By now you will probably be aware of the fact that Google has been pushing its continuous scroll mobile search feature for some time. A fairly modest alteration to the search experience for mobile users, but one with potential benefits for sites struggling to appear on page one.
In the meantime, there has been much chatter on social media as to whether continuous scroll may have an effect on performance reports in Search Console. Chatter which has been laid to rest this week by John Mueller, who went on record to state the following:
“Nothing changes for Search Console – position is position. We don’t track pages there. I don’t have insight into what 3rd-party rank trackers do here — they usually operate outside of our terms of service anyway,”
“My understanding is (I haven’t had time to test, still catching up from a week out) that we still load the results in groups of about 10, so while it looks more like a single page, it’s still roughly “10/page”,”
“AFAIK it still loads (in the background) in batches of ca 10, so there will be some “pagination” even if it’s more transparent. I suspect it will increase impressions (easier to see more results), keeping clicks stable. So if you purely look at CTR, you’ll see subtle changes.”
Confirmation that continuous scroll is purely aimed at simplifying the search experience for mobile users, with no impact on search console performance reports.
Why Continuous Scroll is Potentially a Big Deal
The basic mechanics of the continuous scroll update are fairly simple. This new feature means that the next set of results appears when you reach the bottom of the page, rather than requiring the user to manually head to the next page.
The user can then continue scrolling down, until they find the result they want.
Google believes this will make things much easier for mobile users.
“With this update, people can now seamlessly do this, browsing through many different results, before needing to click the “See more” button,” Google said in its announcement.
“You can often find what you’re looking for in first few results, sometimes you want to keep looking.”
Google also confirmed that the continuous scroll feature will be limited to “four pages of search results”, before it becomes necessary to click to see more.
As for why this matters, this could technically mean that sites previously confined to pages two, three and four could now appear on the extended first page. If continuous scroll effectively combines four pages into one, it is likely to bode well for those struggling to hit the first regular page.
Whether or not this makes any real difference remains to be seen, but it could all add up to good news for a lot of website owners and SEOs.