SEO Issue with Google and Pagination

We have a product list that uses the pagination option of 10 items per page.

I've noticed in the Google search results that the Title description of product list pages have square brackets with a number e.g. [6/6] at the end of the title. This often changes with Google listing the same page but with a different pagination number at the end of the title.

I guess this is due to Google seeing the page numbers as unique URLs.

How can this be avoided? I'm concerned that Google is seeing this as multiple pages and may attract a duplicate content penalty.

Would a 'nofollow' tag on the pagination numbers help?

Many thanks
Andrew



Comments

  • Hi Andrew,

    You cannot disable this, but actually those numbers are being added in order to prevent duplicate content penalty. URLs are unique (different pagination variable, start/limitstart) and they present different contents (there are different products on those pages). However, the title remains, so in order to distinguish those pages, numbers in bracket are being added.
    So the question is if you have any feedback from Google that those pages are duplicate content?

    As for adding nofollow tag, I don't think it's a good idea. Besides, in order to do that you would probably have to modify pagination layout for all Joomla! pages - including content pages and many others. There's one common layout for pagination which is used by all component.
  • edited January 11
    Thanks for the response.
    I have not asked Google directly about the issue so cannot be certain.

    However, I have other content modules on the main page. The unique urls created for pagination will, by default, also have those same content modules - therefore, it could be construed as duplicate content on the other pages created by pagination.

    Ideally, rather than separate pages for pagination, a further 10 items are listed below the first 10 items on the page when requested. This would at least keep everything on the same page and avoid the issue.

    It's certainly an issue because Google is indexing the paginated pages, which are a bit meaningless for visitors.



  • Do you mean to add a button like for example "load another 10 products" which would cause the website to load another batch of products in background? In short: "infinite scroll"?
    This cannot be enabled in the component, sorry.

    As for what you wrote regarding the modules - I'm not saying you're wrong, but on the other hand that's how most of websites work: they repeat side content when visitor uses pagination and I'm sure that Google algorithms are aware of this. Besides, you might have noticed that there are special meta URLs added to section. They are meant to inform Google that we're dealing with pagination (screen-shot below).


  • Exactly yes, infinite scroll.

    Ok. Thanks for your explanation.

    I guess my concerns were twofold.

    1. Duplicate content penalty. However, your explanation makes sense and I would agree that Google are likely to understand this.
    2. Google are indexing the paginated pages to the point where a paginated page appears higher in SERPS than the main page. This means that users are landing on a paginated page which makes no sense. I would have thought that Google wouldn't do this and always make the main page the highest in SERPS but it seems not - at least at the moment.

    Right now I've switched off the pagination and within days of doing this the paginated pages disappeared from Google. The main page is also ranking higher. I cannot be certain that switching off pagination helped this but I'm not complaining. Of course, it means the user experience is slightly worse as they now have every item listed on the page.

    It seems that the best solution for me is to get custom code to create the infinite scroll solution as you describe. I've used you for custom coding previously on this product. Do you think it's something you are able to do?

    Thanks again
    Andrew
  • Hi Andrew,

    I disagree with the following:

    "This means that users are landing on a paginated page which makes no sense"

    It might make perfect sense. For instance you are selling travels and some customer is searching for some specific type of trip that happens to appear on 10th page of results. It would make no sense if such customer was directed to 1th, 2nd... (put any page other than 10th here). Of course it makes even more sense if the customer was redirected to single product page that he's looking for..... and that's what Google actually does. It ranks higher the ultimate pages, which tend to have more valuable content than listing pages. What's more, and that's something friend from SEO branch told me, Google don't care much about listing pages and it would not hurt even if you disabled indexing them at all. What matters are the pages full of content, descriptions, pictures and other details - that is single product pages.

    Regarding your question, we could implement infinite scroll to listing pages as a paid customisation. I have sent you a quote via our help-desk system.
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