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Avoiding Pagination


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#1 Trilitech

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 04:46 PM

I'm setting up a forum for a site and am trying to avoid pagination on the threads for SEO reasons. There would still be multiple pages worth of threads in each of the sub-forums, but each thread itself would be on a single page regardless of how many posts it has. To keep a pleasant user experience I would still only show 10 posts per "page" and provide links to show the other pages, but that would really just toggle which posts are visible with javascript instead of going to new urls.

It seems the pages would rank better since there are fewer of them to index, they contain all the info about that topic and the internal/external link weight isn't getting so diluted. I don't suspect a thread would have hundreds of replies very often so I'm not too worried about how this affects page size, but I also recognize this isn't standard practice so it's triggering that little warning in my head. I really have two questions:

1. Am I at risk of any kind of cloaking penalties with Google? I would think not since all the content is made visible via user interaction with the page.

2. Is this likely to have a positive impact on SE traffic?

Thanks,
Jeremy

#2 Michael Martinez

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 07:23 PM

QUOTE(Trilitech @ Apr 19 2010, 02:46 PM) View Post
I'm setting up a forum for a site and am trying to avoid pagination on the threads for SEO reasons.


Please don't take this the wrong way, as I am only curious. But what do you mean by "avoid pagination on the threads for SEO reasons"? There's about as many different points of view on how to optimize for search as there are SEOs, so while some ways may be wrong, many ways are right.

So, what I am interested in knowing is:
  • Are you trying to accomplish something specific
  • Are you trying to avoid something specific

It seems to me that most Web forum software these days works just fine with search engines. It's been suggested that Web forum threads may actually have a hard time ranking because of specific filters -- although I'm not convinced that is entirely true. Still, if the search engines feel their users don't want to find a lot of discussion threads in core search results, your efforts may go unrewarded (or less rewarded).



#3 Trilitech

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 09:22 PM

QUOTE(Michael Martinez @ Apr 19 2010, 07:23 PM) View Post
Please don't take this the wrong way, as I am only curious. But what do you mean by "avoid pagination on the threads for SEO reasons"?


On most forums, this one included, once you get over 10 posts on a thread, there will be a link at the bottom to go to page 2 which is a different url. I want to have all the posts for that thread contained at a single url instead and use javascript to toggle what's visible when the visitor flips through the pages. It's not that I don't think the forum posts would still rank decently without doing this, just that they may be able to rank (significantly) better. Although, that in itself is one of the questions. The reasoning being:

QUOTE(Trilitech @ Apr 19 2010, 04:46 PM) View Post
It seems the pages would rank better since there are fewer of them to index, they contain all the info about that topic and the internal/external link weight isn't getting so diluted.


With other sites I've had not all the pages get indexed due to too many pages/not enough link weight and it's seems rare for anything other than page 1 of threads to rank well so it would seem all that other great content isn't bring in much traffic.

#4 Jill

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 07:59 AM

How about just putting the canonical link element pointing to the first page of any thread on each subsequent page of a a thread?

Not that I think you need to do anything at all or it will make a difference.

#5 Trilitech

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 09:55 AM

Wouldn't the canonical link tell Google that page 2 of that thread has the same content as page 1, which wouldn't be true? I would think that would result in only the content from one of the two pages being indexed.

You don't think having a single long page of content or breaking that same content up among 5 pages (for example) makes any difference? Some of your replies on other threads here seem to say the opposite. Perhaps you were referring to the canonical links not making a difference.

#6 Jill

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 11:14 AM

QUOTE
You don't think having a single long page of content or breaking that same content up among 5 pages (for example) makes any difference? Some of your replies on other threads here seem to say the opposite.


It's usually the opposite. Having more pages can be better since each page may have a different focus, and each page gives you the opportunity to be found by more words.

Long scrolling pages are not often as usable either.

#7 Scottie

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 01:13 PM

As things tend to go off topic, if you are hard-core on the details, you'll find everything in one page tends to dilute the topic whereas multiple pages are more concentrated on less topics.

That being said, most forum software lets you set the page breaks. I think we have this one set to show 15 posts per page...? Something like that. But we could just as easily set it to 50 posts per page.

#8 Michael Martinez

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 02:57 PM

It's an interesting issue. But I wouldn't advise this approach for all Web forums. I think it depends on what the forum operator's priorities are.

Frankly, I'm not sure of what the value of having ALL the posts indexed would be. A lot of discussions turn silly.

As an SEO you want to support good crawl and you know you need inbound PageRank flow but Web forums get messy quickly.

I suppose what you're proposing is as reasonable as anything else I've seen.

#9 Trilitech

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 04:07 PM

Sounds likes there's probably not as much to gain as I had thought. I'll stick with standard pagination and set the threshold a little high. Thanks.




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