Ecommerce pagination with Goodness Azubuogu

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Show notes

In this week's episode, Jack Chambers-Ward is joined by Goodness Azubuogu, Technical SEO Specialist at Trek Marketing, to discuss ecommerce pagination including:

  • What is pagination on an ecommerce site?
  • Common mistakes when using pagination on an ecommerce site
  • How do these issues affect the site's SEO?
  • How to effectively implement pagination on an ecommerce site



Jack: Welcome to episode 54 of Season two of the Search With Candour podcast. I am your host for this week, Jack Chambers-Ward. I am joined by Goodness Azubuogu, a technical SEO specialist at Trek Marketing. Goodness and I are going to be talking all about ecommerce and specifically focusing on how to effectively use pagination and some common pitfalls that happen when it comes to implementing pagination on your ecommerce site. I've got a fair bit of experience with ecommerce with my clients throughout my career so far. I know Goodness has as well. We dive into a lot of that stuff later on in the show.

Sponsor - SISTRIX

But before I get to my conversation with Goodness, I'd like to give a shout-out to the fantastic sponsor of this show. That is, of course, SISTRIX the SEOs toolbox. You can go do if you want to check out some of their fantastic free tools such as their SERP Snippet Generator, the Hreflang Validator, of course, the Google Update Radar and checking your site's visibility index. Visibility is definitely the topic from SISTRIX this week.

As we're going to be diving into Index Watch 2022, The Losers. Yes, that's right, The Losers. I talked about some of the winners last week. Now I'm diving into The Losers, not only from the UK, courtesy of the fantastic former guest of the show, Luce Rawlings, but also from another fantastic former guest on the show, Lily Ray. We're going to talk about The Losers in the US as well.

Let's start with UK, since I'm based in the UK. I know the UK search scene a little bit better than I know the US side of things. Basically, I'm going to touch on a couple of different things, some notable drop-offs, but I won't go into too much detail. I will let you do that yourself and go and read the fantastic article produced by Luce earlier this week. You can go and check that out in full, in the show notes at Let's dive in, shall we? Kicking things off, I don't know if you guys know very well. They are a political news site, essentially, US-based pretty much, but I know they have very much international coverage as well. I know they're pretty, pretty big on YouTube. I know I've seen their YouTube channel pop up quite a lot in my recommendations. They've done some really interesting content, to be fair, to the credit of them. They do some fantastic explainers for political definitions and things like that. What does this voting system mean? What does this election mean going forward? How do you understand various different international political situations and all that kind of stuff? Some really nice breakdowns, but interestingly, they have seen a pretty big drop off invisibility. They're down over 72% across 2022. They have lost 322,000 rankings. Yes, 322,000 rankings, and decreases in a further 193 rankings as well. If any of my clients saw numbers like that, I would be absolutely terrified. The platform subfolder, in particular, seems to have seen the most significant drop off, especially due to... Well, a couple of different things basically. The March product review update seems to have really, really affected. There were little bumps, little rises every now and then throughout the year, a little glimmer of hope, but the May core update, the September product review and then the October spam update really hammered this decline home for this particular part of, unfortunately for Vox.

They have also done the opposite of what a lot of people have been doing. I talked about this with Cindy Krum quite a few months ago in back in 2022, talking about AMP and how most people are giving up on it because Google is not particularly using it anymore. Most people are already working on mobile-first websites and building websites with mobile-first intent. AMP is less of an important thing here in 2023. They also do a lot of sponsored content, lots of banner ads and kind of... I don't know if you've been on modern news sites, because I'll talk about those in a sec as well. A lot of news sites have pretty intrusive ads and Google is really cracking down on that in many, many ways as well. The Guardian, the BBC, the Sun, three of arguably the biggest news sites here in the UK, has seen a pretty significant decline as well. There definitely seems to be a trend for a lot of big news sites seeing quite big effect to them and quite big declines. Switching over to the US and looking at the data that Lily Ray has analyzed,, free dictionary, your dictionary, thesaurus. There definitely seems to be a kind of common thread there. They've seen... To put it into perspective, had a visibility index of 760, essentially, in January of 2022 and has dropped by 129 down to 630. Similarly, for, which is number three, is number four, is number five. There is a pretty clear pattern there from what we're seeing. Similarly, for news sites, places like Tech Radar, CNET, PC Mag, again, the Guardian and Voxer in there as well in the top 10, and in general, a lot of news sites have seen a pretty, pretty big impact from a lot of these effects.

