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Currently we have a photos pages that shows every photo we have for a person on one page. I'd like to change the layout to show only one photo at a time per page with 'Next' and 'Previous' buttons.
I'm worried about what that change will do to:
1) SEO / SEM
3) ad value
4) page rank
Making the change would drive up number of pageviews, and therefor more ads will get displayed. But it will also drive down the average time per page.
Also, I assume a user would rather look at pagenated content than scroll through long pages, but what does that do to SEO when the content per page goes down but the number of pages in the sitemap remain the same?
(My apologies if this is posted in the wrong forum. Newbie here.)
You asked several questions, and they do fall into several possible forums. But each question would benefit from actual testing and research, rather than opinion, so this may indeed be a good place (even if quieter) to take on all those issues in one thread.
I've done some research with pagination, scrolling and so on. In my study, there was a sweet spot - we found optimium page views when scrolling was at around 4-5 screens worth of scrolling per page. Fewer than that and the visitors did not go as far into the content, on average. More than that and they abandoned the content sooner as well.
While this study was not done over many sites, it seemed that users neither want to click "too much" nor did they want to scroll "too much". But we are no longer in the era of "I don't want to scroll at all".
The study was not looking at ad display - and clearly a lot will depend on whether you are getting paid by the impression or by the clickthrough.
I'd say a lot depends on the goals for this change. Usability can often work AGAINST ad clicks - people who are "into" the content are not as likely to leave by clicking on an ad.
There may be no answer ahead of time for you - you may need to take some baseline measures and then try out various changes.
The number of 4-5 screens of pagination makes sense to me, I personally wouldn't typically click more than 3 - 4 'next' pages.
There are several advantages of having fewer posts per page:
1) Quicker page loading
2) Less Dilution of Content
3) Makes Page Easily Scannable
Remember, web users have a short attention span (around 8 seconds) on a first glance of a page, making a big impression at the start through solid content and appealing design goes a long way.
Page loading isn't necessarily a deal maker if its fast, but it always is a deal killer if slow. I've personally cut my posts down to 9 per page.
The way I see it, pagination is just another navigation channel for the web visitor. But then again, EVERYTHING on a website is a navigation element, so make pagination simple, and don't ignore other areas of your site for usability.