Infinite Scrolling
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Google Offers SEO Recommendations For Pages With Infinite Scroll

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:

  • Break up your infinite-scroll page content into component pages that can be accessed when JavaScript is disabled.
  • 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.

7e0065f1d371ee9e1d8d043e6e631e36 64 Google Offers SEO Recommendations For Pages With Infinite Scroll
Matt Southern is a marketing, communications and public relations professional. He provides strategic digital marketing services at an agency called Bureau in Ontario, Canada. He has a bachelors degree in communication and an unparalleled passion for helping businesses get their message out.

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8 thoughts on “Google Offers SEO Recommendations For Pages With Infinite Scroll

  1. I’ve been doing all of these for a bit now. The only thing I do not mentioned here is I NOINDEX, FOLLOW page 2 and up if there is an infinite scroll.

  2. Great advice here as infinite scroll becomes more and more popular. Is it still intuitive to the user with a hybrid infinite scroll and pagination? It would seem strange to see. Also what if content continues to get added (like a facebook feed) which would then change all of the content on the subsequent pages as new content gets added?

  3. A good example of a search engine using infinite scroll is Duckduckgo, but they also allow the option for users to choose the ‘page’ feature.

  4. Great article. Thank you. To echo Justin’s comment, what about infinite scroll that displays dynamic content based on ‘related’ logic? Often used at the end of a news article to keep users interested in recent, related articles.

    Ian Getz

  5. Wow! Really informative article, cause every i started new website the bigest problem how to really close from google, this recomendation will be change my view about web and blog, thanks for sharing.

  6. interesting read about infinite scroll web pages and thanks for sharing seo recommendations. Hey Matt, there is a spell mistake “makw” instead of “make” in second bullet point.

  7. Great article!

    I’ve thought of this problem while building the blog section of http://www.restauranteocean.com website, on which we have the extra problem of being multi-language website.
    This is what I’ve done:
    - all articles are unique blog posts, with their own urls, so they can be shared easier,
    - When you are viewing one post and you reach the end of the page, a ajax loader loads related content, each one with its own urn (in the title), and so on.
    - Even though they are loaded automaticaly, we still have a “latest posts” lists on the sidebar, so even without javascript users can travel around.
    - I also use a sitemap.xml file that includes all articles, so google can discover them better.
    - Use special metatags schemes for major social networks (facebook opengraph, twitter cards, plus regular SEO things like page title, h1 tags, image alt tags, and so on. (Every little bit helps!)

    I use Drupal 7 as the CMS, and is been working great. So far Google is crawling my site correctly, so I’m not doing everything wrong (I hope).

    But even though infinity scrolling is great from the usability side, you think this approach is feasable in the long run? In terms of analytical data, it is a nightmare! You never know what is seen, except the top article (the one in which you enter the page). I can’t track what other articles are being read.

    If someone knows a way, could you please comment?

    Sorry for my english, it’s not my native language.