Last Thursday at SMX East in New York, Google’s Maile Ohye has announced a couple of interesting things Google will emphasize & support from now on.
First – emphasis on “View All” pages.
No changes required for your site, as long as your ‘View All’ link/page is crawlable or all pages have a rel=canonical pointed to the view all version.
Maile mentioned that they found out that users prefer to get full content rather than clicking “next” multiple times, AS LONG AS it doesn’t add too much latency. Perfect use – text-based content like news article, which won’t add extra seconds to download it. However if you own an e-commerce store, showing 200 items at the same page will get very slow because of the pictures… Read on.
Exciting second announcement: Google now supports markup for the “series content” (paginated): rel=”prev” and rel=”next” – both need to be specified in the <head> section of the page. Official announcement is located on Webmaster blog.
There were a lot of questions regarding the use and whether it will work better for paginated content (e.g., an article broken down in pages), archives (e.g., New York Times topic page about Obama) which only has links to the articles, or for the user-facing, paginated sitemap. Maile made it clear that Rel=Prev or Next has been designed to address all of the above.
So, why is it super-exciting for e-commerce sites?
Most of the e-commerce websites have a natural problem of “thin content” on page 2, 3, … n of category pages. You might have invested in a great content on your 1st page of kitchen widgets, but we cannot repeat the same content on other pages (you’d run in the duplicate content issues). So now when you implement rel=prev and rel=next, Google will treat your category page as series:
What’s really cool too, your inbound links and PageRank will be aggregated for the “series content” & Google will try to show a most relevant page to the searcher.
So for example, is your Page 1′s PageRank is 4, but pages 2-3 don’t have any PageRank, now PageRank is carried over and pages 2-3 get the relevance of first page’s keywords in addition to the content already on the page.
Another GREAT use of Series / Rel=Next, Rel=Previous are in reviews on product detail pages.
If you have a product with lots and lots of reviews, they need to be separated at some point. Pagination is inevitable, but do short reviews REALLY bring enough unique content so they are indexed separately? Doubt it. Moreover, in my experience, Google won’t even crawl pages beyond 2 and 3.
With implementing Rel=Prev, Rel=Next, you will be getting:
A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! Notice that now you’ll be able to rank for ALL the long-tail keywords customers have added in their reviews!
Things to keep in mind.
- You still need a unique <title> for each page (e.g., add “Page n” at the end).
- If you’re currently pointing rel=canonical to the first page, you need to stop as it is designed for duplicate content pages and will advise google not to index paginated content.
- It is good for ALL paginated content.