FaceOnMars - 8:50 pm on Jan 21, 2013 (gmt 0)
I added pagination along with rel="next" and rel="prev" hoping it will allow Google to view and associate the full depth of any given category. This was the primary goal of restructuring this component. Up until now, I've used a "global script" to allow visitors to see the next page of results for any given category; however, there were at least a couple/few problems:
1.) Very cumbersome for the visitor to have to click "See next 20 listings" at the bottom of every page
2.) It's probably sending mixed/bad signals to Google in so far as having a total of 120 categories all funneling into the same script (URL) for subsequent results.
I've seen a consistent, but somewhat "muted/dampened" (never too severe) decline from most Panda refreshes over the past year & I'm crossing my fingers (and toes) that pagination might help on this front by providing Google with easy access to the entire depth of directory structure - which may offer and tie in greater semantic continuity of content.
One issue which I'm a bit concerned about is the fact that I randomize results. Unfortunately, I can't escape this fact ... as it's an integral component of my business model. Essentially, all paid listings (as a group) appear above free listings & within each group all listings are randomized. Randomization used to occur on the fly; however, with the addition of pagination, I've created a script to essentially perform a randomization via a cron job once per day (overnight) and load the order of listings for any given category into a database. I then use this ordering for 24 hours until the deck gets shuffled again. I suppose I could increase the interval (i.e. weekly cron job), but not sure if that would help matters?
I'm considering adding a "view all" in addition to pagination; however, I'm very concerned about resource utilization, but if it's necessary to mitigate the fact that I'm randomizing results, then it'd be worth it. If I do add a "view all" link, I'm not sure what the best way is to nudge Google into indexing the front page of the category? Would placing a noindex and also canonical (-> front page of category) on the view all page work to this end (or is it a no-no akin to placing it on paginated pages)?