Continuous scrolling comes to Desktop – how is your website affected?
Most mobile users (and websites) have benefited from Google’s continuous scrolling function for some time now – the feature was rolled out in October 2021 to make it easier to both scan and navigate search results.
Effectively, when you reach the bottom of a search results page on your smartphone, the next set of results automatically loads with relevant information.
It was music to the ears of many websites that ranked for ‘fringe keywords’ – those just off page 1 or 2 in the SERPs, and therefore so close yet still oh-so-far from being viewed.
In fact, it put an end to one of the internet’s darkest yet funniest riddles: Where’s the best place to hide a dead body? (Page 2 of Google, of course).
Not to be confused with infinite scrolling – we’ll deal with that another time – there are restrictions around continuous scrolling. It will only load up to four pages of search results on mobile before you encounter the ‘see more’ button.
Furthermore, Google’s recent move to providing more visual responses to search queries and rewarding questions from users means that you’ll often reach the ‘see more’ prompt sooner than you expect.
So, what’s different with the desktop rollout of continuous scrolling?
For a start, it’s more generous than on mobile – users can see up to six pages of results, rather than four, meaning you’ll see more responses to questions such as “what’s the best sauce to serve with Christmas pudding?” or “how many days do I have to return my unwanted Primark jumper?” before you have to click for more.
In addition, it will support Google’s general recent work towards enhancing desktop search. Not only did Google recently roll out a feature that surfaced results from Reddit and Quora under a section called ‘discussions and forums’, but it has also been testing widget-styled cards on the home screen to give real-time updates on things such as stocks and shares or the weather
The endgame of this activity is clear; it’s no secret that desktop usage has been trending downwards in recent years and now only represents 40% of traffic, due to the proliferation of mobile devices, enhanced screen sizes, and better mobile data infrastructure enabling more instantaneous search results, content provision and media streaming and downloads.
However, desktop will always have a place – particularly among those who predominately use traditional office-based setups with PC and laptops. This includes many businesses seeking both B2B and B2C services – and this is where websites will benefit the most from continuous scrolling on desktop.
Giving search results a helping hand
Whereas some companies may once have viewed 59th position in the SERPs as a graveyard that only the most curious of consumers would see, they will now be rendering alongside much higher-ranked content and longer-established sites.
In an economic climate where people are more willing to seek out value as they tighten the purse strings, whether searching for accountancy advice, an online study course, or a new sofa, there is an opportunity for brands and websites to make headway – providing the site offers a good user experience once users land on it.
If you want to find out how to take advantage of Google’s continuous scrolling rollout and ensure your website stays up to date with the times, get in touch with us today for a free digital audit and strategy.