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I should have to display a few thousand titles with one line description (that links to other pages) and I'm not sure how to structure it. Since there are no images it loads fast on one page, but it would be cool to know the more SEO friendly option. (Users using the search function to find content)

So which one is better?

websitename.com/content/football     # everything is listed on the same page

Or

websitename.com/content/football/page/1 # List items from 1.-500.
websitename.com/content/football/page/2 # List items from 501.-1001.
websitename.com/content/football/page/3 # List items from 1001.-1501.

I would prefer the first option, because it's easier to implement for me and I assume it's easier to crawl one page than multiple subpages, but I'm not an expert so I would really appreciate if somebody could explain me which one would be better for SEO.

  • In a way, many webmasters wrestle with the same question in different ways such as, product lists, blog posts, any larger list from a database, etc. I have come across the same issue for myself several times and there is not always an easy answer. In different ways, we have answered this question before, however, mostly as it applies to product lists. One limit you may find is the download time of the page in which case, it is past time for pagination. Whatever you decide, make sure that you do the same thing for search engines as you do for users. Cheers!! – closetnoc Feb 4 '17 at 16:51
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Dumping Data is a big no no just in general. Sure a couple hundred lines of plain html text will not be a problem, but imagine scaling it to thousands and thousands of html data. A computers web browser was not designed for data dumping. It was designed to display content in spurts. Take the example of JavaScript in the browser. Sure animations and advanced renderings look great on a decently powered computer, but ever try to run it on a subpar computer like a google chrome laptop. The javascript runs super slow or crashes the browser completely. Go for a balance of Performance and User Interface design.

As for the seo side of it, search engines like google look at relevance and quality more then ever. That is why you no longer see results for pages with page numbers in google search results aka pagination pages. Since the pagination page does not provide much relevance to answer a query, search engines will usually just use these pages to drive to the pages that add value to search which is your content. So Your pagination results page will probably never rank the way you expect, unless you highly optimize the pagination pages as if they were content pages, which takes a huge effort on your side to pull off, but is possible, but probably not worth the time.

As for Google Crawlers and content, the crawlers have set limits on how long they will spend on a page so you may actually be hurting yourself because the crawler may never get to the bottom of the results page with the data dump of links. So you may find not all your pages are indexed correctly.

So the advice for you would be to focus on the User Interface and the actual content that will actually drive results. Also images and other interface elements being left out from your link dump may actually hurt your chances to help build relevance to the articles you intend to rank for.

So in short, follow the pagination of popular websites, unless you feel you have a method that will truly help your site SEO Wise.

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What is better isn't directly related to the number of records being returned rather it is to do with the load time of the page. If it takes a long time to produce the page due to the number of records that has to be added to the page then it is a good idea to paginate. If the sheer number of records makes it difficult for your website users to navigate through the list then it is time to paginate. Given the fact that you mention that there are a few thousand titles then I would tend to recommend pagination as users tend not to want to navigate through a list longer than perhaps 30-50 rows on a single page. You need to ensure that if you implement pagination then the same pagination is seen by the web crawlers as well but whether you do pagination using AJAX or server side processing with a paging parameter the Google crawlers will still be able to parse the data out.

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Do for your users then think about SEO, there is always solution for good things.

Let's think about Users - Your example says, you have thousand of webpages in /football/ directory, which means browser need to load whole webpage, which most of user don't like it. Do you like it, if Google show you 100 search snippet? What if Amazon show you 500 products in one webpage? I know you're not gonna show images or description but showing hundred of title is generally not good idea. Generally I don't like that kind of website.

So pagination is generally great idea here, so let's find the solution.

View all in search is generally what you should implement.

websitename.com/content/football/page/1 # List items from 1.-500.
websitename.com/content/football/page/2 # List items from 501.-1001.
websitename.com/content/football/page/3 # List items from 1001.-1501.

All above pages should point to this page websitename.com/content/football by using canonical link tag, that's it. So whenever any particular query match with /page/1/ webpage, then google will show and rank /football/ content in Google search result.

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