Google’s infinite scroll results – the potential effects on digital marketing

Over the past few days Google has publicly tested their ‘infinite scrolling’ functionality in search results. This means that the results, for any given search term, will appear in a continuous list rather than the traditional 10 results per page, with multiple pages format.

Google_scroll_1
The infinite scroll of results is something Google already provides with images, but not currently in web results. They tested this format back in 2011 but it didn’t stick.

So why are they trying it again?

As with all of Google’s updates, improving user experience is the prominent and driving force behind their decisions. As a user, the benefits of an infinite list would include the elimination of having to click on new pages, as well as not having to click back and forth to digest the main results or to find something in particular. In a nutshell, more results can be delivered at a greater speed – everyone’s a winner.

 

Google_scroll_2
 

This, however, is taking a marketing perspective out of the equation. As a marketer this potential update to Google’s results list means a whole array of changes for the way we do things, as well as for the businesses we work with.

Historically, results ‘pages’ have been a key aspect in reporting for digital marketers. As an important KPI, clients can see how well their website is performing for certain keyphrases according to their presence on different pages. In the event of an infinite list, this of course would change to be a number in a very long list. No more striving to reach the prestigious page 1.

With this comes a whole new way of thinking - both in the world of SEO and PPC. One of the main effects that this change could lead to is the display of less ads due to the absence of pagination. Less ads means more competition and higher cost-per-click rates. Clients will need bigger budgets and we might just see a case of survival of the fittest.

If the change is rolled out, it will also be essential to review the behaviour of users on Google and how they interact with the modified search results. There’s a lot of existing research into click-through rates on Google’s SERPs and in Marketing Land’s 2014 study it was discovered that ‘71.33% of searches resulted in a page one organic click’, whereas page ‘two and three get only 5.59% of the clicks’. What’s more, ‘the first five results account for 67.60% of all the clicks and the results from 6 to 10 account for only 3.73%’.

Google_scroll_3

These stats will become redundant if the infinite scroll comes into play, and we’ll need to define new trends to aspire to.

With increased access to all results, will people be more inclined to click on results much further down the list now? Subsequently, will websites with lower rank see improved conversions? And on the flip side, will those websites showing at the top of the page be forgotten by the time users have scrolled numerous results down?

These are questions and assumptions that we can only wait to see play-out. In the meantime we recommend that all marketers consider the potential outcomes and rethink the way we work with SERPs.

Let us know what you think about the possibility of infinite scroll results by leaving a comment or tweeting us @3WhiteHats.

 

Related Posts

A marketer’s guide to mobile-first indexing

In Google’s ever-continuing efforts to follow user trends and make the web more mobile friendly, mobile-first indexing was rolled out. Read this guide to find out what it is and how you can use it to it’s best ability for marketing and website success.


6 months ago

The step-by-step guide on how to prepare for Google's Page Experience update

Having good user experience (UX) is something every webmaster should strive for. With Google's Page Experience update rolling out in May 2021, we’ve outlined what this is and how you can prepare for it.


7 months ago

Fine-tune your content in 2021 with these SEO tips and trends

As we take our first steps into 2021, now’s the time to identify the most effective ways to use content to connect your business with its audiences. Not only will this help you get ahead of the competition, but after a curveball year in 2020, it’ll ensure you’re on the right track if your audiences’ behaviours online have changed at all.


8 months ago

Inside Screaming Frog: Top Takeaways From The Workshop

Ensuring that your URLs can be crawled and indexed is a cornerstone of SEO. If Google can’t find that lovely content you want to get in front of your customers, what’s the point in writing it, right?


2 years ago

Our top takeaways from BrightonSEO

Google has publicly tested their ‘infinite scrolling’ functionality in search results. We look at the effects of this on digital marketing, if it is to be rolled out.


3 years ago

Google changes affecting local queries

As Google continuously updates in order to keep up with our ever-changing world of tech, we ask, what are the recent changes affecting local queries?


3 years ago

Drag