Elie Orgel

The Affect Infinite Scroll Has on SEO

Infinite scroll is becoming increasing popular among websites today. Websites such as facebook, Twitter  and Pinterest have implemented infinite scroll for their new feed pages for both their desktop and mobile websites.  Since I’m in SEO consulting, many people have asked me whether or not infinite scroll affects SEO or not, so I decided to write on blog post on it.

Even though infinite scroll may seem an attractive enhancement to your website, be forewarned; it is often complicated to implement, and is not always favored by users.  Infinite scroll has both advantages and disadvantages from a usability and SEO perspective.

Advantages of infinite scroll

  • Retains visitors on one page, allowing them to view lots of content without a page refresh.
  • Can improve load time (page speed) for pages that have lots of content.

Disadvantages of infinite scroll

  • If not done correctly, it can affect how search engines crawl (or don’t crawl) your website.
  • It makes it extremely difficult for users to view the footer.
  • There is no permalink to a specific section of the page.
  • If not properly optimized, pages with lots of content can soak up lots of browser memory.

Optimizing Infinite Scroll For SEO

Infinite scroll pages are coded in either Javascript and/or Ajax. These programming languages, search engines have trouble reading. Therefore, the best practice for web developers is to use progressive enhancement, which means allowing all visitors to be able to use the sites basic functionality of a website independent on their browser, but at the same time offer an enhanced version for users with up-to date browser.  On that token, when coding infinite scroll make sure your users can navigate to your paginated pages with JavaScript turned off.  Once you have links to your paginated content, to make sure it properly optimized read my previous post on optimizing pagination. In brief, make sure that you use rel=”prev” rel=”next”, and append the page number to the Title tag (starting on page 2).

Infinite Scroll Plugins

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  1. The article says under disadvantages “There is no permalink to a specific section of the page.” If it’s a blog, for example Tumblr, and infinite scroll is enabled, you can still click the post title (or in some cases on Tumblr date/time) to view the page URL. This is also the same for most blogs. So, you can in fact grab a permalink to each post individually.

  2. Thanks. Now the greater challenge for me is to figure out how to turn “SEO unfriendly” infinite scroll into SEO friendly. Basically without javascript on, my infinite scroll simply doesn’t work, but doesn’t show pagination either..

    And since the posts are all actually outbound links (hard to explain) there’ another weakness.

    • eli orgel says:

      @Nick The solution is the place regular HTML paginated links into your page, then have Javascript replace the pagination with the infinite scroll content. The search engine bots (who can’t read javascript) will see the pagination and follow it, while users who have javascript turn on will experience the feature of infinite scroll.

  3. Hmm, that was a very nice article. But how can I know whether a specific infinite scroll module is SEO friendly or not. I am thinking of using Jetpack’s infinite scroll feature.

    • @Aditya The easiest way to see if a specific infinite scroll page is SEO friendly or not.is to turn of java-script in your browsers and look to see if there are links to the pages of paginated content.

  4. This is surely a good article but can you please write article on How one can implement this Infinite Scrolling which is SEO friendly.. I am planning to do this on my site but worrying about bad SEO effect.

  5. i currently use infinite scroll on my site but after reading this article i will not use infinite scroll as it has adverse effect on SEO

  6. If you are getting more page views, Ranking will be shoot up. There lion share of visitors are coming from mobile browser. It will effect badly for mobile users. Shall we limit endless scrolling only to desktop/laptop visitors ?

  7. Myntra Coupons says:

    Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I stumble upon on a daily basis.
    It’s always exciting to read articles from other writers and use a little something from their web sites.

  8. Ease of use of infinite scroll compared to traditional pagination is not really the issue.

    The real issue for users, especially for ecommerce sites is the user knowing where they are and where the products they like are.

    Google Images and Pinterest both use infinite scroll, but provide no guidance as to where on the page you are as the pretty much load as one long page.

    Websites need to utilise pagination on infinite scroll so that the visitor knows where there are on the page and can easily find there way back to viewed products.

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