Pages with infinite scroll are often appreciated by users but not so much by Googlebot, as Google themselves points out in a post published this morning on their official Webmaster Central blog. The problem with infinite scroll is that search engine spiders cannot crawl the site as a user would without the ability to mimic behaviors like scrolling to the bottom of a page, clicking to load more, or clicking to load the next page in a series.
If spiders can’t access content, the chances of it appearing in search results are unlikely, and the fact is that spiders can’t always access all content on a page with infinite scroll. In order to make sure Googlebot can crawl all items linked from an infinite scroll page, it is recommended that either the webmaster or the content management system produces a paginated series to coincide with the infinite scroll.
Google says a page with infinite scroll is far more search friendly when converted to a paginated series. In a paginated series, each component page has a similar meta title with rel=next/prev values declared in the <head> tag.
Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller, has created an infinite scroll pagination demo that illustrates two key search engine friendly feature of an infinite scroll page: All individual items are accessible and each item is listed only once in the paginated series.
Further SEO Recommendations For Infinite Scroll
Google goes on to offer a detailed list of search friendly recommendations for pages with infinite scroll. Here are the important points:
- On each page makw sure that if a searcher came directly to this page, they could easily find what they need .
- Make sure each page has a decent load time.
- Make sure there is no overlap in content between each component page.
- Each component page should contain a full URL that can be accessed individually.
- Configure pagination with each component page containing rel=next and rel=prev values in the <head> tag.
- Google recommends implementing pushState for any user action that resembles a click or actively turning a page.
- Finally, test it by checking that page values adjust as the user scrolls up or down.
Applying these recommendations should ensure that your pages with infinite scroll are fully search engine friendly and all content can be seen by Google’s crawlers.