Lily Ray highlights something really interesting there I think is definitely worth noting as well. The reason perhaps a lot of these news sites have seen such a decline in Visibility Index is because the SISTRIX visibility index only tracks the standard organic blue links. It does not track things like top stories and the news features and all that kind of stuff that you see now as SERP features in 2023. In Google News, which is not tracked by the visibility index, Google has launched a bunch of different stuff. New showcase and Discover and all that kind of stuff that is not highlighted here when you are measuring the VI of a site. The fact that perhaps Google is serving their information in slightly different ways, them being the news sites, perhaps they're serving those news sites in different ways and presenting that information to the user in a different method is actually not tracked by most tools, potentially shows you where this decline has come from. It's actually maybe a shift in the SERP itself rather than a necessary shift in visibility. Say for example, you do the Compare SERPs thing, and Lily has done an example here, looking at David Bowie, specifically. Six years ago, 50% of the organic links were from news media sites on the top 10 classic organic blue links on the SERP page.

Now, in January of 2023, not a single one of them is. Previously, you would've had The Telegraph and the BBC and news about David Bowie's death and stuff like that. Now you have a YouTube page. You have, obviously, Wikipedia's in there, IMDb, Twitter, Instagram, Spotify is even in there as well. There definitely seems to be a shift in that kind of intent that has gone away from... Perhaps that's because of the passing of Bowie. That's a potential thing there. Of course, but the fact that it's gone from a news SERP to a less news-driven SERP I think is a pretty interesting shift.

The dictionary sites saw a particular decline, the ones I mentioned earlier, so,, et cetera, saw a pretty big impact from the September core update that we saw last year. A lot of these sites are impacted around the same sort of time, so definitely seems to be a consistent trend across that industry.

Very interestingly, Google did highlight dictionaries and sites that are looking to provide clear definitions and things like that, specifically in their Google search quality rater guidelines. Late last year that Mark and I talked about, if you are listening to this, link in the show notes for that episode as well, if you want to go and hear us break down the search quality rater guidelines, they specifically call out dictionary sites. It is possible also that Google is essentially scrutinizing them a bit more and looking at them in a bit more detail and they're failing to meet those quality standards, essentially.

Yeah, lots of different stuff to talk about, both from the UK and the US side of things. I'll put links for both Luce's analysis of the UK SERPs and the UK Index Watch of 2022, this is The Losers, of course, in the show notes at, and of course I'll put the link to Lily Ray's US counterpart for that page in there as well. You can go and check them out for yourself in full and check out the Biggest Losers Invisibility of 2022.

Ecommerce pagination with Goodness Azubuogu

Welcome to the show, Goodness Azubuogu. How are you?

Goodness: I'm good, Jack. How are you?

Jack: I'm doing well, thanks. Yeah, we're recording this on a Friday morning listeners. Hopefully, we're bringing some Friday energy and that Friday feeling to the podcast this week.

Goodness: Yeah.

Jack: That's my plan.

Goodness: Yeah, I hope so too.

Jack: For the listeners who don't know who you are, Goodness, first of all, welcome to the show. I believe this is your first-ever podcast, is that right?

Goodness: Yes, it is. That's my very first podcast.

Jack: Fantastic. I'm so excited to be the first podcast you've ever been on. I'm sure you will go on to do many other podcasts in your career. I'll say a little thank you for letting me be the first, basically.

Goodness: Oh no, I should be saying thank you. I'm honoured to be here.

Jack: Cool. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career so far. From what I understand, you started off as a mentee in the FCDC, is that correct?

Goodness: Yes, yes. I've been doing SEO for about nine months or so. I started as a trainee under the FCDC with our leader. She trained us for about three months in technical SEO. Then I went ahead to do an internship with an agency in the US, Crunchy Links. I did that for three months, then I went on to get a full-time role with Trek Marketing. I was a technical SEO specialist. Yeah, currently I'm working with Trek Marketing. I'm doing technical SEO and ecommerce SEO.

