Pagination & SEO
Pagination & SEO

First, let’s understand what is pagination? In simple terms dividing content (article, forum thread or product category) into several pages is called pagination.  In some cases webmaster use pagination to reduce bounce rate and increase pages views, but in some cases it required to reduce load time for a page, like discussion forum divide a thread into several pages, e-commerce website divides list of items of a large category into several pages and news website divides a large articles into several pages.

Why Avoid Using Pagination

You should avoid using paginated content in your website as google and other search engine didn’t recommend it due for following two reasons

  • The indexing property, such as links, diluted into several component pages rather than one entity.
  • Most relevant page in the series may not be reflected in the search result.

The user also doesn’t like paginated contents because it may take a longer time to read paginated content as they need to click on “Next” (Several times) to read another part of the same article than without pagination.

If you are using pagination then don’t worry! Google and other search engines are very much capable of handling paginated contents. In this article, I will explain, how you can handle paginated content with google’s recommended way.

Type of Paginated Content

There can be two types of paginated pages 1) which have “View All-Page” link and 2) without “View all pages”. It is recommended that always provide a link to “View all pages” because it helps google to index page properties properly.

If a paginated content has “View All-Pages” link then google will put larger effort to show this page in search engine result. And indexing properties, like links, will also be consolidated from component pages to the view-all page.

Solution for Paginated Contents

One myth is associated with paginated content that content of component pages can be treated as duplicated but it’s not true, google and other search engines have methods to handle it. If your website has paginated content then use one of the followings has given a method to appear your page in the search result.

Do Nothing:  Yes! Don’t do anything and leave up to google to handle it. Pagination is not new phenomenon and Google does a good job returning the most relevant results to users, regardless of whether content is divided into multiple pages. But it may not return desired page (first page) in the search result for paginated content which doesn’t have “view all page” link.

Use rel=”canonical” to specify view all page:  Add rel=”canonical” link to component pages to tell google that you want View all pages version of the page to appear in search result. If google will find that searcher wants whole content on one page then it will show view all page version in the search result.  Example, add following code on every component page

<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.domain.com/article-view-all-page.html”/>

Use rel=”next” and rel=” prev” links: These are simple markup, understand by all search engines. These indicate the relationship between component URLs. This markup provides a strong hint to Google that you would like us to treat these pages as a logical sequence, thus consolidating their linking properties and usually sending searchers to the first page.

How to Use rel=”next” and rel=”prev”:  These HTML attributes establish relationship between individual URL’s.  These attributes provide signals to google that webmaster wants to treat pages as a logical sequence. Let’s take an example to understand the working of rel=”next” and rel=”prev” attributes. One article page is divided into four pages as given below.

http://www.domain.com/page-part1.html

http://www.domain.com/page-part2.html

http://www.domain.com/page-part3.html

http://www.domain.com/page-part4.html

Now read instructions and apply codes

For First Page: In <head> section of the first page (http://www.domain.com/page-part1.html) add rel=”next” which is pointing to next of the sequence.

<link rel=”next” href=”http://www.domain.com/page-part2.html”>

For page second: In second page of the sequence add links which are pointing to previous and next pages.

<link rel=”prev” href=”http://www.domain.com/page-part1.html”>

<link rel=”next” href=”http://www.domain.com/page-part3.html”>

For Third Page: add links which are pointing to previous and next page.

<link rel=”prev” href=”http://www.domain.com/page-part2.html”>

<link rel=”next” href=”http://www.domain.com/page-part4.html”>

For Fourth Page: at Fourth (or last) page, you just need to add a link which is point to previous page of the sequence. There is no need to add rel=”next” because this is last page of the the sequence.

<link rel=”next” href=”http://www.domain.com/page-part3.html”>

Note:

  • rel=”next” and rel=”prev” only work as strong hint for google, not absolute directive. That means, its upto google whether it follow instructions or not.
  • rel=”next” and rel=”prev” are orthogonal concepts to rel=”canonical”. You can include both declarations.
  • If there is any mistake in implementation of rel=”next” and rel=”prev” then google will continue to index paginated content but rely on its own understanding.

Conclusion

Its good practice to use one of the methods listed above for paginated content to guide google for proper indexing of your page. Pages which don’t have “View all-pages” link then also you can use anyone of first two methods listed above. In this case google will prefer first page of paginated content to show in search result.

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