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Google says goodbye to pages. Infinite scroll arrives – What changes from an SEO perspective?

By 12 October 2023No Comments
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Starting from May this year, Google also introduced theinfinite scrolls (or continuous scroll) of search results, abandoning the old page system. The innovation, introduced last year in the United States alone but already active on mobile for some time, is now a reality that changes the way in which the results of any internet search are shown on desktop. 

This choice risks having a strong impact on the way users navigate and, above all, on the way they do SEO. Let's see what SEO experts predict will happen in the near future.

Infinite scroll – what is it?

Before going into the merits of the matter, what exactly is theinfinite scrolls? And what has changed compared to before? 

Maybe someone has already noticed that there is something different in the search results. Before May 2023, when a search was carried out Google would select a series of relevant results, and then show them to the user divided by pages, each with 10 results each.

Today this is no longer the case. Google has officially abandoned the division by pages, opting for a single page, which contains all the results found. To be clear, Google results pages now behave like any social network. The further you scroll down the list, the more results emerge. 

In reality, the term infinite scroll is not exactly correct. After a certain number of results, to continue viewing content, you need to click the "show more" button. It would therefore be more correct to talk about continuous scrolling.

In any case, this seemingly insignificant change is actually very significant and changes the way web users navigate, even if they probably won't notice it. 

What changes for users?

An old joke known among SEO professionals goes: “the best place to hide a body is the second page of Google search results”. Indeed, the vast majority of users, if they do not find what they are looking for on the first page of search results, prefer to carry out a new search rather than visit page 2. According to the results of numerous searches carried out over the years, the 54.4% of all clicks are concentrated on the first 3 results. The other results on the page instead share the remaining percentage, with the second Google page picking up the crumbs. 

In other words, almost all users who browse Google are limited to the first 10 results shown to them. Or it would be better to say "it was limited", because now with infinite scrolling things have changed. 

Now, for any search, Google automatically shows the first 6 pages. Users will therefore be led to look at more results than before and it may be that that 54.4% mentioned above will be "spread" across more results. 

But the news will certainly have a greater impact on SEO experts. Let's see how. 

What changes for SEO experts?

For those involved in search engine optimization (SEO), the first page of Google represented the goal to be achieved, the most important objective of all. Now this is no longer the case. 

To quote an expert SEO analyst, Lucas Rogala: “now everyone can rank on the first page”. This will likely put an end to customer requests to have their site placed on the first page. 

In essence, it will no longer be imperative for a site to be present in the first 10 results since, just like with social networks, users like to "scroll". Consequently, even sites positioned above tenth position will have an excellent chance of being seen thanks to infinite scrolling, improving the performance of domains with lower rankings. 

Another non-negligible consequence for SEO experts is that the first 3 results could lose importance. With many more results available to choose from, users may not focus on the top ones as often. 

We're also likely to see an increase in ads at the top of results now that Google has more space available. While it will be less frequent to see more than one result coming from the same domain. 

How to adapt to change?

Although a few months have passed, we still don't have definitive results on what and how has changed in user searches. However, we can already make the first considerations. 

Since the Top 10 has completely lost its importance (since it no longer exists), it is increasingly important focus on the top 3. A good practice is to find content that is already positioned well and optimize it to try to place it in the first 3 results. 

With the increased number of organic results, it becomes increasingly important to stand out from the rest. To do this it is good to focus on titles and meta descriptions of pages and articles, so that they stand out among others, perhaps by inserting snippet structured characters, special characters and emojis.

Finally, a final strategy that can be very useful is to optimize the contents of a site by taking into account the People Also Ask section and focusing on video content and images. This will increase your chances of being seen and above all clicked. 

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