Is infinite scroll a positive feature for SEO?

  • Affected Version
    WoltLab Suite 6.0
    Affected App
    WoltLab Suite Forum

    Hi,

    I have got a question regarding the SEO and pagination in forums....

    Would it be better that we have infinite scroll (similar to discourse) in WLS Forum? :/

    Because the topics can be already found via the XML Sitemap and this way the main focus will be on the main content which are the main categories and the topics and not several pages of the same category.

  • “SEO” means “Search Engine Optimization” and I do not see how infinite scrolling is making search engines any more happy than they already are. From the perspective of a search engine, clicking a button to load the next page or clicking on a link in a pagination widget are pretty much the same thing. The performance difference does not matter because metrics focus around page loads which are evaluated either way.

    From a user perspective, infinite scrolling can be a nice thing if done correctly. The majority of implementations of infinite scrolling are completely garbage like the dreaded “Oops, I clicked somewhere, now I cannot go back!”. This on its own is a problem that can be solved, but the actual problem lies somewhere else:

    • Dynamically loading new content is something that all components need to be aware of, including but not limited to plugins. It can be challenging to achieve the same effect because you lack the environment (= context) to some degree when performing a partial loading of content.
    • Infinite scrolling pretty much means that the footer of your page does not exist. You need to find a way to give the user the ability to jump to the very end of the page so that it’s content stays reachable.

    Infinite scrolling has what feels like an infinite amount of small problems that need to be solved in order to achieve something that is objectively better.

    That said, we’re looking forward to modernize the thread list view and thread view in the next version and part of it could be some way of dynamically loading of content. However, we have no settled on what exactly we’re aiming for at this point and everything is subject to change. I can even imagine taking incremental steps where we iterate over our approach instead of putting all weight into a single leap forward.

    Alexander Ebert
    Senior Developer WoltLab® GmbH

  • If it is ok for me to post. The last I tried to find a solution about the influence of infinite scroll instead of pagination, infinite scroll lost the match.

    There was some reference from John Mueller about this. Infinite scrolling is mostly in Single Page Apps / SPAs and they are not the best with SEO.

    That said, I have a project where the pagination is interfering with content indexing. That is not Woltlab though.

    Smile , it's good for health

  • Thank you both for your replies,

    I completely forgot about the footer which in my case "IS" important. And yes, it can be definately annoying in many cases.

    BUT, how about puting a button at the end of the first page that says "Load another xxx threads" or something like this.

    This is basically the same things but under the control of the user...

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