I'm writing a very long tutorial that just can't fit in one page--it would make the page heavier than 1MB, so I have to split it up. But I really wish I could put it all on one page in order to show Google that this is a very content-rich and relevant destination.
In the past, I've written a 2000-something word tutorial and put it all on one page. The page was favorable with search engines and I did get search traffic on it.
A couple of months later I wrote a much bigger tutorial and split it up into multiple pages with URLs like this
/tutorial/ (Main page)
The navigation mark-up is located at the bottom of every page in that tutorial, and it's something like this:
<p class="prev"><a href="http://example.com/some-section/tutorial/">Previous page</a></p>
<p class="next"><a href="http://example.com/some-section/tutorial/b/">Next page</a></p>
<h3>Pages in this tutorial:</h3>
<ol style="padding-left: 20px;">
<li><a href="http://example.com/some-section/tutorial/">Tutorial Starting Page</a></li>
<li style="font-weight: bold;"><a href="http://example.com/some-section/tutorial/a/">Sub-topic A</a></li>
<li><a href="http://example.com/some-section/tutorial/b/">Sub-topic B</a></li>
<li><a href="http://example.com/some-section/tutorial/c/">Sub-topic C</a></li>
<li><a href="http://example.com/some-section/tutorial/d/">Sub-topic D</a></li>
<li><a href="http://example.com/some-section/tutorial/e/">Sub-topic E</a></li>
<li><a href="http://example.com/some-section/tutorial/f/">Sub-topic F</a></li>
<li><a href="http://example.com/some-section/tutorial/g/">Sub-topic G</a></li>
I even have breadcrumbs (without Microdata mark-up though) like this
Site > Section > Tutorial > Sub Topic A
In spite all of that, the main page, /tutorial/, didn't have much luck with search engines. It's on the second page for its very uncompetitive keyword. It's ranked below pages with clearly lower quality and shallower topic coverage. What's up with that? :(
I'm thinking that for this tutorial that I'm writing now, the <titles> of all the pages will be "How to Main Keyword Phrase - Part 1", "How to Main Keyword Phrase - Part 2", etc. But <h1> will be different from <title> for each page.
What do you guys think about all of this? Is there a semantic way to mark-up multi-page articles that would clearly tell engines that these pages are all part of one article?