Pagination guide: effective content pagination for SEO

Pagination Guide

What is pagination?

Pagination is another term for ‘paging,’ which refers to placing links on a webpage to navigate to next or previous pages of a site’s content.

This solution is particularly popular in the context of online stores, where large categories containing hundreds of products can be properly segmented. It is also used on blogs that contain a large number of posts.

In 2020, Google revealed that for some time it has not been using the rel=prev and rel=next tags, which were the foundation of most pagination systems on websites.

Most popular way to implement pagination

First Page – only needs a reference to the next page
<link rel=”next” href=”>

Second Page – needs a reference to the first and the next page
<link rel=”next” href=”>
<link rel=”prev” href=”>

Last Page – Only needs a reference to the previous page
<link rel=”prev” href=”>

How to handle pagination now?

You should not rely solely on the rel=next and rel=prev tags for pagination. However, you shouldn’t abandon them entirely (as they certainly won’t harm the site), but rather strengthen the pagination system using the appropriate canonical links.

First SEO-Friendly Pagination Method:
The setup involves using rel=prev/next tags in conjunction with self-referencing canonical tags.

Page 1 (self-canonical) → rel=prev/next → Page 2 (self-canonical)…

In such a system, you should also ensure that, for instance, category descriptions are displayed only on the first page to avoid duplicate content.

Second SEO-Friendly Pagination Method:
The second setup involves skipping rel=prev/next and relying on canonical links pointing to a ‘View All’ page.

Page 1 → canonical→
View All Page
Page 1
Page 2
Page 2 → canonical→

Common pagination mistakes

  • Canonical links leading only to the first page – cuts off indexing paths to many pages, generating undesirable orphan pages.
  • Noindex tags on subsequent pages – these pages are no longer eligible for indexing, and the site’s authority is not passed on.
  • Nofollow links leading to subsequent pages – Google bots may ignore these pages, leading to disrupted crawling and the creation of orphan pages.
  • Pages blocked from crawling – interrupts the flow of authority, creates orphan pages, and makes it difficult for users to find content.

Incorrectly implemented pagination can have a number of negative impacts on a website. First, it can lead to indexing issues with search engines, resulting in reduced visibility in search results. Additionally, users may struggle with navigation, leading to higher bounce rates and shorter time spent on the site. Mistakes in pagination can also generate duplicate content, leading to diluted website authority and reduced credibility in the eyes of search engine algorithms. In extreme cases, improper pagination can even lead to penalties from Google for duplicate content or poor SEO practices. Therefore, it’s crucial to approach the pagination process with care and awareness of potential pitfalls.

Pagination, or content paging, is a key element for many websites, especially online stores and blogs. To make it effective and SEO-friendly, several key aspects need to be considered. Even though Google has changed its approach to rel=prev and rel=next tags, there are still proven methods for implementing pagination. It’s important to avoid typical mistakes, such as improper use of canonical links or blocking pages from indexing. Properly implemented pagination ensures a better user experience and improves visibility in search engines.

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Author: Wiktor Jacheć

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Pagination guide: effective content pagination for SEO

Learn what pagination is, why it’s so important in SEO, and how to avoid basic mistakes in its implementation. Discover the best pagination practices for maximum performance in search engines.

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