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A small clue to something more sinister

You won’t have failed to notice that Google has drifted over to continuously scrolling results in the last couple of years, rather than the old ‘paginated’ format. Now the search engine has announced a U-turn, and it’s back to clicking ‘Next…’ to get a further page of results. More cynical commentators have suggested it’s not to improve the user experience…

Search Engine Journal reports SEO expert Brett Tabke as commenting: “It effectively boxes more clicks on to page one. That will result in a higher percentage of clicks going to Ads and Google properties. I think it is more evidence that Google is on a path to a new version of portal and away from search. Organic search itself will move to page 2, and I believe eventually to a new domain. They will move away from organic results on page one. So what is left? (1) Google Ads; (2) Google property links; (3) Google Overviews vomit; and (4) a link to page two. They are on a path to fulfilling all general ‘searches’ with their own responses in some form or another. When they don’t have a perfect response, maybe they will do ‘people also ask’ and those lead back to a SERP where they can fulfill the search with their own properties and responses.”

As you can see, Google is not getting any more popular with web professionals. Suggestions that the move is down to a reduction in ad clicks are probably wide of the mark – the change wouldn’t have lasted this long (or even have rolled out in the first place) if that was the case. Tabke’s prediction that Google plans to change itself to a ‘portal’ sounds more plausible; they’ll continue to hoover up content from around the web, but will aim to keep more users on their website rather than sending them to us …unless we pay for the privilege.