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I have a list of ~1000 items I'd like to display to the user. The items has a rank - from 0.5 to 5 stars. My goal is to come with a solution that will be easy to navigate, and smart SEO wise.

First option is to divide one long page into 'stars' section - starting from "items with 5 stars" and descending. I could add internal section links for the different sections at the top of the list.

I guess that's the best for the user, but then I'd be losing navigation stats I would otherwise gain, having the list divided into different pages. Especially, I hate to lose pages with the titles / urls "Top x items" or "Bottom x items"..

The best solution might be having the internal links listed in google as seperate urls, but is this even possible?

Otherwise I might have this one long list, and then duplicates of at least the top and bottom of the list in different pages. But then I have duplicate content which is, as I understand, not very wise SEO wise.

Concrete questions:

1. Is it possible to have internal section links in one page listed in Google as seperate URLs?

2. Will having duplicate pages which display a portion of what's already being displayed in a one long page be an advantage or disadvantage SEO-wise? (Given that the possible titles/urls for these duplicate pages has a good SEO potential).

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2 Answers 2

I would give the option to view as a single page but then also have it broken out into multiple pages (look at articles on news sites that run multiple pages). I would host all of the content on a single 1st page (this page will rank the best because the first page will get all of the links plus be better situated in your site navigation etc.) only display the full content if the user requests to see it all on one page.

You can use the canonical tag or robots.txt ect. to ensure that the duplicate content does not get indexed or hurt your SEO. But will still have the individual URLs available through you analytics package for tracking.

This will provide the best user experience and keep duplicate content out of SERPs which should keep Google happy. Note hiding the content unless a user clicks to see the whole page is best for the user if it's a very long list in my opinion (I would hate to scroll through 1,000 results by default) so it should not run afoul of any Google guidelines however, hiding text even if it benefits the user runs a small risk that Google will misinterpret it as cloaking.

I believe you can use event tracking to track the people that click the "show all in one page" link or if you were to use #toprated as an anchor to a segment in the page. If I recall this is supposed to be easier or enabled automatically in the new "universal analytics" that Google is upgrading everyone too so you'll want to read up on that to get the details there.

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+1.. But actually, if I hide the divided pages from google's bots, it's kind of pointless isn't it? My intention was to be able to get into google with the url/title "top 10 items" or "worst 10 items" –  Roy Dec 7 '13 at 16:27
    
You can have all those subcategories on the main page and just change the view based on the users selection (still getting these rankings). Unless you're looking at really long tail keywords it's hard to get traction for mostly duplicate content, that falls deep in the site navigation and has little or no inbound links from external sources. –  Joshak Dec 10 '13 at 17:33
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Each item can be its own page if there is enough information about that item. Take an example of Amazon.com. They have each product as its own page (lots of info about each product), but they also have long lists of products available in categories and search.

You don't say what the purpose of this list is. How to treat a list really depends on how it will be used. If it a list that users need to pick the best one for them (like products on Amazon), then you want to provide mechanisms for search and filtering. If it is a checklist that the user needs to mark off each item and read the whole thing, then it would be better to have the entire list in one page.

To answer your questions:

  1. You can sometimes get Google to list a section of a page in the search results. Many Wikipedia articles do this. It isn't how Google usually displays results, it it probably isn't the best way for your site to rank.
  2. Some amount of duplicate content is acceptable throughout your site. Amazon lists the same products on multiple pages, for example. See: What is duplicate content and how can I avoid being penalized for it on my site?
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