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Second thoughts about page length - too late to make changes?

     
11:19 pm on Jun 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

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We launched a new page 3 weeks ago. It is ranking quite well and bringing in a good amount of traffic.

However we are now concerned the page is too long. It is *very* long and text heavy. There is a lot of good information on the page.

I've been asked to paginate the one long page into 5 shorter pages. I'd also like to add some pics for visual enhancement.

Should I touch this page now it has ranked well? What will Google think if I keep the original URL, rip out most of the content, and make it a summary page for 5 new URLs?

Any advice greatly appreciated.
11:52 pm on June 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Just how long is "very long"?

Is it causing the page to load too slowly?

As a web user, I personally don't like to see an article broken up into shorter pages.

I can't prove it, but I think a single page would probably attract more total traffic than five separate apges.

I've seen some very long pages on the web, 10,000 words or even more. You can break up the monotony with section headers and images.
12:20 am on June 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Hi aristotle,

4800 words. That's about 2 meters long. About 10 screens worth of scrolling.

From one of the FF plug-ins available "The page has a total of 18 HTTP requests and a total weight of 309.5K bytes with empty cache". Personally I'm not seeing any load time problems. The plug-in is giving me a grade "C"

As a web user, I personally don't like to see an article broken up into shorter pages.
I agree with you.

I can't prove it, but I think a single page would probably attract more total traffic than five separate pages.
Hmmm. Assuming I have quality content you are suggesting that Google will see an aggregate page more favorably than 5 disaggregated pages? More "comprehensive" or "authoritative" perhaps?

You can break up the monotony with section headers and images.
I'm doing this as we speak. I'm also going to try breakout boxes and some pull-quotes.

Thanks for your thoughts aristotle.

Cheers
1:02 am on June 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I did some user testing a few years ago on when to paginate longer articles. At that time, I found the sweet spot for maximum read-through was about five screens.

When I paginate longer articles, I make sure that secondary pages all interlink with each other and page 1, that each page has its own unique and representative title, description, and <h1> - all while still having good visual cues about belonging with the entire article. It works for users and page views, and it also works for Google - I have a good number of internal article pages that are ranking top three.

On that site, I now spend a lot of time on when and how to paginate. The articles are not very time-sensitive, so the long-term big picture is most important and it's worth the effort.
1:04 am on June 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

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You can break up the monotony with section headers and images.


Yes, chunking the text can really help with online readability. Increasing whitespace between paragraphs also really helps.

From what I've seen, longer pages rank better. Page 2 or more of multipage items don't show as frequently in search results.
2:07 am on June 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Personally I don't like when pages on one topic are broken up into multiple pages. If it's one topic, then one page should do, generally speaking. If you do decide to break it, I'd say stick with 2-3 pages max. Splitting it to 5 pages would be too much. I've got a number of 1,000 word pages and I think they're too short!
2:28 am on June 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I did some user testing a few years ago on when to paginate longer articles. At that time, I found the sweet spot for maximum read-through was about five screens.
This would be a worthy topic for a post tedster and I would like to know more if you are willing.

having good visual cues about belonging with the entire article
I would like to know more about this as well if possible.

It works for users and page views, and it also works for Google - I have a good number of internal article pages that are ranking top three.
Hmmm.

Increasing whitespace between paragraphs also really helps.
Good suggestion

Thanks for your suggestions and advices tedster, iridiax and Swanny007

Cheers
 

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