An SEO professional was concerned about paginated content, and asked John about how they should be organizing this type of content.
They have a long discussion thread with approximately 100 or more comments. It’s probably more intuitive to split it over multiple pages, so that the length of the initial page isn’t too long for people to scroll.
Their scenario is: let’s say a new comment is posted towards the end of the discussion thread.
This gets added onto the end, which could potentially appear, say on page four, five or beyond. The reason why it does this is because it’s the newest comment.
Then across all pages of the discussion thread, the date it was updated will reflect the most recent activity.
However, the most recent activity does not appear until page four or five.
Their main question is: what is the best way whether Google understands to crawl through each page, or whether the most recent comment needs to be featured more prominently?
John explained that this is ultimately up to the SEO professional. This is something where he would try to think about which of these comments you want to prioritize. For example, if something is on page four, then we would have to crawl page one through two through three, in that order.
From Google’s perspective, what would probably happen there is they would not give it that much weight, and they would likely not recrawl that page as often.
So this is something where, if you’re saying “Well, if it’s on page four, then it’s probably not that critical,” then this is something where Google will see that as well.
However, if you say the newest comments should be the most visible ones, perhaps it makes sense to kind of reverse that order, and show them differently.
If they are the newest comments and they are right there on the main page, then it is easier for Google recrawl that more often.
And this could lead to a bit more weight in the search results.
This happens at approximately the 19:36 mark in the video.
John Mueller Hangout Transcript
SEO Professional 7 19:36
Hey, John. Thanks for having us. My question, my main one is centered around the idea of paginated content. So if I have a long discussion thread with, you know, maybe 100 or more comments, it’s probably intuitive to split it over multiple pages. So the length of the initial page isn’t too long for people to scroll.
So the question is, let’s say a new comment is posted Towards the end of the discussion thread, it gets added on to the end, which could appear, say on page four, page five or beyond, because it’s the newest comment.
And then across all pages of the discussion thread, you know, the date it was updated will reflect the most recent activity.
However, the most recent activity does not appear until page four, page five, for example. I’m just trying to get an idea of the best way or whether Google understands to crawl in through each page, or whether the most recent comment needs to be featured more prominently. Any recommendations along those lines?
I think that’s ultimately up to you. So that’s something where I would try to think about, like, which of these comments you want to prioritize. I assume if something is on page four, then we would have to crawl like page one, two, three first, to find that.
And usually, that would mean that it’s, it’s kind of like, a longer away from the main part of the website. And from our point of view, what would probably happen there is we would not give it that much weight, and we would probably not recrawl that page as often.
So that’s something where if you’re saying, well, if it’s on page four, then it’s probably not that critical then that, that would be kind of how we would see it as well. Whereas if you say the newest comments should be the most visible ones, then maybe it makes sense to kind of reverse that order, and show them differently.
Because if the newest comments are right on the main page, then it’s a lot easier for us to recrawl that more often. And to give it a little bit more weight in the search results. So that’s kind of, I guess, up to you kind of how you want to balance that.
SEO Professional 7 21:48
Sure. And that’s true, because some of the messages are timely. And we would want Google to know, oh, this is the newest content being added on to this series of pages.
Am I correct in understanding–remember those old tags, link rel=next and previous? Those were depreciated, correct? Okay, so that doesn’t even matter.
And then for, for a canonical URL, like, you know, I already have several views of a thread, for instance, it could be sort of the default sort is conversation order.
But there’s also sorting the newest messages first, as you kind of alluded to, but that’s not the default. And then there’s also sorting by the top voted, like in order, you know, in order of what was voted up the most.
And however, in each case, the canonical is always on the default sort. Because I’m always concerned about duplicate content across pages, when it’s, it’s simply viewing the same content in different ways.
Does Google place a lot of weight on the canonical? Or is there still a chance Google might crawl it in those other sort orders?
We, I would assume that we sometimes crawl it in the other sort orders, but we would probably use the canonical for the most part. Because for canonicalization, we take into account different different factors.
And that includes the rel=canonical, it also includes things like internal linking, and I assume the internal linking will also go to that default sort order version. So probably most of those signals align already on the default sort order version.
So for the most part, I would assume we just pick that one and stick with it. But I could see our systems trying out the different other versions from time to time as well, just to make sure that there’s nothing that we’re missing. Because we don’t know, like what canonical might be specified on the other sort order pages.
So we might try those out. Okay, I assume for indexing, we would probably use the default one, and for crawling you would probably still see some activity on the others.