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Paginating A Dynamic Page & It's Seo Implications


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17 replies to this topic

#1 rolf

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 09:09 AM

I'm paginating shopping category pages on one of my sites.

All category buttons currently lead to 'page.php', with '?category=x' added to call a summary/thumbnail/detail link etc. for every product in the chosen category (technically it's one dynamic page but obviously the engines etc. view each category as a different page.)

Until recently, each category has had a maximum of 15 or so products, so no pagination was necessary, but I've been adding more products and in one category (let's call it Red Lederhosen) we now have about 50 products. That page in particular is getting some decent traffic, but it's getting a bit cumbersome to load as one long page.

I've got the pagination working perfectly offline but before going live with it I'm concerned that the pagination is going to dilute or even kill some good rankings, such as the Red Lederhosen page mentioned above.

Even with the pagination in place, the old 'page.php?category=RedLederhosen' address will still work (canonically it will be 'page.php?category=RedLederhosen&page=1'), but in there will be about a fifth the amount of content compared to the old version, plus there will be less internal linking to it.

There will be a 'show all' option which will effectively show the old 'page.php?category=RedLederhosen' page without pagination, however the URL will probably be something like 'page.php?category=RedLederhosen&productsPerPage=all', so technically it's a different page.

Should I just do a 301 from the old address to the 'show all' page?

Should I recode my pagination system to 'show all' by default and require an '&itemsPerPage=x' variable to invoke pagination, then rework the navigation to include '&itemsPerPage=x'?

Should I just bite the bullet and load it up with fingers crossed?

I'm keen to keep the site looking good and working easily for my visitors, but I want to keep the traffic streams I'm already getting and don't want to act rashly, so any help/opinions would be much appreciated.

Hope this makes sense, I've tried to break it all down clearly, but do let me know if I'm confusing you.

Thanks in advance.

#2 1dmf

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 09:32 AM

hmm interesting one rolf.

Who knows you could end up with better ranking pages as there is less dilution so to speak.

I guess it's impossible for you to know what products on the page were working and the effect in removing them might have.

Remember G! will see 'page.php?category=RedLederhosen&Page=1', 'page.php?category=RedLederhosen&Page=2' etc. as separate pages due to their URI.

You may find that pagination is giving you more chances as there are now more pages to index / rank.

How different are each page in terms of the products on each page? , is this an opportunity to be more kwd specific, grouping certain products together, so each page targets something slightly different?

These are all very dificult questions and only I guess you will have to 'suck it and see', but I beleive your motivation for making this change should be what guides you, your doing this to improve the visitors experience, and that can only be a good thing wink1.gif

#3 rolf

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 10:04 AM

QUOTE
I guess it's impossible for you to know what products on the page were working and the effect in removing them might have

QUOTE
You may find that pagination is giving you more chances as there are now more pages to index / rank

QUOTE
is this an opportunity to be more kwd specific, grouping certain products together, so each page targets something slightly different?


Yes (unfortunately), Yes and yes, I agree, and I'm sure in the long term it's going to be a good thing, just don't want to shoot myself in the foot in the short term, especially not 2 months before xmas :-s

QUOTE
your doing this to improve the visitors experience, and that can only be a good thing


Assuming I have some visitors left after I accidentally kill my search rankings lol.gif

Thanks 1dmf, always good to get your opinion.

#4 adibranch

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 10:59 AM

hmmm 50 products under one page isn't good for visitors anyway. Sure fire way to bore them of confuse them. and the 'next page, next page, next page' approach is also known to lose your visitors, fast.
Cant you split them into more meaningful sub categories? you then further enhance your pages to the search engines anyway, by simplifying them into more relevant terms.

#5 rolf

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 11:32 AM

I agree, Adibranch. What I've done looks like this :



I think that minimises the downsides of what you're saying, but it's kind of a rock/hard place choice at the moment as there's no sensible way to further sub categorise without unbalancing other things and opening other cans of worms. (It's difficult to explain my logic without being too long winded, but I have looked at it and will be implementing further subcategories when the time comes, just not yet.)

