Making Scrolling Websites Work For SEO

on under Search Engine Optimization.

ScrollingSitesForSEO-NorthcuttScrolling websites appear to be the little black dress of the Internet at the moment; you simply have to have one. But there's been a lot of talk about how scrolling websites can negatively affect your SEO, specifically if they're built without taking into account what a user will see if they don't have JavaScript installed.

There are thousands of sites that have taken on the scrolling persona; some news sites have too, offering a similar experience to the endless newsfeed in Twitter and Facebook. While it's cool to be able to scroll to your heart's content, it's aesthetically pleasing and offers a seamless user experience; a search engine bot might not be able to mimic the same behavior that a typical user would. Without being able to crawl your content effectively, there is little chance that your site will show up in any search results.

While scrolling sites often rely on their dashing good looks to get incoming traffic, they are still going to be lost among billions of other pages on the web without some optimization for search. A substantial degree of crawlability is essential in order to get your site featured in search results.

SEO Problems Presented By Scrolling Sites

One of the most detrimental SEO problems presented by scrolling sites is lack of pagination. Think about the endless scrolling page with it's awesome effects that render in as you scroll past... now think of the amount of content housed in that one page. Search engines only definitely see the content present after the first page load, with no guarantee that any of the content or items to follow are crawled.

The other problem is the potential for duplicate content with possible overlapping of pages. As we know, duplicate content is death to the SEO standings of your site, so each site needs to incorporate a solution that speaks to overcoming both of these issues.

Advice Straight From Google

In order to make sure that your site is crawlable by Google bots and other search engine crawlers, here are a few pointers that will help taken from this article on their blog.

SEO For Scrolling Sites - Northcutt

  • By dividing the content of a full scrollable page into smaller paginated chunks, you're already solving the first problem by ensuring that each chunk is represented individually as a separate "page"
  • Each one can be labeled as an extension of the main page as per the diagram and should contain about the same amount of content per page
  • Ensure that the content is only represented on one of these pages to avoid duplicated or overlapping content
  • Each chunk of paginated content can also have it's own URL in line with how the pages have been labeled. These URLs can take a user directly to specific content and can also describe a little more about what content is housed on that paginated chunk of content
  • Correct pagination needs to be configured in the head of each paginated page with rel="next" and rel="prev"
  • Implement pushState on each scrolling page

Make sure that each of the paginated pages adjust as you scroll through the main page to ensure that the work you've implemented has been carried out and voila! You have a beautiful scrolling site that can also be crawled for search purposes.

Let us know if you implement these changes on your own site and whether or not they were effective for you.

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