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Thank U (Rel) Next - State of Retail Pagination 1Y Later - Orit Mutznik - BrightonSEO 2020

BrightonSEO April 2019 - I attended Adam Gent's presentation, in which he presented pagination best practices given Google's recent announcement of rel next/prev deprecation. After not being sure about what to do with our pagination, this talk came right on time, and drove us to act based on those best practices, as I believed (and still believe) that pagination is critical to get right by retailers & ecommerce businesses. By the time BrightonSEO 2020 arrives, it will be over a year since the announcement, and I'd like to review the UK retail ecommerce sector, to see how many did something about it, best practices, bad practices, ugly practices, and give some tips based on what we did at SilkFred including how that worked out for us.

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Thank U (Rel) Next - State of Retail Pagination 1Y Later - Orit Mutznik - BrightonSEO 2020

  1. 1. Thank U (Rel) Next – State of Retail Pagination 1Y Later* Orit Mutznik // SilkFred SLIDESHARE.NET/OritMutznikSEO @ORITSIMU
  2. 2. About me • Heading SEO for Since 2018 • In SEO since 2008 • Trilingual: 🇦🇷Hola 🇮🇱 ‫🇧🇬שלום‬Hello • Search Author & Judge • Focuses: • eCommerce SEO • Technical SEO • International SEO • Content Strategy ex brands: @oritsimu #brightonseo
  3. 3. About Today’s Talk 1. SilkFred Pagination Case Study 2. State of Pagination 2020 Research Findings (Women’s Fashion, UK) 3. What’s Changed From March 2020 to Now? (besides everything…) 4. Tips & Resources For Search Engine Friendly Pagination
  4. 4. Grab my slides here so you don’t miss a thing :) (Real) Reviews: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”It's awesome!” - John Mueller, Google ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”Loved your talk” - Adam Gent, DeepCrawl @oritsimu #brightonseo
  5. 5. Part I: SilkFred Pagination Case Study
  6. 6. About Me - As the 1st in-house SEO Image credits: @oritsimu #brightonseo I had my work cut out for me
  7. 7. 69% Of Our Website Was Non- Indexable Products existing only in our pagination Source: DeepCrawl, SilkFred @oritsimu #brightonseo I got 99K problems and pagination is one:
  8. 8. March 21, 2019: Rel Next Prev Deprecation Source: Twitter @oritsimu #brightonseo
  9. 9. I took it well Source: Giphy @oritsimu #brightonseo
  10. 10. BrightonSEO, April 2019: ME, Live slacking to the devs: Source: Giphy BrightonSEO April 2019, The State of SEO Friendly Pagination (DeepCrawl, Adam Gent) @oritsimu #brightonseo
  11. 11. Quick recap of Adam’s Findings: @oritsimu #brightonseo ● Analysis of pagination practices for 150 Alexa top 500 sites ● 65% of the sites had set up non-SEO friendly pagination ● Infinite scroll and load more were the search engine “non-friendliest” options ● “Some sites lost 30 – 50% of their pages when excluding paginated pages from being crawled” (69% in my case) BrightonSEO April 2019, The State of SEO Friendly Pagination (DeepCrawl, Adam Gent)
  12. 12. Hey Google, what are we supposed to do now? Source: Giphy @oritsimu #brightonseo It’s been 18 months since the rel next prev deprecation announcement and we still don’t have a pagination best practice guide from Google. But...
  13. 13. What DO We Have? JohnMu: “I’d also recommend making sure the pagination pages can kind of stand on their own.” Google Webmaster English Hangouts Many Best Practice Guides Written Immediately After ● Technical SEO Guide to Pagination Post Rel=next/prev - Adam Gent (DeepCrawl) ● How to Correctly Implement Pagination for SEO & UX - Lily Ray (Path Interactive) ● Orit Mutznik (SilkFred) - Thank U (Rel) Next | State of Retail Pagination 1Y Later - BrightonSEO April 2020 👈😏 @oritsimu #brightonseo
  14. 14. Our Benchmark - May 2019 @oritsimu #brightonseo Canonicalisation Main URL structure #? (CSR JS) Crawlability NO Indexability NO Crawl depth* 50+ Pages Indexable Percentage of site: 31%
  15. 15. One Year Later - May 2020 @oritsimu #brightonseo Canonicalisation Self URL structure /page/2 (SSR JS) Crawlability Yes Indexability Yes Crawl depth* 7 pages (two extremes*) Indexable Percentage of site: 99%
  16. 16. One Year Later+ - May 2020 @oritsimu #brightonseo SEO & UX Join Forces Before After
  17. 17. Applause to Self & Devs So the new pagination was released and we lived happily ever after in indexability heaven. Did we though? @oritsimu #brightonseo
  18. 18. *Narrator: She was about to learn that she was not done* Source: @oritsimu #brightonseo
  19. 19. Post Release Pagination Issues: Source: @oritsimu #brightonseo ● 1st iteration of new pagination was via client side JS ● Main page content duplicated across paginated pages ● The rise empty paginated pages ● Paginated pages showing as sitelinks
  20. 20. But the biggest challenge of all John: Maybe you went from too deep to too flat?😭 “If everything is a few clicks away, then how would Google know which pages are more important?” 🤔 Img Source: @oritsimu #brightonseo
  21. 21. Me: Source: Giphy @oritsimu #brightonseo
  22. 22. Have not achieved perfection yet, but we did achieve: 1. Growth across the board 2. “Flat” hierarchy enables new products to get discovered & indexed within minutes 3. One of the opportunities that set us apart in a very competitive landscape @oritsimu #brightonseo
  23. 23. Part II: State of Pagination 2020 Research Findings (Women’s Fashion, UK) How did the rel next prev deprecation impact the Industry in 2019-2020?
