If you’ve been keeping in the loop on the latest SEO practices, then you’ve probably heard some conflicting statements on Google Bot’s ability to scroll down your page. This is a vital step in making your website stand out in Google’s search results, but there’s still so much confusion on if it’s actually possible or not.
With Google experts Gary Illyes, John Mueller and Martin Splitt all giving different opinions on the subject, it’s hard to find a straight answer. Let’s delve into the facts and get to the bottom of the GoogleBot scrolling debate once and for all.
What is GoogleBot?
First of all, let’s look at what GoogleBot is and what it does.
GoogleBot is a bot designed to read web pages. According to Google, the bot’s ability is to discover “new and updated pages to be added to the Google index”. This allows websites to be discovered in Google search.
Simply put, GoogleBot’s page reading abilities are essential to your website’s SEO success.
Why is it important?
Hopefully you can see by now why confusing claims over GoogleBot’s ability to read all of a web page could mean bad things for your website’s SEO. Just like when you scroll down a web page with your mouse to discover more content, GoogleBot needs to be able to do the same to index that content so it shows up in search results.
The main concern stems from GoogleBot being unable to scroll down a page, often due to infinite scrolling on a page. If the content isn’t yet visible, can GoogleBot still access it?
There’s also debate over how lazy loading plays into this. In case you’re out of the loop, lazy loading is when parts of pages are loaded on demand, rather than in bulk. This means content is only visible when being actually accessed by the user— for example, by loading more of a page with infinite scrolling.
With so many pages utilising lady loading and infinite scrolling, it’s little wonder people are up in arms over whether GoogleBot can access and index that content or not, and to what extent.
According to Gary Illyes, the content does need to be loaded without scrolling in order for GoogleBot to index it. John Mueller, however, claims that GoogleBot can scroll. So what is the truth?
GoogleBot doesn’t actually scroll
According to Martin Splitt, GoogleBot doesn’t actually scroll down pages. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Splitt clarified that rather than scrolling, GoogleBot employs a variety of techniques to index hidden content. So does this mean GoogleBot can index content from pages with infinite scrolling and lazy loading?
The good news is yes, it can. Splitt clarified that Google deals with indexing pages with lazy loading thanks to use of fetch and render, section observers, and even by doing things like reading and using the noscript tag— no scrolling required.
What you need to know
The world of SEO is ever-changing and it can be difficult to stay informed of important updates. Splitt did say that Google will be releasing more information to the public as developments progress, so keep an eye out for that.w
While it is possible for GoogleBot to index pages with infinite scrolling and lazy loading, these pages need to be set up well for GoogleBot to do its job. This is why it’s so important to have a professional dedicated to optimising and maintaining your site’s SEO. Get in touch with us today and see how our team of specialists can take the stress out of SEO.