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Google’s continuous scrolling takes a scroll back to pagination

Google is admitting defeat on the continuous scrolling front.

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Image: Unsplash

Remember when Google got all excited about continuous scrolling on desktop search back in December 2022? Yeah, well, they’ve already had a change of heart.

Search Engine Land reports that Google is ditching continuous scrolling in favor of good ol’ pagination. The change is supposed to roll out starting June 25, with mobile search results following suit in the “coming months.”

As of now, we can still see continuous scrolling in action on both desktop and mobile, so it seems it just takes some time for the changes to propagate to everyone.

According to Google, the reversal is all about serving up results faster, rather than loading a bunch of results no one asked for.

They also claim continuous scrolling didn’t exactly lead to “significantly higher” user satisfaction. No kidding.

We’d argue that the noticeable nosedive in Google Search quality (which Google, of course, disputes) probably had something to do with that lack of satisfaction. But hey, what do we know?

The new pagination will apparently look just like the old days, with an elongated “Gooooooooogle” logo and pages 1 through 10 listed below.

It’s worth noting that this change might be bad news for some, as the pages relegated to the second, third, and subsequent pages might get less clicks.

For most users, faster loading of search results is an obvious benefit, though it would be nice if said search results had fewer ads and spam in them, too.

Interestingly, continuous scrolling originally launched on mobile in October 2021 and made its way to desktop in December 2022.

It was supposed to be this big improvement to the user experience, loading more results as you scrolled through the SERPs. But apparently, it didn’t quite live up to the hype.

From an SEO perspective, continuous scrolling had some interesting implications. For one, it meant you’d scroll through around 60 results (or what used to be six pages of SERPs) before needing to manually load more.

This could potentially mean a drop in CTR for the top results, as more pages became more accessible.

Some argued that continuous scrolling would shift SEO priorities from emphasizing a “page one” ranking to striving for a higher overall ranking. But it seems that experiment is now being scrapped.

It’s also worth noting that while continuous scrolling was designed to improve user experience, it had its downsides.

Some argued it could increase time on site and decrease bounce rate, but others found it problematic. And let’s be real, infinite scroll can be a total nightmare from an accessibility standpoint.

All in all, it seems Google is admitting defeat on the continuous scrolling front. Maybe it’s time for them to focus on serving up better, less spammy results, regardless of whether we get there through scrolling or pagination.

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Kevin is KnowTechie's founder and executive editor. With over 15 years of blogging experience in the tech industry, Kevin has transformed what was once a passion project into a full-blown tech news publication. Shoot him an email at kevin@knowtechie.com or find him on Mastodon or Post.

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