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On a website with ~40 blogs, we have recently switched on pagination meanings blogs are on page 1-8.

With google crawl being less likely to crawl over 3 clicks deep, will pages not immediately linked get penalised as they are no longer within crawl depth?

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Blog posts that are beyond page 2 are unlikely to get any PageRank and are unlikely to rank well. It isn't a penalty. Google ranks pages based on how closely they are linked to your other popular pages.

There are a few ways to combat this:

  • Show page numbers in pagination. Rather than having your pagination be just
    < Prev, Next >, it helps to have
    < Prev, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, Next >. That way all the pages of your pagination get the same amount of link juice.
  • Link your blog posts directly to each other. Blogs usually have some sort of "related posts" feature that you can enable that has links to several other posts at the end of the current post, or in the side bar. That allows Google to pass link juice around the site very efficiently.
  • Create categories and tags that allow navigation to posts in other ways than navigation. Creating additional navigation paths lets Google find pages and assign value more easily. Those categories and tags can also help with the previous suggestion because they can power the related posts.
  • Get external links. Even if you don't link to one of your pages at all internally, Google will rank pages that have other sites linking in to them.

I don't recommend using pagination at all, ever. It isn't good for users. Users rarely go to page 2 and almost never go to page 3. Users prefer other ways of navigating content including hierarchies and search. Pagination isn't good for SEO either as I've described above. There is really no reason to have it other than the ease of implementation compared to better solutions.

  • Thank you Stephen! I agree with you about pagination. We do have external links and cross links but I think it gets very messy trying to manage an even link structure when you rely on different links to different blogs. – n1ff Feb 10 '18 at 12:24
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...blogs are on page 1-8....With google crawl being less likely to crawl over 3 clicks deep, will pages not immediately linked get penalized ...

It really comes down to user experience.

If you lay out your site as if it was a gigantic story book where users will have to click "next page" all the time, then Google (or any other search engine) might not have time nor the encouragement to index all the pages and rank them high. This is because many people don't like to read hundreds of paragraphs in order to find what they are looking for.

Search engines are invented so that people can type in a query and find what they need easily and quickly.

However, if you still want your website with pagination ranked higher, then what you should consider doing is offer other ways to access those pages several links deep.

For example, if you're running a store and you have different kinds of products, then rather than expect a user to click a category, then a sub category then a sub category then a... (you get the drift...) then finally after x number of clicks, the item, ... What you want to do is consider bringing the items users are interested in closer to the front page. So in the store example, add a "product specials" section on the home page and make a direct link to that product so when users click it, they will save themselves from (how many dozen did I say?) clicks to get to the same product.

So in your blog example, you could do modify your home page and add sections that show people what pages you want them to read the most then they can make a one-time click to reach those pages instead of (8?) clicks.

As for penalization, That really depends primarily on the content. As for the rest of the pages several clicks deep that are of less important, let Google find them. It will take time, but Google will eventually scan for them. I'd give them at least 2 weeks.

  • Hi Mike, thank you so much for your answer. All this information was very useful! – n1ff Feb 10 '18 at 12:22

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