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How Google Crawls Pages With Infinite Scrolling

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How Google Crawls Pages With Infinite Scrolling


Google is capable of crawling webpages that utilize infinite scrolling to a certain extent. Here’s how it works and the impact it has on SEO.

This topic was discussed during the Google Search Central SEO office hours hangout recorded on February 18.

An individual named Nick Jabbour joins the livestream to ask Google’s Search Advocate John Mueller a series of questions about paginated content.

One of the questions involves infinite scrolling and whether Googlebot has advanced to the point of being able to handle it.

The short answer is: Yes, Googlebot can crawl and index webpages that utilize infinite scrolling.

However, there are limitations to how much infinite scrolling Googlebot is able to handle.

For more on that, continue reading the next section for Mueller’s full response.

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Google Has Limits To Crawling Pages With Infinite Scrolling

When asked if Googlebot can handle infinite scrolling, Mueller says:

“A little bit… I thought we had a page on that but I think we might not actually have finished that up.”

Back in 2014, Google published a help document titled “Infinite scroll search friendly recommendations.”

It’s unlikely Mueller is referring to that page given it’s nearly 10 years old. But the information in the help document can still be used today.

The page contains instructions for coding a webpage with infinite scrolling in a way that resembles a paginated series.

You can go that route with your implementation of infinite scrolling, but it might not be necessary.

As Mueller goes on to explain, it’s possible Googlebot can render all or most of your page the way it’s set up already:

“Essentially what happens when we render a page is we use a fairly high viewport, like if you have a really long screen. And we render the page to see what the page would show.

And usually that would trigger some amount of infinite scrolling in whatever JavaScript methods that you’re using to trigger the infinite scrolling. And whatever ends up being loaded there that would be what we would be able to index.

So that’s something where, depending on how you implement infinite scroll, it can happen that we have kind of this longer page in the index.”

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Mueller goes on to say that Googlebot may not be able to render everything on your page, which depends on how long the page is and how infinite scrolling is triggered.

The best way to find out how much of the page Google can crawl is to use the URL Inspection tool.

“It might not be that we have everything that would fit into that page because, depending on how you trigger infinite scroll, it might be that oh you’re just loading the next page kind of thing.

And then we might have two or three of these pages loaded on one page with infinite scroll, but not everything.

So that’s something where I would recommend testing that with the inspection tool and seeing how much Google would actually pick up.”

As Mueller says, the URL Inspection tool renders a page how Googlebot sees it.

From there you can decide if any adjustments need to be made.

Hear Mueller’s full response in the video below:

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Featured Image: fran_kie/Shutterstock





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What Happens When Google Picks The Wrong Canonical URL?

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What Happens When Google Picks The Wrong Canonical URL?

Despite your best effort to implement canonical tags, Google won’t always choose the same URL to display in search results. How can this be fixed?

This topic is addressed by Google Search Advocate John Mueller in a Reddit thread on the r/TechSEO forum.

An individual asks why Google is displaying the wrong URL in search results, even though they’re making every effort to indicate which page should be displayed.

In addition to canonical tags, this individual is using hreflang tags, and sitemaps, and has the correct settings configured in Google Search Console.

Google continues to display a different URL in search results.

Mueller first explains why Google isn’t displaying the intended URL and describes what can be done to get Google surfacing a different page.

Canonical Tags: Why Isn’t Google Displaying The Correct URL?

A canonical tag sends a signal to Google indicating which URL is the correct one to show in search results when you have similar pieces of content.

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In this particular example, the Reddit user notes they’re dealing with a brand’s website that has multiple country code top-level domains (ccTLDs).

Instead of displaying brand-name.ca in Canadian search results, for example, Google is displaying brand-name.co.uk instead.

There are multiple reasons why this is happening.

Duplicate Content Leading To Wrong Canonicals

The Reddit user believes the pages across domains are different enough to not be seen as duplicate content. However, Mueller informs him otherwise.

Mueller says Google sees the pages as duplicates and indexes only one version in search results, dropping the others from its index.

“What’s happening here is that these pages are overall significantly similar, so that Google de-duplicates them by indexing a canonical version. However, with the hreflang annotations, the correct URL is still shown in the search results (at least where the hreflang is recognized, etc).”

Interesting to learn hreflang is what helped ensure the correct URL was shown in certain cases.

Page Titles Leading To Wrong Canonicals

Mueller notes the way the Reddit user has their page titles written could be confusing to Google.

When dealing with a website that has multiple ccTLDs, Mueller suggests keeping the domain extension out of page titles.

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“One confusing part here is that your page titles use compantyname.TLD. This means the URL shown is the .com.au version, but the title includes .co.uk. You can fix that by changing the page titles to just use Companyname.”

How Do You Fix An Issue With Wrong Canonicals?

There’s no easy fix to this one. It’s not simply a matter of adding more tags or changing page titles.

If you want to prevent Google from de-duplicating your pages in search results then you have to make the content significantly different.

Mueller states in the Reddit thread:

“If you wanted to change the indexing / canonicalization here, you’d have to make sure that the pages are significantly different, not just a bit different.”

Is This A Major Problem?

While it may be distressing to see Google displaying the wrong URL in search results, Mueller says this is not an urgent problem.

There’s no disadvantage when it comes to search rankings, and Google Search Console reports are the same as they would be if your preferred URL was selected.

“Despite what Search Console says, the position, impressions, and clicks of these URLs will be fine. They will appear the same way as if the actual URL were also selected as canonical. There’s no ranking disadvantage to things being indexed like this — and there’s an advantage of there being fewer URLs that need to be crawled & refreshed across your sites (faster inventory updates, etc).”

To be clear, The above statement applies to domain properties you own.

If you want Google to index and display your chosen canonical URL, the solution is to make the content different from the page Google is choosing to display instead.

When it comes to fixing the issue, Mueller suggests it might not be worth the effort.

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“Given that the search results would essentially be the same, I don’t know if that’s really worthwhile for you — at least it probably wouldn’t be an urgent problem to solve.”


Source: Reddit

Featured Image: fizkes/Shutterstock

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