Have you every wondered why a Google results page has pagination? You know, why you have to click from page one to page two to page three, etc. Well, it would seem that you are not alone in your pondering, because Google is thinking about the same thing.
It has been recently noticed that Google is testing a longer page of search results. So now instead of 10 listings, there could be many more. In addition, we could see much more multimedia. View a short video demo of this below.
This new test is coming shortly after the Google Sitelink Update, which had a dramatic effect on the amount of branded search space websites own in Google search. This two new updates, along with all the Google + action, really convey the large push Google is making to become bigger and better than ever, all the while livening things up for search engine optimization.
While this is all well in good, let’s take a moment to consider how an infinite page could play a role in SEO. As we see in the demo, a user still must perform an action to reveal more listings. However, they are not taken to a new page. Instead, more listings are revealed below. From a usability perspective, it could be construed that this will result in users being more likely to return to primary results instead of clicking on a result on the second page. For example, if you are searching for “basketball shoes” and the first page of results doesn’t quite grab you. You then click on the show more option. More options are then revealed. However, your results from the first page are still easily accessible without clicking a back button. You may just jump back to one of those results you glossed over initially.
It is impossible to know at this point how this user experience modification will affect organic search CTR. Historically, it has been the first 5 results that receive the lions share of the clicks. But if users know that this page can go on for essentially, ever. This will in all probability make them more prone to reveal more results. Of course time is always of the essence, so users might just keep clicking on those first 5 results. Only time will tell.
What do you think? Is an ever expanding page a good idea?