  24. 24. First, Why Not Ask Them? Source: Twitter @oritsimu #brightonseo
  25. 25. Pagination Research Methodology 1. Crawled & reviewed the top 150 Women’s Fashion Retailers in the UK: JS Enabled vs Disabled (SEMRush, Screaming Frog, DeepCrawl) 2. Categorised each site based on the type of pagination they are using (Pagination, Load More, IS etc) 3. Used DeepCrawl’s Search Friendly Pagination Benchmark: URL uniqueness, crawlability & indexability @oritsimu #brightonseo
  26. 26. The Search Friendly Pagination Criteria, My 2020 Edition 1. URL Uniqueness: /category-page?page=2 or /category-page/page2 or All in One (no pagination) 2. Crawlability: pagination linked via clean hrefs from the website structure 3. Indexability: not blocked, canonical to self + link on sitemap and/or from website @oritsimu #brightonseo
  27. 27. Research Goal: To determine who also saw this as an opportunity to improve product accessibility, indexability and website architecture. Sneaky goal: To spy on my competitors😏
  28. 28. Researched Brands by Size *By SEMRush (Market Explorer, Competitors tab etc) From a search visibility point of view, it’s no surprise that the most visible brands are also the biggest* @oritsimu #brightonseo
  29. 29. How many still have rel=next/prev in their code? Though most have removed it, it’s evident that the SEO community is divided about this @oritsimu #brightonseo Why would they remove? ✅No longer required by Google Why would they keep? ✅Other SEs+W3C need it* ✅No resources ✅They don’t care *Lily Ray - How to Correctly Implement Pagination for SEO & User Experience
  30. 30. The most popular types of pagination used by UK’s top women’s fashion retailers @oritsimu #brightonseo
  31. 31. About indexability Here’s a reminder of what makes a page indexable, i.e “stand on its own” ✅Self canonical (or no canonical - not recommended) ✅No robots.txt / noindex blocking ✅ A unique url or AiO ✅ An href link from the website (and/or sitemap*) So I asked turned to the community with another poll Pagination - Canonical to main or self? @oritsimu #brightonseo
  32. 32. Canonical to Self Wins🎉 MainSelf @oritsimu #brightonseo
  33. 33. For UK women’s fashion retailers canonical to main wins🤔 @oritsimu #brightonseo
  34. 34. What does Google Say about Canonicals? “Specifying a rel=canonical from page 2 (or any) to page 1 is not correct use of rel=canonical, as these are not duplicate pages. Using rel=canonical … would result in the content on pages 2 and beyond not being indexed at all.” 5 Common Mistakes With rel=canonical, Google Webmaster Central @oritsimu #brightonseo
  35. 35. What does Google Say about Canonicals? “Anything that is only contained on the non-canonical versions will not be used for indexing purposes.” John Mueller, Google Webmaster Office-hours Hangout Notes 7 Feb 2020 also on YouTube. @oritsimu #brightonseo
  36. 36. If pagination is deindexed: Are products in sitemap enough? @oritsimu #brightonseo “Using a sitemap doesn't guarantee that all the items in your sitemap will be crawled and indexed, as Google processes rely on complex algorithms to schedule crawling.” GSC Help 👉Do not rely on your sitemap for indexing👈 products that only exist in non-indexable pagination
  37. 37. Indexability Per Pagination Type Despite the existence of Google guidelines for SEO- friendly Inifinite Scroll Sites from 2014, IS loses. @oritsimu #brightonseo
  38. 38. Total Indexable vs Non-indexable 64% of UK’s leading women’s fashion brands opt for their pagination not to be discovered by Google, despite the amount of products that may exist only there. @oritsimu #brightonseo
  39. 39. Some brands want to make sure pagination is deindexed... @oritsimu #brightonseo
  40. 40. What about noindex follow? If I noindex follow the pagination, surely Google will crawl the links in the paginated pages but will not index pagination itself? Source: Giphy @oritsimu #brightonseo
  41. 41. 18% of sites noindex follow their pagination Noindex and follow is essentially kind of the same as a noindex, nofollow.” – John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, Google Webmaster Hangout 15 Dec 2017 Source: Giphy @oritsimu #brightonseo What about noindex follow?
