Henya Marmorstein

Staying on top of Infinite Scroll – SEO best practice recommendations

Infinite scroll was created for a better user experience. New content is loaded on the page as the user scrolls down allowing visitors to continue browsing and absorb more and more information without the need to click to the next page.

The Good:

Infinite Scroll -pinterestIn a world where mobile browsing is taking over desktop, and social media has exploded, a quick effortless way is needed to keep users engaged. Small screens on mobiles mean content displays vertically and requires scrolling down to read. User generated content on social websites spurt out tremendous amounts that need handling.

Infinite scrolling seems to be a perfect solution. Easy, fast and simple.

The Bad:

But while infinite scroll prevents the need for multiple pages or waiting for all the information to preload on a page, and at the same time enables fresh content in real time, some of its features frustrate users. How does one decide how far to scroll down? The never ending sea of information can be overwhelming and distracting. Will you ever reach the footer? How can you mark something you find on the page? Can you ever go back?

Search engines too, can have problems with infinite scroll. And if search engines can’t crawl the content, it won’t rank. Making sure infinite scroll is optimized for search engines is more than just UX.

Making the Bad Good:

Infinite Scroll -twitterThere are many places that are using infinite scroll successfully, Twitter being one of the best examples. While pagination is staying put and infinite scroll will never become the only option, when it can enhance the user experience we need to help Search Engines understand it too. By implementing the recommendations below, you can ensure your infinite scroll page is Search friendly.

• Break up your infinite scroll page into component pages that can be accessed when JavaScript is disabled.
• On each page, make 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>.
• 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 and down.

For more information see Googles suggestions: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.in/2014/02/infinite-scroll-search-friendly.html

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