of results for any given query. After that, the searcher will need to click the “See more” button to load page five and beyond.
We know that each time you ask users to click to complete an action, you lose some. Continuous scrolling makes navigating to results in positions 11 to 40 seamless.
What Does it Mean for Brands?
Results that may have been considered within striking distance to the front page previously are now readily available with continuous scrolling – at least, on mobile. Searchers no longer have to wait for a new page of results to load, which will directly impact both user experience and the visibility of those lower-down results.
If optimizing striking distance results to achieve the front page on mobile was an area of focus before, it may not be the most worthwhile place to invest your resources now.
Certainly, brand marketers and SEOs will want to analyze mobile performance reports to gauge the impact of this change. “Striking distance” may be redefined as positions 10-40 may enjoy higher click-through rates than before.
There may be measurable changes for advertisers, as well.
How Does it Impact Advertising?
According to Mohamed Farid, Product Manager at Google Ads, Google expects clicks, conversions, average CPC, and average CPA to remain flat. However, he says, “Search campaigns may see more impressions from top ads and fewer impressions from bottom ads.”
As for any potential impact on reporting, Google clarified on Twitter:
“Continuous scroll also does not change how position reporting works in Search Console. Positions reporting remains as if pages weren’t automatically loaded.”
Brand marketers and SEOs may want to implement the following tips in light of this update:
- Monitor your local reporting and rank tracking on impactful local keywords for new opportunities to optimize content and apply CRO tactics where content may be getting more visibility now on mobile.
- Plan to refresh older pages that are resurfacing as opportunities in positions 10 to 40, particularly in your most competitive and lucrative markets.
- Look for opportunities to adjust your PPC spend down where organic results are now more visible.
- Look for new keyword opportunities for local pages and optimize accordingly. Terms that may not have seemed worth targeting before could offer new visibility with continuous scroll.
- Be aware of how your search snippets appear. The flip side of enhanced visibility for positions 11-40 means it’s more important than ever that your search results capture the attention of mobile searchers, compelling them to click. We know that Google rewrites title tags and may not use your meta description as the search snippet. Often, it will pull content from the top of the page if the meta description you’ve written doesn’t appeal to the engine.
Google’s switch to continuous scrolling on mobile makes monitoring your search rankings and appearance across all locations essential. Get in touch with your Account Director if you’d like to learn more.