Jack: Amazing. Fantastic. What an amazing mentor to have. Aleyda Solís, of all people. What a superstar, what an SEO!

Goodness: She's awesome. She's awesome. The foundation she gave us was enough to start the internship and move on to a full-time role. She's great.

Jack: Amazing. Yeah. I'm hoping to have a lot of new people on the show through the FCDC. I know I was speaking to a couple other people on Twitter. We're planning to have a lot more people who have gone through that process. I'm so interested. It's such an amazing program. I think is really helping people from different parts of the world be introduced to SEO and digital marketing and give the opportunity to people who don't usually get it. I think it's such an amazing program.

Goodness: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. It is. A lot of us didn't know what SEO was until we joined the FCDC. Yes. It's a really huge opportunity and Chima is doing so great. She's awesome.

Jack: Another absolute rockstar of SEO. You got... Aleyda and Chima are the two pillars of SEO.

Goodness: The combo is awesome.

Jack: Absolutely. Yeah, that's a good combination. Do you mind me asking what you were doing before you started working in SEO? What was that transition for you thinking about your career? What was the motivation thinking like, "Oh, this FCDC thing, this sounds cool, I should give this a try."?

Goodness: Actually, I wasn't planning on joining the FCDC. It was just luck that I found FCDC on LinkedIn. Although I've been thinking of-

Jack: Oh, wow.

Goodness: ... changing careers. Yes. I worked in marketing and customer service for a while, but I've always wanted something that I can work from home. I needed to be at home, stay with my family more, because here, where we are here, you leave very early in the morning, come back really late. There's no time to spend with family. Just one day I came across Chima on LinkedIn. I followed her. I saw some of her posts and I learned about FCDC. I joined and from there I got to know about the technical SEO training. That's how I joined. Here I am.

Jack: Amazing, amazing. This is out there. I know we've said FCDC a few times. That does stand for the Freelance Coalition of Developing countries. That is basically an amazing program. I will put a link in the show notes for listeners if you do want to get some more information. It is an amazing opportunity for a lot of people from developing countries to get the opportunity they'd never had before. I think that you're a perfect example, Goodness. Being able to work from home is such a unique thing. Now we can do in 2023 that maybe people wouldn't have done five, 10 years ago. Especially, after the COVID-19 pandemic, we are now like... That's a normal accepted thing in a lot of companies where it wouldn't have been accepted before. I think that hopefully there's a good progress there.

Goodness: Yeah, yeah, it is. It is a good progress. I'm sure a lot of people would like to work from home and just didn't have the opportunity yet.

Jack: Yeah. Hopefully, I think that's going to be a shift we see a lot more of. I'm often in the office because I'm in the Candour office now. Goodness can see me on the video. You can see my little Candour logo above me here and things like that. Those of you have seen the live streams, the listeners, you can see I'm usually in the studio here with Mark and things like that. But yeah, I think the ability to work from home and giving people the flexibility, like you said, you don't have that commute. Let's say it's an hour, two hours there, an hour, two hours back. That's your whole day gone. Like you said, you're there from morning through to evening. You don't get a chance to see families, partners, children, all this kind of stuff. It's just such a change. I think it's a really positive change for our industry. Things like the FCDC are then bringing that positivity to a wider audience. It's just an amazing thing. I'm so pleased to have you on and to give you this opportunity.

Goodness: Yeah, thank you.

Jack: You mentioned technical SEO. You mentioned some ecommerce as well from your training with Aleyda. That is going to be our topic for this week. Then talk about... Kind of dive into some common pagination issues that happen on ecommerce websites. I know you've got some pretty great advice for, essentially, how to fix and improve a lot of those issues. I guess, should we start with what do we mean by pagination in ecommerce?

Goodness: Well, pagination is a process where a large content are broken down across several, multiple pages to make it easy for people to access those pages. Now when it comes to ecommerce websites, we see that happening, product mixing pages or category pages where they're shared across pagination pages so that maybe users can have a good experience, or they can easily find a product, specific products, instead of having to scroll a lot to find something they're looking for on the website. That's where you have pagination. I think it's very important because as SEOs, we are tasked with making sure that websites are visible. You want them to be crawled, you want pages to be indexable and eventually rank for their target keywords, but when you get that traffic, how do you retain your customers? You want them to have a good shopping experience. You don't want them to bounce off your website because they're finding it difficult to get to a page, or they're finding it difficult to buy something. I think pagination is one way of offering a good user experience.

