Google launched continuous scrolling for mobile search results in the U.S. to mirror the experience on sites such as Pinterest and Instagram. With this new feature, users scroll through infinite results, automatically loading results beyond the initial page.
While the feature may seem insignificant when it comes to SEO, this isn't completely true. After years in the SEO industry, I have seen new features and offerings regularly, and just like the others, this too will impact your SEO and where your site shows up in search results.
Continuous Scrolling and SEO
There are a few possible ways that continuous scrolling may impact your site's SEO. For example, it will blur the lines between the first and second page of search results.
Most people never click on results found on page two because they find what they are looking for on page one. However, it's also because they are conditioned to view results beyond the first page as being lower quality.
Google believes people want to explore results beyond the first page. Currently, results appearing on page two of SERPs (search engine results pages) have a CTR (click-through rate) of under one percent. With continuous scrolling in place, what may have been a low-performing page two or three results in the past will now reach more people.
The Impact of Continuous Scrolling on How Results Are Ranked
What is not as clear right now is the way results will be presented in the continuous scroll setup. Is this going to change anything?
If Google's predictions are correct and engagement improves beyond what was the first page of results before, the increase in engagement, which is still a ranking factor, will alter the algorithmic rankings and push some lower results to a higher position and vice versa.
At the very least, by removing the bias in how results are presented by offering a paginated format, users will be more focused on the resulting quality rather than where it is in the ranking.
Optimizing Your Site for Continuous Scrolling
From a user's perspective, since continuous scrolling puts a bigger emphasis on the quality of search results, it is necessary to take additional care to make sure your content is created and optimized to meet a set need.
This means that you should ensure your content is created to address a specific search intently for your specific target audience. By doing this, you create quality, personalized content to engage with the audience you want to target.
You also need to ensure you optimize your content properly with keywords, meta titles, and meta descriptions. By doing this, you can attract your target audience's attention, and your site will be viewed as click-worthy since searchers won't see page rankings as the main determining factor in what they click. Instead, it will be the relevance of the content.