Why is pagination important for SEO and how do you implement it?

By My Little Big Web

First off, what is pagination? In digital marketing, pagination is a Web technique used to display lengthy content or a list of content, products or blog articles in several successive pages. This is achieved while making search engine robots recognize that each page is a continuation of the previous and next one.

This sequence of pages is displayed using a numbering system generally found at the bottom of the page.

The numbering is usually in this form:

Pagination SEO

Pagination is generally used to aggregate pages of blog articles, products, etc.

Pagination requires more actions from the user than if you decided to display all the content on the page. In effect, the user will have to click on each of the numbers at the bottom of the page to access the different products or blog articles. It is therefore important that your pages are easily accessible. To this end, the pagination buttons must be placed in the right location and visible on your site to help guide the visitor through the navigation.

In the case of category pages for products or blogs, your pages will contain similar content with identical title tags and meta descriptions.  This duplicated content will negatively impact the search engines’ understanding of your site and therefore your SEO.

To solve this duplication problem, My Little Big Web’s SEO specialists present four solutions that will optimize your SEO.

What are the different pagination solutions?

Each site is different and has to respond to the expectations of users who are also different. An e-commerce site with a large number of pages may not use the same pagination as a small site, for example. Here we will explain the different ways to implement pagination on your site.

View all content: “view all”

The ” view all” solution creates a single page on which all information and content is visible. In this case, you do not need pagination since everything loads on the same page.

This solution is recommended only if the pages of your site load quickly and you have few products or items to display. This method is difficult to apply to e-commerce sites with many products. The pages would be endless and therefore very time-consuming to load, which would have a negative impact on the user experience and make it difficult for the Internet user to navigate in their searches.

To compensate for the infinite scroll and the heavy loading of content (photos, fonts, videos, etc.) that is generated by each item in the list, we can use an Ajax method as well as Javascript, which will be analyzed further down.

The rel=”canonical” solution

Another less drastic solution is to display a rel=”canonical” tag on each of the pagination pages. The canonical tag was created to tell Google that URL A is similar to URL B, which is precisely the case for paginated pages. This will ensure that each of the paginated pages contains a canonical tag to the original category page.

As an example, suppose you have an e-commerce site that sells flowers. You will undoubtedly have a category page that displays the roses. Imagine that you have about 50 products containing roses and you present 10 products per page. You will therefore have your category page which could be https://mysite.com/roses/ and your pagination pages would be https://mysite.com/roses/page/2, https://mysite.com/roses/page /3/ etc.

In this case, a canonical tag must be placed on each of the pagination pages that will refer to the page https://mysite.com/flower/

Here is an example of this method where the tag must be added in the head section of all paginated pages:

<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://mysite.com/roses/” />

The rel=”next/prev” solution

If the previous solution is not applicable in your case, you can use rel= “next” and rel= “prev” tags.

 

SEO Pagination

However, John Mueller, Webmaster Trend Analyst at Google, sent out a tweet in March 2019 revealing that Google was no longer using the rel= “next” and rel= “prev” tags for its analyses.

john-mueller

Nevertheless, other search engines such as Bing, for example, continue to use these signals to explore pages with paginated content.

You can therefore continue to use this pagination solution, as long as it is properly implemented. Pagination attributes must be placed in the <head> section of your HTML pages and not in the <body> of the content.

If you want to use this method, add the following string to the first page in the head section:

<link rel=”next” href=”http://site.com/page2.html”>

On the second and following pages:

<link rel=”prev” href=”http://site.com/page1.html”><link rel=”next” href=”http://site.com/page3.html”>

And finally, on the last page, you will provide a redirect link only to the previous chain:

<link rel=”prev” href=”http://site.com/page3.html”>

GET A 30 MINUTE FREE COACHING SESSION BY COMPLETING THIS FORM !
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The infinite scroll: Ajax and Javascript

Infinite scrolling is a solution found on social media and large e-commerce sites.

This method will apply each time the user arrives at the bottom of the page, new content will be loaded and placed directly after it. You can also add a “show more” button at the bottom of the page. This reduces the loading time of the page and improves SEO.

This method is good for the user experience since the user doesn’t have to click and wait for the page to load to continue searching.

Infinite Scroll Pagination SEO

The downside of this solution is that can cause indexing problems. This is because some search engines, including Google, only index the first page, since it is the only one available without Javascript. When search engines analyze the page, the content does not load because it is dynamic, so it will not be taken into account in the search results. The other pages will be available on your site but Google will not detect any links that it can analyze. So make sure that the “load more” or “display more” button has a link that is located in the source code. If this is not possible, search robots will only see the first items or products before the “show more” button, which makes your other items or products inaccessible and makes them lose SEO visibility.

Excluding paginated pages from indexing: “noindex” / “nofollow”

You can optimize your crawl budget by instructing search engines not to follow certain links to paginations. This means that some paginated pages will not be explicitly indexed and therefore will not appear in search results.

This solution is ideal if you want to exclude pages with paginated content that have no purpose to be indexed but we do not generally recommend it. We prefer to leave it to the robots to determine which pages are important by using the canonical tags or the prev and next tags solution.

To apply this “noindex” / “nofollow” solution, you just have to integrate the following tag on the selected pages:

<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex, follow” />

In this case, the meta tag is integrated into the head section on all pages except the first one.

Conclusion

Ultimately, pagination is an advantage for both SEO and the user experience.

Good SEO pagination management makes it easier to communicate with search engine robots and analyze your site’s pages to ultimately interpret more effectively which pages are the most important to index.

For the Internet user, dividing your site into multiple pages makes your content more understandable and readable.  This process allows you to classify your products or articles. This reduces the server burden and therefore reduces the page loading time. Visitors access the different pages more quickly. A web page’s usability and comprehensibility are essential to build customer loyalty. If your competitor’s site is more user-friendly than yours, you are more likely to lose your customers’ attention.

 

We have tried to explain pagination as clearly as possible but it is a rather technical subject in SEO. If you need help with this, please do not hesitate to contact us, we will be happy to answer your questions.