Jack: Yeah, I think that's so key. It's something I talk about a lot with my ecommerce clients, is having the right page for the right search query and being able to make sure that if somebody is looking for a product, they are able to find that product easily and quickly. You want to make that customer journey as easy as possible, that the less barriers you can put in front of them to access your products, and then with pagination, then be able to browse other products as well and be like, "Oh, I came here for product number one, but actually, I want to buy product number two and maybe I'll have a look at product number three while I'm here as well," and give that opportunity for the customer to then convert and buy more stuff, right?

Goodness: Yeah, exactly. That's very important. The whole essence of having products to sell is for people to buy. They're not able to buy anything that defeats the whole purpose.

Jack: At the end of the day we're working with businesses. They've got to make money. That's just the end-

Goodness: Yeah, exactly. They do.

Jack: ... the end goal at the end of the day.

Goodness: Yes, they do.

Jack: I think what a lot of people think about pagination, I think outside of ecommerce, a lot of people think of a typical blog. You think of page one, page two, page three, and all of your content through there. But I think something you really touched on there was product listing pages, I think is a really big part of how pagination works on ecommerce websites. What are some of the kind of common things you will see, from your experience looking at ecommerce websites, from that technical perspective that can maybe hold a website back?

Goodness: I see... When you have very large websites with a lot of products, it's inevitable. They have to break up those pages into smaller pages across multiple pages. But if this pagination isn't implemented correctly, that's where we have some issues that come up that affect the website visibility. One common issue I see is canonicalizing paginated pages. You see the instance where the root page has a self-canonical and the pages 2, 3, 4 are canonicalised to the root page. We know what canonical means. You're telling Google that the first page, the one that has a self-referential canonical is the one you want to get indexed, while the rest that canonicalise to it, you don't want them in the index. That is not true. You do want those pages in the index because they have important pages on them. You want them to show them in the index. Another common issue I see is having paginated pages resulting to orphan pages. When these paginated pages, when they are excluded from the site link structure, it makes it difficult for crawlers to assess those pages. There are no links leading to those pages, making them orphans. Orphan pages are when there are no links to them, or they have little to no links. When we have paginated pages that are probably blocked in the robots.txt, there's no way for crawlers to assess the content there, or when you put so no index on them, which eventually Google will stop following the links there and they'll stop crawling it. You don't want that to happen when you have pages important content on those paginated pages that you want Google to crawl and index eventually. These are the two issues.

Jack: I think internal links is so key there, understanding how those different pages relate to each other and then how they then link to those product pages. Say, for example, you get a fantastic backlink to one of your product pages, but it's on page three, and then as you're exactly right there, Goodness, talk about how you then canonicalize that to page one. You're then basically telling Google, "Yeah, that page doesn't matter, but you got a really good backlink." You're wasting all of that page rank that you could be then sharing around the rest of your pages and getting the benefit and you are not then able to make the most of it and maximize that opportunity. You're telling Google, "Don't worry about it. I've canonicalized this one. This one's the important one. Don't worry about that." Like you said, eventually Google would just stop crawling and paying attention at all and just be, "Well, okay, I don't care about these back links," and you've essentially lost that opportunity.

Goodness: Yeah, and we don't want that. Every other page one counts. We want your pages to be linked sequentially from pages one to three, and you want internal links to them. We want back links to them to show that they're all important pages, unless you don't want them to be. Unless they're not important.

Jack: Well, then there's the argument of “Why have them on your website?” If they're not important, you can start throwing stuff out and planning and structuring your site a bit better, or often pages is such a key part of that as part of that internal linking structure. When you're thinking about, "Oh, we really want to... Why isn't this product selling well? It was selling well one year ago, but now it's not selling well." It was like, "Well yeah, it was on page one a year ago and now you've added a lot more products. It's now on page four and it's not being highlighted as well. It's so many more clicks for a user, let alone the crawler from search engines to come through and actually find that page." Then again, you are sending that message to Google to say, "Yeah, this isn't that important. Don't worry about it," kind of thing.

