Content Pagination Strategy

Pagination of Long Documents

Content SEO StrategyIt’s fairly popular for publishers and blogger to break up a long article into a series of post. It’s widely believed that consumers do not have the stomach for lengthy articles, but I think it has more to do with driving additional ad impressions. This is a reasonable business decision. However, is there a down-side to breaking up a single article into three parts? Yes, and here are the implications:

  1. When you break a document into three sections you effectively distribute your internal links across three pages, thus diluting link value to a certain degree.
  2. In a set of search results a consumer can be directed to the second or third page instead of page one – a degraded user experience.
  3. You artificially introduce latency – it takes time to load each page.
  4. If you are using dynamic session IDs it makes it hard for Google to associate the group as a single entity (though they do a pretty good job with parameters).

This pagination issue also has an effect on retailers because related product pages can be treated as stand-alone units of information. You see multiple product pages for a single product all the time at Amazon and other major retailers.

Call Lexington eBusiness ConsultingShould you care, and is there anything you can do about it? Yes, because you want that article or product treated as a single unit in Google search results. Google actually does a reasonably good job of relating different pages if they are left to their own devices. But, why take the chance when you can control the outcome. Here are two options:

Consider using the Rel=Next and the Rel=Prev links to simply establish a relationship between each page. This tells Google that these pages are a related sequence. The upside here is that you preserve the link equity as if it were a single document. An addition benefit is that individual pages do not get displayed out of context. Here is an example of how to markup a document that has been broken into three pages:

Page one URL: http://www.MSprague.com/SEO-Content-Strategy-1.html  would be coded: <link rel=”next” href=”http://www.MSprague.com/SEO-Content-Strategy-2.html”&gt;

Page two URL: http://www.MSprague.com/SEO-Content-Strategy-2.html would be coded: <link rel=”prev” href=”http://www.MSprague.com/SEO-Content-Strategy-1.html”><link rel=”next” href=”http://www.MSprague.com/SEO-Content-Strategy-3.html”&gt;

Page three URL: http://www.MSprague.com/SEO-Content-Strategy-3.html would be coded: <link rel=”prev” href=”http://www.MSprague.com/SEO-Content-Strategy-2.html”&gt;

Best Practices: If you use parameters such as session IDs make sure all three pages contain the same session ID.

A second option is to enable View All page. Most people would rather view an article as a single page, and this will indicate to search engines that this is the preferred display for search results. To do this add the Rel=”Canonical” to the page’s source code.

Final Thought – In the end, taking care of content SEO is important, but it won’t help much if you don’t create original engaging articles to read.

Find Out More

If you are interested in finding out more about Content SEO and Search Technologies send me (Mark Sprague) an email at: Mark@MSprague.com, or call me now at: 781-862-3126

If you are interested in developing a custom SEO Roadmap for your business, please get in touch to discuss your needs.

Other Resources for Writers

Lexington eBusiness Consulting

About Lexington eBusiness Consulting

Providing comprehensive Content SEO Strategy to the Asheville NC community

Mark Sprague’s 25 years of product development experience, which includes expertise in Search Engines, Information Products, SEO platforms and Social Networking applications provide in-depth expertise to help you refine products and services, and improve your search engine marketing and websites performance by:

  • Developing a superior data-driven SEO strategy for your website.
  • Understanding your customers’ search behavior and normalizing it to your content strategy.
  • Understanding how search engine technology practically impacts SEO and content strategies.
  • Understanding how search technology impacts content in a social networking environment.
  • Developing a superior user experience based on sound information architecture, usability and coding standards.
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