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Dynamic Single Product Page - Can this be successful for SEO?
Hiredguns




msg:4424370
 1:03 am on Mar 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

Hello webmasters!

Long time lurker, but loving the community here.

I'm in need of a little bit of help or opinions on structuring a db page.

This is sorta of an seo, programming question and not sure which section this question would be appropriate to post in.

I'm in a process of designing website in which the product page loads all the products on one page. The product has MANY features
and properties that all sorts of different people would find attractive.

the programmer has come up with a solution to load ALL characteristics of this product onto one page. There could be up to say max
200 of these properties. The reason being is that there would be less database calls and faster load speed.

there can only be at max 10 of these products shown at one time on the page.

HOWEVER, depending on the selection picked off the left nav, the javascript would dynamically change what is displayed of these 10 things depending the the combination of check boxes selected.

The problem I see for SEO (SEO would be VERY important) is that it could be that 95% of the page would have the visibility : hidden (or display:none) tag.

As the user checks / unchecks the properties he / she would like to see of this product, the page would dynamically display 10 different product features all while keeping the URL the same. (everything happens on 1 url).

Is there a SEO friendly way of doing this without being penalized or is it ok that 95% of the page will have the visibility:hidden
tag.

Examples of websites that do this successfully SEO wise would be awesome.

Appreciate any help on this

HG

 

phranque




msg:4424460
 12:33 pm on Mar 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

view your page using lynx and that should give you a pretty good idea of how google sees your site.
if the style-hidden content is available to the user through normal interactive methods you should be ok.
what i would be more concerned about from an SEO point of view is the possible lack of focus on a page of this design.
what would concern me from a usability point of view is how well your page would function using a javascript-disable browser.

Hiredguns




msg:4426736
 1:01 am on Mar 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the lynx tip. Will try it out.

Do you think it would matter how a page functioned seo-wise with the javascript-disabled?

The layout and form function will be carefully designed around usability, one of the core reasons of doing it this way is for usability reasons. It will be fast, responsive and immediate for the user when customizing the product. Otherwise the calls to the db for the various options will slow it down HUGELY.

I'm just really worried about the visibility:hidden function because 80-90% of it will be hidden.

tedster




msg:4426746
 1:13 am on Mar 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

For seven years I've been working with a store that has a lot of visibility:hidden content when the page first loads. I never noticed a problem, so there's some positive input for your idea.

Marshall




msg:4426773
 2:58 am on Mar 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

Most SE's frown on hidden content meant to be only machine readable. However, as phranque pointed out and virtually all the documentation you will find on Google and Bing, hidden content that can be accessed by a "human" through normal interaction is acceptable.

Marshall

Robert Charlton




msg:4426831
 6:46 am on Mar 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

what i would be more concerned about from an SEO point of view is the possible lack of focus on a page of this design.

phranque's point I quote above would be at the core of my concerns. The issue isn't hidden content... it's page focus. If the page content is too broad, the page ceases to be "optimized".

the programmer has come up with a solution to load ALL characteristics of this product onto one page. There could be up to say max 200 of these properties.

200 is a lot of characteristics to include on one page... but in part it depends on the characteristics you include. If the different characteristics are likely to be included in a search query, then... by putting them all on one page... you'd be fighting yourself.

But if you were targeting, eg, a particular piece of clothing, like a shirt, you might be able to manage to include characteristics like color, size, and pattern all on one page without skewing the search targeting. These are characteristics I wouldn't normally try to target on separate pages anyway. I'd normally leave these choices to the option values in the ordering interface. The lists of colors, sizes, and patterns that would appear in your source html would in fact be expected.

If you start trying to include sets of characteristics that would normally involve specific searches, though, like brandname, style, fabric-type, catalogue number, then IMO you're muddying the waters considerably, and you'd be messing up SEO quite a bit.

Different models of products like computers, cameras, automobiles, etc, wouldn't work under the single-page arrangement at all... nor would, say, houses... since most every characteristic I can think of for these products, except perhaps color, is likely to be a specification that would probably be included in search queries... so you'd want to target them via product-specific titles that included these characteristics.

At issue also is the question of urls. If a page url changed in any way as the displayed characteristics of the product changed, then you'd be creating a dupe content situation... since the page content would remain constant while the display and the url would be changing.

And if the url didn't change, I should add, the situation would be inconvenient for a user who wanted to bookmark a specific configuration.

Robert Charlton




msg:4426864
 8:15 am on Mar 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

PS - To the above, I'd also add the issue of visitor engagement with the page, and I could argue that both ways....

- potential lack of engagement with hidden content, depending on the interface...
- potential for increased engagement as the visitor plays with the display options.

PPS...
Examples of websites that do this successfully SEO wise would be awesome.

Our linking policy (see Google Forum Charter [webmasterworld.com] ) generally doesn't allow our linking to or discussing specific outside sites, so we need to confine our discussion here to concepts.

wingslevel




msg:4426922
 11:35 am on Mar 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

We have experimented with dynamic product pages, but their performance has lagged traditional individual product pages by quite a bit. I think many users are visual. When they arrive at the shirt page showing a yellow shirt, and they want a red one, many people simply hit the back button before even looking for a choose color drop down box. We still have our test dynamic pages up, and just last week we made changes to the size, location and color of the drop down boxes. In many instances, the dynamic page is a worthy goal, I just don't know if our users are ready for it yet.

On another note, Tedster, you had mentioned your client site with longstanding dynamic pages. Presumably, since they have been up so long, you all are happy with their performance. But, from a search side, will that page rank for red shirts if that particular attribute is hidden?

Hiredguns




msg:4428207
 5:55 pm on Mar 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

If you start trying to include sets of characteristics that would normally involve specific searches, though, like brandname, style, fabric-type, catalogue number, then IMO you're muddying the waters considerably, and you'd be messing up SEO quite a bit.


Robert, the product can be compared to the features of a car. The different options avail. color included, style, minor knick knacks, etc. Brand is definitely not one of them. In fact it's 1 brand, 1 product. (just alot of options). It's a new product and new brand as well (not very well known) Not sure if that makes a difference.

At issue also is the question of urls. If a page url changed in any way as the displayed characteristics of the product changed, then you'd be creating a dupe content situation... since the page content would remain constant while the display and the url would be changing.


The urls as i mentioned in the original post will NOT change. The different options will be activated / non-activated by check boxes. Clicking on them will unhide the visibility: none to visible, dynamically. So for example. checking off the "blue color" will visibly show ALL blue color products, check off "thin style" then it will show a blue thin styled products. just by unhiding / hiding the data already loaded in.

Hiredguns




msg:4428215
 6:07 pm on Mar 12, 2012 (gmt 0)

Our linking policy (see Google Forum Charter [webmasterworld.com] ) generally doesn't allow our linking to or discussing specific outside sites, so we need to confine our discussion here to concepts.


Robert. Ok thanks for the notice. I guess i should reword it to Sticky msg me if anybody has an example website of this...it will greatly help us!

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