Goodness: Yeah, I think it's so confusing for Google to see backlinks to a page that it's supposed to have internal links to your other pages past page rank, and then you decide to canonicalise the page and waste the whole link you're getting from the backlinks. We have some other issues that I've seen while analyzing some websites, pagination links implemented with JavaScript.

Jack: Oh yeah.

Goodness: Yeah. That's like... I see that... Well, it's not so common, but I've seen it in a couple websites. Google can only follow links that have an a tag. It has to be on href for Google to follow the links. Now if you have a JavaScript, Google won't follow links. Google can't do onclick events. If you want your pages to be followed, if you want them to get a chance to be indexed, you need to use an ahref links on the anchor links. It needs to have an ahref link on them.

Jack: Yeah, definitely. I think that's such a common kind of thing where you'll see... When you're thinking about internal linking structure and the site structure, so many people think about it as like, "Oh yeah, I've got my homepage here and then I've got my top level category pages, subcategories and products," but actually if you just put an HF link straight from the homepage, you can actually use that to highlight a product or boost it in that site structure. The same is true for pagination. You want to make sure you are having those clear links at the very, very basic one. You're totally right that it's just going to crawl the HTML. That is the first step for every crawler is just going to look at that HTML, check those A links and be like, "Okay, what is the absolute ground-level basic structure of this website?" Eventually, it will get around to rendering and working out JavaScript stuff, but I know from experiments Mark has done and shown me in the past and experiments we've done here at Candour before, it can take days, weeks, sometimes months to actually render JavaScript. If you are... You're totally right. If you're relying on that for a fundamental structural part of your website, you are using the wrong technique.

Goodness: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Although I've seen a case where the website use JavaScript, but when you disable the JavaScript, it has some pagination links.

Jack: Interesting.

Goodness: Yeah.

Jack: They have that kind of backup.

Goodness: Yes, they have a backup. Even when it takes time, Google can still crawl it even without JavaScript. Yes. Pagination pages also, I've noticed they have a lot of high click depth. It's inevitable when you have a really large websites and you have a whole lot of product pages. I've seen pages seven, 10 pages, those are really far away from the homepage. We know that we want our important pages to not be more than three clicks away from the homepage. That's the best practice that we know of. In cases-

Jack: Yeah, definitely.

Goodness: ... like this... Yes, where we have a couple of pages far away from the homepage, it causes an issue because Google might not think they're that important. When it's looking at the whole site structure in my field, the pages are not important, so it might get crawled less. You don't want that. You want your important pages to get crawled often. You won't Google to assess the content and see what you have on those pages. Having them far away from the homepage is a problem. Like you mentioned before, you can put some of your pages on the homepage on the navigation menu just to get internal links from there to the pages. These are some of the issues that I see people implementing pagination incorrectly on ecommerce websites.

Jack: I think they're so common, especially when... Say you're working with a new client and they've never worked with an SEO agency before. Maybe it's just been built by a developer and they have not worked with that kind of SEO mindset in mind when they first started building the site. You can, like you said, you so commonly will encounter at least one, maybe two, even three of these issues all at once when it comes to the pagination of those product pages. Then you suddenly realize, "Well, yeah, obviously that's why that product isn't selling. It's getting no organic traffic. It's eight, nine clicks away, so deep into the site structure." I even saw an example when I was crawling a site the other day where, I think I was using Sitebulb and it hit 50 click depth, crawl depth, and it just... We've hit maximum crawl depth. I'm not going any further. I was like, "Yeah, there's an issue there somewhere." You definitely don't want to be hitting 50. Like you said, you get to 10, that's bad enough.

Goodness: Yes. Whoa, that's too deep. Google might not just not bother. It's too far away.

Jack: Yeah. How big does your website need to be to have 50 click down? Unless you're one of the biggest websites in the world, how do you justify that?

