|Do I have too many pages to rank?|
Iím about to launch a complete new version of my existing website and will drop loads of urls (tag pages, no-indexed pagination pages and useless sections / pages) (return header 410). Some of them might be useful to my users, but most of them are not. So I will remove all of them first and add them back when my visitors ask for it.
Iím also completely changing my internal linking structure which makes more sense for users, but might be more difficult for Google (or any other search engine) to crawl. This is because the use of drop downmenuís which are hidden by default and show up at mouse-over. All the urls remain the same after the launch of the new website, but are linked differently internally.
Users will be able to navigate much more easily with the new layout, but Iím afraid Google isnít (or it should be able use the same navigation which is hidden). The old and new structure of the website is considered good by SEOís and in siloís and in categories.
Next to that Iím also considering to keep some pages for users but not for search engines. Search engines donít bring any traffic to them but for users they might find them useful at times. But I donít know whatís the best way to do this? Noindex them? Or just hide them completely for not logged in users? Don't link to them internally?
Iím all doing this to let Google focus on the stuff thatís important and to let the PageRank flow to my more important pages. There are thousands of useful articles on the website, but only a few get a decent amount of traffic from Google. Thatís a shame because when looking at the statistics / comments / shares people seem to like the articles. There might be too much pages on my website for Google to crawl in relation to my PageRank / Crawl budget or to rank. So I hope if I delete all useles urls from my site it helps?
If Iím able to guide Google where to pay attention to and show the pages I consider that are great I hope this will improve my traffic levels.
But how will I guide Google? I have to distribute all PageRank from the homepage, because all the links are pointing to my homepage. Will it automatically flow through the navigation even if itís done by dropdown menuís? And how can I ďtellĒ Google what I consider important sections / content?
I no-index pages that have niche value, especially if there isn't much text on. Haven't seem any negative implications from that.
Guiding Google: the way you link internally will do that and also tell Google what you consider important. A sitemap is worth doing with dropdown navigation just as a backup but you'll probably find G has no issues following that either.
Submit the sitemap to WMT too if yo want to play it safe.
I think what you are doing is sensible myself...been through that loop myself and it seemed to pay off.
|because all the links are pointing to my homepage. |
That's not normal or natural. If some of the articles are as popular as you say, they should attract some backlinks directly to themselves from people who like them. If these articles don't have any backlinks of their own, then it could be hard to get high rankings for them in Google.
Whether Google sees the links in drop down menus or not depends on the technology used to create drop down menus. If you can see links in the source code, then Google can see them too despite dropdown menu being hidden and only accessible on hover.
|Will it automatically flow through the navigation even if itís done by dropdown menuís? |
You say that both, the old and the new navigation structure is in silos and categories. If the old navigation structure opened the secondary menu of that category/silo on click, and now you have navigation dropdown menus on hover, then you have significantly changed the structure of your website and (presuming that Google can see dropdown menus), you may now have a situation where every page has links to all subcategories from any option in the main menu. Therefore, your site may not appear as siloed as it was before.
|The old and new structure of the website is considered good by SEOís and in siloís and in categories. |
Thank you for the answers!
At the old site I already noindexed a lot of pages. But I assume there might be too much pages with a no index so it worked against me. Still there are far more pages that are allowed to be indexed.
For the old site I have a sitemap and almost all urls are indexed. That seems good to me. But I donít want to rely on the site map for Google to index the page.
Iíve hardly did linkbuilding and there are some links pointing to articles, but itís a very low number. People just link to the homepage (naturally). They only way to get good links to articles is to build links, and I donít want to spend my time one that. I agree itís hard to get ranking, but despite that I see pages rank with no backlinks (but with articles which are closely related who do).
|...There are about 100 categories. All incoming links would then be spread evenly over the most importent parts of the site. Would that be a problem? From a user point of view it makes a lot of sense. |
IMO, it's a major problem, both for users and for SEO. Too much choice is no choice. It's inherently user-unfriendly. It also makes it essentially impossible to prioritize anything on the site.
You may see sites like Amazon showing lots of categories from home, but they have orders of magnitude more authority than you do... they are much larger sites... and they get a lot of inbound linking directly to category and product pages, so link juice distribution from home is not an overriding factor.
Additionally, within categories on the well-optimized major sites, the subcategory links become focused within categories. They are never global dropdowns.
Here are two, of our many discussions on the topic, that are worth reading....
The "Mega Menu" Problem and Google Rankings
For Mega-Site SEO, Structure is King - not Content
While 100 categories isn't necessary a mega-site (depending on how you define your categories), many of the considerations discussed still apply.
Still presents confusion to the user... and Google increasingly doesn't like to see different navigation than what the user sees. It also misses the basic point, that tossing everything into a set of drop downs is simply a sloppy way of solving your navigation problem.
Ultimately the question is not "Do I have too many pages to rank?" it is "How do I rank all of the many pages I have?"
Answering the second question will surely help with your navigation problems (links/back links, etc.).
As a visitor, I'd find 100 categories overwhelming. If you can reduce this by at least half and then have subcategories accessible from category pages (or something like that), I think it might be a smart move both for SEO and visitors.
|IMO, it's a major problem, both for users and for SEO. Too much choice is no choice. It's inherently user-unfriendly. It also makes it essentially impossible to prioritize anything on the site. |
It really depends on how you visualise it and how logical the choices are. In this case itís common sense how the categories are divided.
Yes I could add more filter steps, this would reduce the choice to around 6 to 8. But after some usability testing (small group) Iím convinced it isnít a usability problem.
When I read the threads you pointed out it doesnít seem to be a smart idea to have so many links as main navigation. (From a SEO perspective).
What Iíve done now is to split the navigation into 6 to 8 main categories. From there you have 20 sub categories max and after that step you will find all the articles and second menu to filter the content.
Does this mean the 6 to 8 main categories will most likely rank the best? Because they receive the most internal (navigational) links (like breadcrumbs) ? And they are placed on all pages?
I would prefer to rank the subcategories, because they are of much more value for the user. Will this also mean that if I have 20 subcategories they are less likely to rank than when I have only 10 ?
|I would prefer to rank the subcategories, because they are of much more value for the user. Will this also mean that if I have 20 subcategories they are less likely to rank than when I have only 10 ? |
I do not think the answer is that simple. One of reasons why subcategories *may* rank better is that they will have the majority of links going out to the relevant articles for this subcategory (+ only 8 links out to other top categories). This should result in the subcategory focus tighter to the subject. It also means that articles within a subcategory (and links to these articles/link anchors) are more related to each other, helping with the focus.
Whilst 10 subcategories may have larger portion of the link juice coming from its main category, if the focus of each subcategory is too wide for a particular set of keywords, they may in fact not rank better than more granular subcategories despite receiving more link juice.
So the right answer would be: look at your site architecture and create that many subcategories as it makes sense for the focus of each subcategory.
And in all that don't forget the easy and intuitive navigation for your visitors!