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On October 13th, I changed my domain from www.7tutorials.com to www.digitalcitizen.life. I made 301 redirects, kept the content, aliases, meta data, etc. The idea is that the new site is the old site with a new identity, new design and new features. The content is the same as on the old website.

However, I am experiencing a 70% hit in search traffic since October 18th. One of the areas where I'm not sure I've done things right is the SEO for pagination.

On 7tutorials.com there was no pagination. On digitalcitizen.life there is. Therefore, an article like this one: http://www.7tutorials.com/5-ways-boot-safe-mode-windows-8-windows-81, which had one page in total, is now redirected to http://www.digitalcitizen.life/5-ways-boot-safe-mode-windows-8-windows-81, which has two pages.

If you analyze the meta tags I used, you can see that I use link rel="next", link rel="prev", and link rel="canonical". link rel="canonical" references the same URL but with the parameter ?nopaging=1 at the end.

I am not sure I use them correctly though.

That's because I noticed that Google has indexed the URL mentioned in the link rel="canonical" field and it takes people to the version of the article without pagination. I do not want that. I want Google to take people to the first page of the article, which has the same URL as on the old website, with the same page-rank flowing (hopefully).

Because of that I used Google Webmaster Tools and, in the section where you set URL Parameters, I set Google not to crawl pages with the ?nopaging=1 parameter. See image below for details.

Screenshot of Google Search Console - URL parameters

However, Google seems to ignore my settings for now, even though they were made on October 14th.

Am I doing things right? What should I do in order to:

  1. Have Google send readers to the first page of each article, instead of the version with no pagination?
  2. Inherit the pagerank from the old articles to the "new" ones.
  3. Stop this 70% drop in search traffic and get close to the search traffic I was enjoying prior to this switch.

I'm pretty stressed out and I appreciate any ideas that you have.

  • I wish I knew... damned good question!! – closetnoc Oct 23 '15 at 21:51
  • I wonder about the SEO cost of redirecting from the original all-in-one page to page-1 of the reformatted multi page article? Google could realise that content further down the original page (ie. certain phrases being searched for) is not found on the page being redirected to (page-1), so certain searches for later content "could" drop from the results initially (just hypothesising)? Although you would think that with the correct pagination link elements, it would pick up again? – MrWhite Oct 24 '15 at 18:33
  • Good question. Let's see what happens a couple of days after we make the changes that were advised below. – Corporate Geek Oct 25 '15 at 11:35
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I think you've mixed up lot of things here. There are several problems with your website's pagination structure.

  1. By putting rel="canonical" in the paginated pages, you are telling google to show the nopaging page in the search results. If you don't want that, you need to remove the rel="canonical" tag. What is happening in your current structure is on one hand you are telling Google to show ?nopaging=1 page (via canonical tag) and from webmaster tools, you are telling to not show this page - clear problem for Google and your SEO.

  2. You have two versions of the first page. www.digitalcitizen.life/5-ways-boot-safe-mode-windows-8-windows-81 and www.digitalcitizen.life/5-ways-boot-safe-mode-windows-8-windows-81?page=0%2C1 (this one is if you go to page 2 and then click page 1 from pagination) which again is duplication = Bad for SEO!

Solution

First, read Google's documentation on paginated content: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/1663744?hl=en

and then you may decide to do this -

  1. Remove canonical tag altogether
  2. Just keep rel="prev" and rel="next" to tell google that you mean pagination. This way google search would mostly go to first page.
  3. Correct the implementation of the first page. ?page=1 link is not needed. BTW, why you have page=0%2C2 instead of page=2/page=02
  • Thank you very much for the good advice. We will implement it as soon as possible. – Corporate Geek Oct 24 '15 at 11:34

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