Google is continuously improving the Search experience, but in more than two decades, it has yet to break away from its “10 blue links” model. Until now.
In a bit of news nobody saw coming, Google on Thursday announced that it is changing the way Search works on mobile devices: Continuous scrolling is officially here. Now, when you reach the bottom of a search engine results page (SERP) on your mobile device, the next set of results – or page 2 – will automatically load.
The ability to scroll seamlessly through a wider range of results is a change that is being made, first and foremost, to improve user experience (UX). According to Niru Anand, a Search Product Manager:
“…Most people who want additional information tend to browse up to four pages of search results. With this update, people can now seamlessly do this, browsing through many different results, before needing to click the ‘See more’ button.”
This is a major step forward for the overall modernization of the Search experience, something Google has been focused on for a while. It also gives a whole new meaning to “page one of search results,” which is something SEOs are going to have to come to terms with and figure out what it means. The upcoming weeks will no doubt be interesting as publishers adapt to the change and figure out what it means for SEO.
It’s a major change – and a scary one, because it’s as yet unclear how it will impact SERPs. Presumably, page 2, 3 and 4 results are going to get a lot more love in the form of organic traffic, and we’re bound to see a difference in the top-ranking results because of it. Great for users, yes. But for SEOs? The jury is out.
The update is already here, rolling out right now for the majority of English searches in the U.S. It’s a staggered release, so some results might already be scrolling and others not. It will be fascinating to see how the SEO world reacts to this. We’ll keep you posted.
More SEO News You Can Use
A New Google Guide Helps You Control Your Presence on SERPs: With Titlepocalypse upon us, now is as good a time as ever to revisit what an excellent title looks like. And Google agrees. On Tuesday, the company released an updated best practices guide for crafting page titles that do the job right. Interestingly, Google uses this guide as an opportunity to introduce a new term for the title of a search result: What SEOs have most commonly referred to as “title tag,” Google is renaming “title link.” Both the title link and snippet guides are without a doubt worth checking out to gain control over your appearance on SERPs. If additional clarity on Google’s decision to change your title link is what you needed, you’re almost sure to find it here. Let’s also not forget that the title tag update is dynamic – if Google changes your title link and you adjust your original title to improve it, SERPs are likely to present your new title instead. It’s never too late to fix an affected title, and these new documents will make it that much easier.
SEOs Convinced Google Released a Search Ranking Algorithm Update: Was there another secret search update last weekend? The SEO community seems to think so. October 8 and 9 saw tracking tools spike and chatter get louder, going into the new week. Judging from several reports, it’s looking like we probably had an update. Barry Schwartz at Search Engine Roundtable gathered some of the rumblings and complaints together – do any seem familiar to you? Reports include everything from “disastrously low” traffic to impressions all the way down to increased bot activity. The comment section in Schwartz’s blog has been blowing up all week with people sharing their horror stories. We know Google is releasing more algorithm changes more frequently, and in practice, it’s causing some serious whiplash and very wonky search results.
Neeva Introduces a New, Faster Way To Search: Ad-free private search engine Neeva is working on some pretty exciting features that we’re keeping an eye on. Currently, the company is reimagining search results – a feat that’s made possible because it’s a subscription-based model free from ads. Neeva announced its “FastTap Search” feature in a blog on Wednesday, and we have to say, it’s pretty cool. With this feature, users can type queries directly into the URL field. Neeva will, in turn, show a drop-down menu of direct links, effectively cutting a step out of the usual search process and taking users directly to the site. As George Nguyen at Search Engine Land points out, even FastTap can’t break free from a ranking system – its algorithm, too, dictates that there will always be a top result. But because FastTap Search only presents a few results, sites that manage to earn that top spot stand to gain even greater visibility. And that’s always worth optimizing for.
Google Working on a Feature for Breaking News: Like Neeva, Google is also hard at work on new features. In development right now is “Big Moments,” a way to display breaking news stories and real-time events. A report, which was released by The Information, says that Big Moments has been in development for over a year as a result of employees frustrated with Google’s breaking-news shortcomings and lack of improvement. If a major event is unfolding in real-time, users are far more likely to go on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook – Google has never been the go-to. But with Big Moments, that could change. The idea is that the feature will go far beyond typical search results to include continuously updated facts and historical context. If anything, it will be interesting to see how Google’s algorithms present sensitive news topics that would otherwise be dealt with by human moderators in newsrooms.
John Mueller Discusses Product Price as a Ranking Factor: With so many eCommerce vendors out there selling the same products at different price points, it’s reasonable to wonder if Google factors price into its product ranking system. Users will often see product prices directly on search results, so it’s definitely not an outlandish assumption to make. This is the question a viewer asked John Mueller during a recent office-hours hangout: We know for a fact that Google can recognize and understand the price of products on sales pages, but does it use this information to rank the page in question? According to Mueller, absolutely not. Mueller says that it simply wouldn’t make sense for Google to rank a cheaper product higher. There you have it! Product price has zero impact on search rankings, so there’s no need to worry too much about the cost of your items.
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