  42. 42. But obviously, index follow is not enough @oritsimu #brightonseo
  43. 43. Indexability aside, what about crawlability? @oritsimu #brightonseo
  44. 44. What’s standing in the way of crawlability? 100% JS Related Issues @oritsimu #brightonseo
  45. 45. But hasn’t Google advanced significantly in its JS rendering? 1. Not all crawlers are able to process JS successfully or immediately 2. Providing a non-JS alternative for rapidly changing sites or other crawlers is recommended by Google 3. Google cannot crawl or index fragment identifiers - absolute urls are still a requirement for paginated content 4. Content served via infinite scroll specifically has SEO friendly guidelines since 2014, that require unique urls and content accessibility when JS is disabled @oritsimu #brightonseo
  46. 46. But hasn’t Google advanced significantly in its JS rendering? 👉Why waste Googlebot’s time forcing the door open, when you can just open the door & let it in? 👈 And think about this... 👉By the time Google renders and indexes your content following 2 waves of JS indexing, your content might expire 👈 @oritsimu #brightonseo
  47. 47. Part III: What’s Changed Since March 2020? (Besides everything…)
  48. 48. Good News: SEO friendly pagination is on the rise @oritsimu #brightonseo ● SEO friendly pagination has increased by 23% since March 2020 ● From N to Y: ○ 29% were S/M Brands ○ Very big brands made changes
  49. 49. Good News: Brands using permanent urls on pagination are on the rise @oritsimu #brightonseo
  50. 50. Good News: Brands are catching on to (pagination) canonical best practices @oritsimu #brightonseo
  51. 51. Death to IS? Brands seem to be abandoning infinite scroll the most @oritsimu #brightonseo
  52. 52. This is consistent with the growth in the number of brands implementing IS badly @oritsimu #brightonseo
  53. 53. Other News @oritsimu #brightonseo 1. The number of brands adding “noindex follow” to their pagination has increased by 20% (18% of brands) 2. The amount of brands with rel next prev in their code has increased by 6% (45% of brands)* 1. Crawlability numbers remain unchanged, same issues
  54. 54. Why? @oritsimu #brightonseo 1. Add rel next previous to a pagination blocked by robots 2. Change canonical to self but add noindex (follow) on pagination 3. Move to IS without unique urls for pagination 1. Fix bad canonical, point it to main 2. Change pagination type without looking at SEO friendliness or redirecting old to new
  55. 55. The Conclusion Remains: 👉64% of women’s fashion brands in the UK do not meet the search-friendly pagination criteria 👈 Consistent with Adam’s findings of 65% in 2019 for Alexa’s top 150 sites @oritsimu #brightonseo
  56. 56. Part IV: Tips & Resources For Search Engine Friendly Pagination
  57. 57. My tips to getting started with SEO Friendly Pagination 1. Ask (crawl) yourself: Is there something unique that only lives on my pagination? 👉 If the answer is yes - make your pagination stands on its own - crawlable, indexable, unique urls, whilst keeping your crawl budget (params) in check.👈 @oritsimu #brightonseo
  58. 58. My tips to getting started with SEO Friendly Pagination 2. Know how your website is inner linked Are all of your products covered? 👉 Use your pagination as an extension of your inner linking strategy👈 @oritsimu #brightonseo
  59. 59. My tips to getting started with SEO Friendly Pagination 3. How do you build a strong business case? A simple crawl can help 👉Compare your crawl with JS enabled/disabled and know exactly which pages Google is missing out on due to non-friendly pagination 💸👈 @oritsimu #brightonseo
  60. 60. My tips to getting started with SEO Friendly Pagination 4. Always think JS-disabled Reminder: Not all SEs can crawl & render JS 👉Welcome crawlability with an indexable, inner linked, html alternative or server side/dynamic rendered version of your pagination as a part of your solution👈 @oritsimu #brightonseo
  61. 61. My tips to getting started with SEO Friendly Pagination 5. This might not be applicable to all industries If making pagination indexable means increasing the amount of true duplicate content into Google, this might not be the right solution for you. @oritsimu #brightonseo
  62. 62. If you want to conduct this research on your industry Get a glimpse of my methodology Grab my template (no brand names, but you might guess😉) @oritsimu #brightonseo
  63. 63. Useful Pagination Resources 1. The State of Pagination & Infinite Scroll - BrightonSEO April 2019 - Adam Gent 2. The State of the Web: Search Friendly Pagination and Infinite Scroll 3. Pagination & SEO: Ultimate Best Practice Guide 4. How to Correctly Implement Pagination for SEO 5. SMX Advanced: Thriving in the New World of Pagination 6. JavaScript and SEO: The Difference Between Crawling and Indexing 7. Is Google Ready to Catch Up with JavaScript? 8. How to use pagination and infinite scroll on your category page SEO 9. How Site Pagination and Click Depth Affect SEO – An Experiment (Portent) 10.Infinite Scrolling, Pagination Or “Load More” Buttons? Usability Findings In eCommerce 11.The Ultimate Pagination - SEO Guide (Audisto) 12.Google Search for Developers, Dynamic Rendering Guide 13.Infinite Scroll Guidelines, Official GWC, Feb 13, 2014 14.“Google: Stop Using Fragment Identifiers (SER) 15.5 Mistakes Using Rel Canonical @oritsimu #brightonseo