Infinite Scrolling: Is It Right for You?

Infinite Scrolling

Infinite chocolate; infinite resources; infinite love-stick the word ‘infinite’ in front of anything even remotely postitve, and most people get pretty excited. But what about infinite scrolling? While it may seem like a good idea (never-ending information! yay!), the reality is that it may not be a good fit for all companies and may actually be detrimental if you don’t use it correctly.

For those who aren’t ‘in the know’ infinite scrolling is a popular option on almost all social media channels such as Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and even sites like Mashable and Google Images. It’s a seamless way of displaying content or images so users won’t have to click a “load more” or “next page” button in order to see more information. As long as they keep scrolling, the content will keep loading.

Pros & Cons

Sounds like a good idea, right? However, before you make a decision you should find out the pros and cons of infinite scrolling. Some of the pros include being smartphone friendly since there’s no little ‘next page’ buttons to tap and it’s good at retaining a user’s attention thanks to the seamless design and unobstructed information. It’s also easier to display a lot of data all at once, is great for real time information updates, and there is no added lag time to the loading of a site.

Now, those are a lot of great pros, but what about the cons? Unfortunately infinite scrolling makes it hard for users to search for information, it doesn’t allow for any kind of footer, there’s no ‘skip’ option so users are forced to scroll down past undesired information, and an infinite scroll also requires more JavaScript.

Decisions

Are you still not sure if infinite scrolling is right for your company? Well looking at the pros and cons, you should ask yourself some questions. Do your users need to search for products or services? If so, then you should probably steer away from infinite scrolling since it is harder to funnel information or navigate. Does your company work with a lot of content and images? If all of the information on your site is of equal importance to the user (which most content and images are), then infinite scrolling would be a good option for your company.

The Effect on SEO

It’s important to take note of how infinite scrolling will affect your SEO efforts and how Google crawls your site. According to some experts, Google bots will leave a page after the first “load more” section, and will not scroll down or see any of the information that appears after the first section. This means that your information won’t get indexed…unless you do something about it.

To combat this, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller, says that sites with infinite scrolling can include static links with pagination structure, should have a CMS in place, should make sure each component page has a full URL, ensure that there should be no overlaps in pagination, and should make sure that you configure pagination with each component in the <head> and not the <body>.

Now that you know a little bit more about infinite scrolling, you can decide whether it’s a good move for your company and systems. Can be great for the user, but cause issues.