Large-volume sites are often forced to set up complex paginations to publicize all of their catalogs. For any type of site (i.e. e-commerce to publicize its products, editorial/news to publicize its articles, Q&A/forum to publicize the posts of Internet users) pagination optimized for SEO is essential!
Pagination has a double impact on the SEO of your site:
- Reduce depth levels: one of the best SEO practices is to shorten the paths between the home page and the deep content of your site (product pages). Each click from the home page adds an additional level of depth to your site. From experience, we will tell you that the crawl decreases as the depth levels increase.
In addition to removing the depths, this transmits more Page Rank to the deep pages and therefore allows them to be crawled more often and to be better considered in the index of search engines.
- Duplicate content: search engines take this issue very seriously and all tend to remove from their indexes all sites with a strong predominance of duplicate content. Put yourself in the place of a search engine for a second: would you accept to crawl URLs several times which in the end does not add any content to your index? You will waste your time and you will certainly rate the site which is only capable of offering you the same content over and over again. Pagination can create duplicate content in high doses when it is mismanaged!
When is paging necessary?
When your site starts to offer listings of several dozen products/articles, your pages quickly become indigestible in the eyes of users who are forced to use the “scroll bar” in order to reach the products at the bottom of the page. In addition, pages that are too loaded with content necessarily increase loading times and can generate performance problems on the server-side.
This is not the only reason for using a paging system. Indeed, Google for a long time “recommended” not to exceed a hundred links per page (internal and external links). Hence the usefulness of creating pagination to manage your content.
How many links and pagination pages do you need?
We would say that it all depends on your site, its page rank and the quality of the content you have. Knowing that ideally, you should avoid creating more listing pages than there are products (useful pages).
Uh, wait! How can you create more pagination pages than there are products?
Several websites unknowingly create hundreds of thousands of paging/sorting pages. Indeed it goes very quickly: just add sorting options to an already poorly made pagination (5 to 10 articles per page), allow the products to be found in several categories and off you go. We happened to audit sites on which product listings represented 70% of the crawlable content on the site!
Ok, but Google, does it like paginations?
Well. Google does not give a lot of credit to pagination pages, it must be said! In some cases, he doesn’t even crawl it, but often he crawls only the first few levels. When you have several thousand pagination pages, and you use that as the only way to improve your crawl rate, don’t be surprised if your product catalog is never crawled.
Okay, but then I put it in place or not this pagination?
Yes, put it in place because otherwise, you will put the rope around your neck? But think about how your site gets interesting, and that your content is accessible quickly. You can do this by creating new categories or subcategories.
This strategy is the best there is! It consists of segmenting your site and structuring it intelligently. You have everything to gain:
As a result, you will have less pagination on a page. Let’s say you have 1000 products, a category, and you offer 10 products per page. You will, therefore, have a category page with the first 10 products and 100 pagination links (1, 2, 3) to publicize all your products. If you create 10 subcategories, you will have a category page with 10 links to your first products, 10 links to your subcategories, and on each category 10 products and +/-10 pagination links.
- You can use the subcategories to optimize your middle tail positioning
- You will have a better distribution of Page Rank
- You will transmit more context in your links
- And Internet users will thank you because they will be able to navigate the site more easily
- It does not work on large volumes your principle of pagination
Yes, when you are a big site, you are forced to display a lot of pagination pages. However, there are best practices to optimize your content structuring.
What has to be done?
- Link a maximum of product from your pagination pages respecting the rule of 100 links per page
- Put your new articles in the first levels of pagination to give them the link juice necessary for them to be crawled and indexed
- Use transversal linking to link the relevant/related categories/subcategories. This makes it possible to transmit juice of links towards these pages which will themselves transmit it to the deep pages
- Make a link back to the first page of pagination (i.e. the page of a category or under category)
What you should not do:
- Show only a small part of the pagination, which goes against the main objective of pagination that of making known a maximum of product in a minimum of clicks
- Link to the first and last page of pagination
- Try random display systems of pagination in the hope of transmitting link juice
- Make links to all pagination pages from home and high-level pages. This is undrinkable for the Internet user and can appear spammy in the eyes of the engines.
- Title tag and meta-description for pagination
Pages with the same given metas can be considered similar by search engines and may, therefore not, be crawled. Unfortunately, in most cases, the title tag and meta-description on the pagination pages are copied from the main page. This therefore necessarily generates duplication of content. You can still find tips to get around this problem by creating dynamically given metas and solve your duplicate problem.