Goodness: Yeah. I did mention when you add no robots, when you add paginated pages to the norobots, you're telling Google not to crawl it. Essentially, you're telling it those pages are not going to get crawled when it has no index, or when you canalize those pages to the root page, they won't get indexed either. These are some issues. We know that you want your pages to get crawled. You want them indexable. You want the products on those pages to rank, to have a chance to rank for their target keywords. These are some of the issues, crawling issues, indexability issues that we'll find in search websites. A way we can effectively implement this pagination so it doesn't bring about these issues is having self-referential canonicals on each paginated page. Paginated pages are unique pages. Google already said it treats them as unique pages. They have different products on each of the pages. They're not the same, so there's no reason to canonicalize to the root page. We need to make them indexable. We need to make them self-referential canonical. Another thing we can do is linking your paginated pages sequentially and making sure that those links can be followed. Don't block them on the... User robots.txt should block. They can't get crawled. Don't add a noindex to them because eventually Google will stop crawling them at one point, and we don't want that to happen either. Yes. In the case of JavaScript, like you mentioned before, it's not worth the effort to have your important pages relying on JavaScript links. You won't Google to immediately see them and be able to index them. Using ahref links is very important so that Google can follow your links and crawl them and access your content.

Jack: It's like the other side of that easy customer journey. You want to make it easy for the crawler to crawl your pages and get around your site. It's the same process to keep as many barriers away, make it as easy as possible for customers to find new products and Google to find new pages and crawl and index them.

Goodness: That's it exactly. As you're trying to make it easy for Google, you also want to make it easy for your users. Having these things in place is very important to ensure that your website can get a chance to rank and there won't be any issues with your pages not being indexed. There's some times when you crawl pages and you see that most of the products are not getting indexed, or most of the products are in... What do you call it? They don't have any links to them, so Google can't find them. You see that they're often pages. Yes. It's because of issues like this that you need to implement correct pagination so that you won't have this happening.

Jack: I think that's really important because, like we said, the golden rule of SEO that I think is so important is whatever we do for SEO also needs to benefit the user. You never want to get in the way of the user just to benefit the search engine, or record, or a robot, or however you want to put it. And being able, like you said, to have... You know those pages are different. You want to communicate that to the crawler, say yes, these pages are different. Something you briefly touched on earlier that I think is really interesting is on-page content as well, because I know I've been talking a lot about this. Even when I was at BrightonSEO hearing talks from people like Areej Abuali and things like that where she talked about the importance of having those category listing pages and product listing pages, having them be different, so can, again, kind of understanding that hierarchy, but when it comes to pagination, sometimes you get the product listing page with a bit of content at the top of the page, that kind of introductory, this is our list of this category of products and here's why you should buy from us. Here's all this kind of stuff, and having that on-page content. Do you think there's value in having that change from page to page, as you paginate?

Goodness: Yeah, I actually think it's good to have. It's not necessary, but it's good to have because yes, Google has become really good at identifying the relationship between these pagination pages. If you can, yes, having content on the first page is good. You can have a little, maybe a fact, frequently asked questions with answers, or about a particular set of the products in that category, and then you can have the subsequent pages. If you can, you can just add a page two or page three just to differentiate the pages from the root page. Yes, I think it can also help to show that the first page is the most important page with your most important content. I also mentioned before that having your best-selling product or the page are bringing in the most traffic or revenue on your first page is also great. It's a good way to implement it if that's okay for you, but I think it's good because I see some websites sorting their products based on best selling. The best-selling products are on the first page. That way even when they have deeper pages, it maybe they're not so important as the couple of first pages they have there because they're the ones bringing in the money. They don't mind having those ones in pages five, six. Yes.

Jack: I think some other sites will do that alphabetically by default. That's not necessarily the best way of doing it. I think you're totally right. Having those champion products that you really want to highlight and say, "These are the ones that sell. We know we can sell these. There's not going to be any stock issues or anything like that. We know we can sell these products consistently throughout the year. These are the ones we want to highlight." Have those on the first page. The order of your products can actually be really important when it comes to pagination, instead of just relying on a default sorting by your whatever CMS you are using, or an alphabetical thing. It's like, "Oh, all of our products beginning with A sell really well, but all the products beginning with S and T and V, yeah, they don't sell because they're on page nine."

Goodness: Yeah.

