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Important "hub" Pages In Supplemental?/not Ranking
Posted 22 August 2008 - 05:06 PM
I have a niche apparel site with a strong hierarchical structure where the root page links only to category pages, which are then split up into sub- categories. The site is almost a year old, but ranks highly on all the search engines for several competitive keyword phrases and has done so for about 3/4 months.
It appears that Google is only assigning toolbar PR ( and ranking for keywords ) to category pages which are the most closely related/most optimized to the root page's theme. The category pages that do rank, also have most of their sub-category pages ranked.
However, some of the category pages directly linked from the root page are simply not ranking, not getting traffic from Google, and appear to be in the supplemental results. These unique and resourceful category pages *are* related however, as they go naturally together with the root page's theme. For example, one of the category pages is called 'Accessories' and is also the first link Google sees when it crawls the list of categories. Just about all clothing stores have an accessories page, so I would think that it would be considered related, and therefore relevant to be considered for ranking. And besides, even if it isn't related, the root page should be telling Google that it is important by linking to it so it should, in theory, pass enough juice to be indexable. Especially since there are only about a dozen links on the entire page.
As far as external links go, there's very few external links to the category/sub category pages.
Posted 22 August 2008 - 06:06 PM
Not sure what you mean by the "root page." What is that?
Are the pages in question in the main navigation and linked from every page, or just linked from this root page? If it's the latter, they simply don't have much internal link popularity, it sounds like.
Posted 22 August 2008 - 06:27 PM
By root page I mean home page.
The categories are only linked from the home page navigation. But so are all the other categories that are ranking quite well. Google seems to have selected only a few categories and their corresponding sub-categories to distribute most of the PR to, and left other categories out. And the categories Google distributed the PR to are also the most relevant and related to what the home page is optimized for.
So you're saying every page should link to all the categories in order to make the most out of the site's page rank?
Posted 22 August 2008 - 10:20 PM
I would do exactly that Don. Linking to those main albeit sometimes 2nd level pages tends to help PageRank flow through the site better. You may also want to consider using a site map type of page that's linked off of the main home page and each other page, one that then links to at least all of your main category pages and perhaps your sub-cat pages if there aren't too many of them.
From your description it almost sounds like it might be a Supplemental Index problem. Where the pages get indexed, but not included in the main index. On this front getting more links pointing to your site seems to help considerably. You may also want to look into whether your <title>'s and even meta descriptions are being duplicated across these pages. When SI first hit I know of a half dozen or so sites that were able to pull themselves back out of the Supplemental by doing nothing more than making sure each page had a unique title and unique meta description. I assume however that these pages were already on the cusp of moving from the supplemental index to the real one.
Posted 22 August 2008 - 11:59 PM
Posted 23 August 2008 - 01:58 AM
Okay, thanks guys for your valued input.
I was under the impression that any page linked off the home page, so long as the home page is strong and doesn't contain too many links, would receive enough juice to be indexed.... I just don't understand why Google chose to rank certain categories over others. I guess there's no way to know the reason for it unless you work for Google.
There's plenty of backlinks to the home page, it was actually PR 4 for awhile then dropped to PR 3... Google scored many sub-categories a PR of 2, and the sub-categories are only linked from its parent category and its products. Very few external links to these other pages, mostly people linking to product images, and other nofollowed links or unlinked url references to the page from forums and other places where people are discussing the site (not spam from us). I realize toolbar PR is historical but im sure there's still plenty of juice going to the home page since it is holding its highly competitive keyword rankings.
I was working on a sitemap generator for the site a little while ago then got tied up with other things, that's a really good idea. I'm going to add that soon and see how it helps out.
Posted 23 August 2008 - 09:10 AM
Google especially puts a lot of stock in the relative importance of any page in the scheme of the internet, and your pages (by the way you're linking to them) are not deemed important. As they are not. You're telling Google they're not important because you, yourself, only link to them via one link.
Are they important or not? You need to answer this for Google.
Posted 23 August 2008 - 12:42 PM
I assume you mean one link from the source of the majority of external PR, as each of these categories have links from all of the pages they link to.
Although by that logic then none of the categories should be important, and they should all be in the supplemental, but that isn't the case here. Some categories were ranked and others weren't - yet all of them are only linked to once from the home page, with the exception of a couple of cross linked categories.
Now, one thing I haven't mentioned is that the categories that do rank also have more sub-pages that link to it. I was just reading a new post called Peanut Butter SEO on Michael Martinez's blog where he mentions Matt Cutts disputed the idea that adding more pages to a site will yield more PR. So if this is true then the categories that are ranking must have received all of their PR from the home page. My theory is that Google analyzed each category's internal link popularity coming from its sub-pages and gave only those categories with the most sub-page link pop the majority of link juice from the home page instead of spreading out the link juice to each category evenly.
Posted 23 August 2008 - 01:21 PM
Bingo. There you go. Those pages have more links pointing to them, exactly as I was explaining in my previous posts.
Posted 23 August 2008 - 02:07 PM
Jill, I wasn't disagreeing with you. I'm simply trying to understand it.
If these sub-pages really are the reason the category pages are ranking then Matts Cutts' dispute of the notion that adding more pages to your site will increase PageRank is not true.
Posted 23 August 2008 - 02:27 PM
Posted 23 August 2008 - 08:31 PM
Gettting enough links pointing to a page to get it to stick in the main index is another thing entirely.
The two things basically never meet each other, cept for maybe in a severely dark room somewhere deep inside the walls of The 'Plex.
Posted 24 August 2008 - 02:09 PM
I understand Google is looking at the links.
There's plenty of pages indexed, with only one link to them, mostly product pages, although most of them are not.
But some of the other categories with two or three dozen links to them aren't indexed. If it was all about link popularity, then it would make sense that these product pages with only one link go supplemental, and categories with dozens of links don't.
So all of these supplemental product pages must be passing anchor text as they are helping their category pages rank for competitive keyword phrases. If they're helping their categories rank then I would assume these links are passing value and being considered in the PageRank algorithmn. However, I thought that supplemental pages don't pass anchor text or any value used for ranking a page.
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