Date posted

01 Jul 2024

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Google search and the return of page 1

Originally launched on mobile in October 2021, last week Google announced that it will begin removing the continuous scroll functionality from search results on mobile and desktop devices.

Google is currently switching off continuous scroll for desktop and replacing it with the familiar pagination bar that previously enabled users to navigate between pages. Continuous scroll will be removed from mobile results within a month. This will be replaced with a “More results” button to enable additional listings to appear.

Google explained that this change is to serve search results faster and that continuous scroll didn’t lead to “significantly higher satisfaction within search”. 

The removal of continuous scroll and organic search performance

The removal of continuous scroll from search results has implications for your organic search performance.

Sites ranking lower on the first page or dropping to the second page might see a decrease in clicks due to the additional click required to view those results. Historically page 2 (or deeper) was regarded as no-man’s land and therefore dropping from a position that is reachable via a scroll is likely to reduce your share of the clicks from that search (and therefore website traffic and conversions).

Continuous scroll was seen as Google’s attempt to recreate the experience of social platforms. Google acknowledged the threat of TikTok on its market share so stepping back from it may indicate that the search engine does not see itself as a competitor for the social experience.

Measuring the impact on your website

This change is expected to lead to faster loading times. While we, as certified Investors in the Environment, appreciate Google optimising for this, it’s also likely a way to offset the increased cost of processing required by AI overview results. Here’s how you can measure the impact on your website:

Monitor organic CTR and ranking positions:
Track your click-through rate (CTR) in Google Search Console (GSC) and validate rankings using both GSC and a third party tracker. Sites ranking around 8-11 for high-volume queries are likely to see the biggest impact on CTR and therefore traffic. 

Track your data over time: Ideally, you should be exporting GSC data to a data warehouse for long-term analysis beyond  the standard 16-month window. This allows you to compare performance before, during and after the continuous scroll era.

Get in touch if you need help optimising your website to minimise the impact on your performance.