Jack: What are some other things we can think of? You mentioned on page kind of content there as well. Do you want to be changing the title of those pages as you go through as well?

Goodness: It's a lot of work to do, changing the titles because... Well, it's a dev that's going to do that job. They don't think it's important. If they don't think it's important enough to go through the stress of changing the titles of the paginated pages, they won't really want to do that. But like I said before, I don't think it's necessary to differentiate the titles completely. Since Google can understand the relationship between those pages, it knows which one comes first. It knows which one comes second. But I read an article where the person said he did an experiment and he removed a rel=next and the rel=prev from his pagination. He saw some of his paginated pages ranking. I had that issue with one website. I saw a page two rank. Honestly, I was like, "What's going on here? This is the only website I've seen happen here." Yes, it can happen, but probably because you removed Google's ability to find out the relationship between those pages. You took it away. The rel=next/rel=prev], you took it away. There's no way for Google to know that these are pages in a sequence. It was able to rank page two because it thought it was a unique page different from the paginated series. Yeah.

Jack: Was that a case where page two was actually outranking page one in that case?

Goodness: Oh, I had a friend's website that it happened to. That's why I got... Yeah, read about the article. I was trying to find a case where it happened that why did this happen? That's where I found that issue. I now noticed that even in the site map, it had the paginated pages were included in the site map.

Jack: Interesting. Again, coming back to crawlability and indexability, being able to highlight those pages in the site map. That's a great idea. Great point.

Goodness: Yeah, it shouldn't be. Yeah, exactly so.

Jack: Yeah, I think that's really interesting. In an ideal world, what does the perfect pagination for an ecommerce website look like? If you could just click your fingers and create a perfect paginated ecommerce site, what would it look like, Goodness?

Goodness: Okay. Well, in an ideal world, that will be...

Jack: Unlimited budget. All the developers are happy, everything's fine.

Goodness: Everything's fine. Okay. Well, I would say having... Well, having each page self-canonicals for each paginated pages, having content on the main page, if you can. Differentiating the titles too, if you can. Yes, and having no... Make sure that the ahref links on the paginated links can be followed. You don't want to know index time. You don't want to block their crawling in robots.txt. We don't want that. We want Google to access all the pages wherever they are. In an ideal situation, yes, no JavaScript links. We don't want Google to spend time trying to render the content on new page when you can easily assess it through href links. Yeah, I think that's what an ideal situation for me would look like.

Jack: Nice. There you go. If anybody listening out there is working on an ecommerce or you're about to build an ecommerce site, that's some very good advice to follow. Have a think about how you are paginating. I know different CMSs handle it in different ways and a few different... There's different methods of doing this, but I think if you stick to those key principles, those core principles, that will really, really benefit you in so many ways to help your product pages to rank in that way.

Goodness: Yeah. If you have a whole lot of Patinated pages and you are wondering how you're going to get links to those pages canonized, sub-categorise them. Have subcategories for some of these pages. Instead of just leaving them on a higher click depth, page 10, page 11, you can create more subcategories for them. Or you can link some of those pages on your homepage so users or Google can crawl them directly from the homepage and get access to them.

Jack: Yeah. I think subcategories is such a key part, coming back around to what you said at the very, very beginning and talking about the click depth you've got there and trying to do too many things with one page, having an ability to narrow down that search intent and say, "Okay, we know they're looking for..." I don't know, "blue clothes, but what kind of clothes they're looking for? Are they looking for hats, or socks, or t-shirts, or jumpers, or jackets, or anything?" Having a specific page that then narrows down into, "Oh, this is blue hats for men, blue hats for women, blue hats for children." Getting more and more specific really helps not only the search intent, but you're totally right about that click depth as well. You are then able to have a paginated page that has 10 products on it, and we've got 30 products in that subcategory, rather than all of the 100 blue clothes products all in one thing, and it's 10 pages of pagination.

Goodness: That's a lot. That's a lot. We don't want that.

Jack: Yeah. I think subcategories have been a key for me talking to a lot of our ecommerce clients recently and understanding, like I said, where you have enough stock and where you can justify its own standalone landing page for, okay, we have this main parent category, but here's this subcategory and how that relates to that. You are totally right. Having that crawl-ability, ensuring that links back to the parent category and the parent category links to those child categories properly is so important to understand that site structure.