For now I'm sure the sensible option is pagination, but I appreciate the suggestion and am open to any more ideas.

#6 Randy

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 11:32 AM

Difficult to say if it'll have any SEO impact by some content moving off of the default page. It may and it may not. In most cases it seems to not matter since the default page still has the majority of the same links pointing at it.

As far as the URL part goes, what I've always done is keep the default page address the same as the original, then add the extra variable/value parameter for the Page 2, Page 3 etc. Rather than do it as a strict Page 1, Page 2, Page 3 in the code I've always used an Offset, which is something I can change in the code if necessary.

So if I want to have 15 per page I set the limit to 15 and have the default page with the default address display the first 15. If there are more than 15 the code produces the pagination navigation to additional pages by adding an offset=15 or whatever to the url string.

I have been lazy with this a couple of times and not had the Page 1 pagination link pointing back to the default url and instead going to an ?offset=0 address. I've never personally noticed any big problems with doing it this way. Given this I doubt you'll need to change the way you're doing things, nor do I think you stand a high probability of running into issues with the engines.

#7 rolf

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 05:37 AM

QUOTE
As far as the URL part goes, what I've always done is keep the default page address the same as the original


I think I'll do that as it's only a slight change to the coding.

It's always good to think these things through before acting, but I guess I'll just have to do it and see what happens...

Thanks everyone for the feedback/advice, I appreciate it.

#8 adibranch

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 12:33 PM

QUOTE(rolf @ Nov 2 2009, 11:32 AM) View Post
I agree, Adibranch. What I've done looks like this :



There was a time for a long time when these kind of nav was okay, but things are changing.. a tiny link at the bottom of the page wont attract attention. If it was me, i'd turn next page, previous page, and view all, into buttons directly underneath the product listings. Simple, simple, simple, if you want to compete in the current bonkers e-commerce world.

The other issue here though, is why you're splitting your products into red lederhosen, green lederhosen, yellow lederhosen.. this is making for potentially large amounts of clickthroughs to get to a product, and you risk losing a customer at each click. Can you not just use attributes to choose the colour? This would improve visitor retention and solve your listing problem in one go.

#9 rolf

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 03:49 AM

QUOTE
i'd turn next page, previous page, and view all, into buttons directly underneath the product listings


Interesting idea, I can see your logic so I've added a split test to the todo list.

QUOTE
The other issue here though, is why you're splitting your products into red lederhosen, green lederhosen, yellow lederhosen


I think you're taking my examples too literally with that.



#10 adibranch

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 05:06 AM

well, an online shop specialising in brightly coloured austrian clothing wouldnt suprise me at all in all honesty smile.gif i've seen worse. Still, it makes a nice change from 'widgets'.

#11 rolf

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 06:47 AM

Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against lederhosen, in fact one of my favourite shops sells nothing else, although it's been a while since I bought any - how many pairs of lederhosen can one really justify owning in this economic climate?

#12 1dmf

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 07:02 AM

QUOTE
how many pairs of lederhosen can one really justify owning in this economic climate?
ask Randy, he has a website and everything lol.gif

#13 Randy

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 09:28 AM

heh!

The answer is at least 100 pair, all purchased from me of course. wink1.gif

I really should set up that domain with a shopping cart to actually sell virtual Red Lederhosen some day. The only problem being that people might actually start trying to buy them, without realizing that they're virtual and not real!

#14 rolf

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 10:29 AM

I'm only half joking when I say that I think you might actually do a good trade in them!! (with the amount of references around here I reckon it's already on the verge of going viral lol.gif)

Maybe, Jill, you would be willing to share some figures for search engine traffic generated by phrases including the word lederhosen?

#15 Jill

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 12:52 PM

Good question! I just checked, and sadly, we have no traffic that uses lederhosen as part of the search query!




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