Google Experiments with Infinite Scrolling

Google is trying out a new way to move beyond the first 10 results of the SERP: infinite scrolling. The new presentation gives a “show more results” option at the bottom of the SERP that lets users see additional results without moving to a different page, and is a natural pairing with another recent test in which Google locked the top navigation bar, search box, and Google’s vertical search options (images, video, news, etc.) in a fixed position.

The What and Why of Infinite Scrolling

Google already has infinite scrolling on some of its features, most notably Google Image Search. Users have praised the option to scroll down through several pages of images without having to navigate from page to page. Now the same idea is being implemented for the core search results. Here’s what it looks like.

google-infinite-scroll-searchImage via by Webmaster World 

This message, “Show more results,” expands to show the next 10 sites (the ones that would normally appear on page two). If you scroll to the bottom of those 10 results, you can click “Show more results” again to see the next set, and so on, ad infinitum. All the additional results are displayed on the single page, allowing you to scroll all the way through the pages you’ve expanded with ease.

Google has confirmed that this is an experiment, but little else official has been said on the topic. Meanwhile, users have generally spoken positively about the feature. And why not? It’s not as though anyone skips ahead to page three anyway, and the expansion-based result view lets users move back and forth between information on different search pages quickly.

The bigger question is how the change might impact organic and paid search click-through rates. While loading additional pages previously gave an extra “above the fold” segment to work with and bolstered the success of the top result on page two, the new model will have an unpredictable influence on the success of various positions.

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