Goodness: Yes. Yes. It is very important. That's like a whole other topic, creating subcategory pages and making new landing pages. Yes. There are times when people just create subcategory pages that you don't even have the products for, and there are no Keywords. You see, nobody's searching for them and you're creating subcategory pages for them. You only have two products on there to show. That's whole other topic.

Jack: Again, come around to wasted time and wasted effort and things like that, you're missing that opportunity when you're just creating things without doing the research. Maybe actually, again, like you said, this is a whole other topic, but we're touching on it a little bit, that key part of understanding, like you said, search demand, search intent. Do you actually have the stock to prove, essentially, that you are worthy of ranking? If somebody else has 15 products in a category and you've got one or two, are you really the best option for that user? Are you the best landing page for that user? You're going to give them the best customer experience? Probably not.

Goodness: Yeah, probably not because you just have two products. People want to see options before they make a choice. They want... Tell them you have a blue shirt and they want to see all the blue shirts you have so they can pick one they like. When you have only two products...

Jack: Definitely. Definitely. When it comes to Pagination, I think you mentioned click depth of three I think is a pretty good rule of thumb to live by. If you're going past that, maybe that's the time to think about splitting out that category and creating new pages.

Goodness: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Like I mentioned before, when it's more than three depths, you have like 4, 5, 6, 7, it looks like it's not an important page. Important pages should be close to the homepage. You don't want... Besides, even for users, you don't want them to keep clicking on pages just to find the specific product. You want them to easily find the products on your pages. Same thing goes for Google. You don't want it to keep crawling a whole lot of pages. You don't want that. Finding a way to bring links to those pages, it's very important for a Paginated pages so Google can easily crawl them, and then your users can also find the pages on them.

Jack: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Perfect. Well, I think that pretty much covers Pagination. Hopefully, listeners, you've learned a lot. I know I have. It's been a really interesting conversation. I really, really enjoyed having you on, Goodness. Thank you so much for joining me.

Goodness: Thank you for having me Jack.

Jack: The listeners out there, how can people find you on social media, find your website, all that kind of stuff? I'll give you a minute to basically share yourself to the world, to the SEO world.

Goodness: Well, you can find me on LinkedIn, Goodness Azubuogu. Just type it on LinkedIn, you find me. Same thing goes for Twitter. Goodness Azubuogu. Yeah, my website. Goodness Azubuogu also.

Jack: There you go. Nice and easy. As always, listeners, all the links for that will be in the show notes, so just go to and you'll find the links for Twitter, LinkedIn, and Goodness's website there as well. Nice and easy for you, hopefully.

Goodness: All right, Jack, thank you so much. Thanks for having me.

Jack: Thank you so much, Goodness. It's been an absolute pleasure.

Goodness: Oh, thank you. It was nice chatting with you.

Jack: That's the end of the show for this week. Thank you so much to Goodness Azubuogu for joining me on the show. It's an absolute pleasure to talk about ecommerce and Pagination and really dive into some of the more technical stuff. I really enjoyed having a more technical discussion this week. It was nice. Hopefully, listeners out there, as I said, if you are working on ecommerce sites and you are thinking about how to structure your Pagination and you were just communicating that with a new client, or talking to the developers, or whatever stage you're in, hopefully this has given you some inspiration from those fantastic tips from Goodness to get an idea of what you should and should not be doing on your eCommerce site. I'll be back next week, of course, with more interviews and more news and things like that. Mark and I will be back soon for another news recap kind of thing in the form of the live streams that we're working on with SISTRIX. They'll be coming up very, very soon. I know it's getting towards the end of January now by the time you're hearing this. We are working on those live streams. We'll be getting those to you very, very soon. I will announce all that kind of stuff on social media as soon as they're up and running. We will get into the swing of that. That will be actually over exclusively on SIXTRIX's YouTube channel as well. Do go and subscribe to SIXTRIX's YouTube channel ahead of time if you don't want to go and check that out. Be prepared for when Mark and I go live with our SEO news recap coming up in our collaboration with SISTRIX in the future. Until then, thank you so much for listening. Have a lovely week.