Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from

Forum Moderators: Robert Charlton & andy langton & goodroi

Message Too Old, No Replies

Expect ranking drop after splitting established page into 3?

7:16 am on May 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

New User

10+ Year Member

joined:Oct 25, 2006
votes: 0

The MBAs have taken to splitting some established pages into pieces to amp up the pageviews on a generally well-ranked content website. Usability and user-friendliness issues aside, should I expect a dropoff in search traffic to these pages?

For example, there was a single-page, 550-word article that had been online for many years, ranked solidly #2 in Google (just behind Wikipedia) for its key phrase. It drives a few hundred search visits per day.

Now it's in 3 pieces, hosted on 3 pages. The URL structure was:
and is now:

This creates multiple concerns and questions:

The 2nd and 3rd pages don't have any offsite backlinks, but eventually might. At that point, won't they compete with page 1 for its main search phrase? AFAIK, the 'rel=canonical' tag is not intended to resolve pagination issues and therefore is not a solution.

All three pages currently have duplicate titles and META description tags; this is almost certainly a problem. Can it be resolved by simply appending a page number, e.g. 'page 2' to the title and description?

The first page is now missing about 60% of its original content. Could this force Google to devalue it? In other contexts, I have seen highly-ranked pages drop in the SERPs when their content is significantly shortened.

For this specific example page, we're 6-weeks into the breakup and have maintained our #2 rank in Google. If anyone has experience suggesting that this is likely to change, I'd love to hear it.

5:19 pm on May 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

joined:May 26, 2000
votes: 0

If you were going to see ranking drops, I'd imagine they would have shown up by now. It does seem like splitting a 550 word article into three pages is overkill, though.

I've had excellent results with getting deep pagination to attract search traffic by creating totally unique and page-specific titles, descriptions and h1, with the url still showing the pagination. I also use <link rel="next"> in the header, plus other on-page visual information for the end user to keep the paginated relationships clear.


Join The Conversation

Moderators and Top Contributors

Hot Threads This Week

Featured Threads

Free SEO Tools

Hire Expert Members