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I've got a website that include information about 100,000 names, with 100,000 different URLs. 90% of my visitors come from Google, who search the "specific name" and reach the different pages.

The information I offer is very rich, and most of the visitors want to seek the same information about other names. And that's where the problem begins.

I was able to group the 100,000 names into 20 categories, with aprox 5,000 names within each category. So I created the following structure of my website:

Home > Categories > Names

So, from each one of the names webpages, I link to the Home and to the Category, where I show the list of 5,000 names alphabetically. Each one of the 5,000 items is just a bullet point with the name, that links to the page with the whole information.

However, as you can suspect, visitors go to the Categories (or Home > Categories) but they are unable to scroll all the way down until, e.g., "Smith". 80% of my visitors come through mobile, and it's even more difficult for them.

So 99% of my users leave the website just after visiting these long lists. My goal is that users enjoy the contents of my website, and that they click on the ads I show while visiting it.

I am considering several options to improve my website:

  • place a search engine, at the top of each category, made with 'Google CSE', that shows just results of the whole 'mydomain . com'

  • create an 'autocomplete' search engine, at the top of each category, that suggests the names each time the user types. But I'm afraid I do not have the experience to do it.

  • create subcategories within each category. But I suspect that users are not so expert to have knowledge about such subcategories, and they would get lost again. This is, users know the well-known categories of the names, bit the subcategories are for experts.

  • create a sort of phone directory for each starting letter of the names if the list, but each starting letter would have around 200-300 names, and we would have the same problem. The names starting with 'A' would count up to 500-600.

Any help is appreciated.

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  • Your goal (if I understand correctly) is for users to enjoy browsing a long list of names - that seems like something that most people don't really enjoy doing. Perhaps you can start with why users come to your site and what they're trying to do, then serve ads at the moment where you've created value for them.
    – Izquierdo
    Commented Sep 6, 2023 at 15:58
  • I agree that looking at thousands of entries is not enjoyable. So I assume your users want to find specific entries, which you plan to support by searching/filtering. When your users "come from Google", can you pick up the context (i.e., their reason to come to your site), and use it to reduce the number of entries your site shows? (Another reason to look at that number of rows would be to find patterns, but that does not seem to be your use case.) Commented Jun 6 at 9:06

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You are actually on the right track.

If names are standardized (e.g., all of them starting with the last name), then the logical approach is to categorize them by letter. It would be very unusual and unexpected to do it any other way.

However, this means that you will have pages with at least 3000 results for some letters.

This is where the autocomplete feature you mentioned comes into play, although it can still be somewhat daunting. I envision that if you search for "Smith", you'd still encounter a lot of results. So here you need to allow the user to "fine tune" teh search.

First and foremost, can you segregate the items based on other variables such as address, city, state, or profession? If you can, then the solution is rather straightforward: implement a faceted search.

Now, your users can easily search for a

John Smith who resides in San Diego, California, and owns a restaurant

(this is just an example, I'm unaware of the specifics of your app).

Regarding the landing page being merely an unordered list: I suggest incorporating some minimal data beneath each name. Additionally, displaying more than 50 names per page should be avoided. Loading 5,000 unordered items can overwhelm users, leading to a high cognitive load and potentially increasing bounce rates.

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