Advanced SEO: Solving Pagination Issues in Ecommerce Websites

In this post I’m going to reveal an advanced SEO technique for ecommerce websites concerning pagination issues. For the purpose of this post, I will assume you have a working knowledge of SEO and are working on an ecommerce website.

The Setup:
Ecommerce websites usually have hundreds of products in a category, so they display 10-20 products per page, and provide additional pages for viewing (you can click on page 2- page xx) as well as a ‘view all’ page.

The Problem:
Each of these additional pages and the ‘view all’ page is a duplicate of page 1, since it contains the same title tags and short text. This creates a duplicate content and indexation challenge.

Its fascinating how many ecommerce sites (even with good SEO’s working on them) do not have a solution.

The Solution:
There are a few options: rel canonical, robots meta noindex, parameter handling, or making pages unique (URL, title, meta description).

I’ve found using a meta noindex tag in the secondary and ‘View All’ pages is the best solution. Here are the steps:

Create a view all page with all items listed.

Link to the view all from categories, pages and individual items. (This is default on CMS’s like Magento, or there is usually at least an option for it).

Now for the fun part: meta noindex the view all and secondary product pages. Make noindex, follow the default command.

Here is the code you can use if your ecommerce platform is written in PHP:

<?php
if (isset($_SERVER['HTTPS']) && strtolower($_SERVER['HTTPS']) == ‘on’) {
echo ‘<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex,nofollow” />’. “\n”;
}
else if(isset($_GET["page"])){
echo ‘<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex, follow”/>’ . “\n”;
}
else {
echo ‘<meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow” />’ . “\n”;
}
?>

In Conclusion:
We’ve disabled the bots from indexing the other pages, but not from crawling them and finding those other products. Noindex does not stop the bot from crawling the page, just from saving it in the index.

So, the bots still crawl inner pages (page 2, 3, etc) as instructed and will index all of the products on those inner pages or view all page.

2 thoughts on “Advanced SEO: Solving Pagination Issues in Ecommerce Websites

  1. Rex, the thing is that you need to actually prevent robots from crawling search pages, not only indexing them. The reason is that if you have a hundred of thousands of pages, you want to funnel the bots to the pages that matter. So only preventing from crawling is not helping too much. Cheers

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