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Pagination SEO Best Practices Guide

by Andreas Voniatis Fractional SEO Consultant. Founder.

Pagination is the practice of segmenting links to content on multiple pages and it heavily affects user experience, web development and SEO. This is frequently used for listing content items belonging to site sections such as:

  • blogs,
  • blog categories,
  • ecommerce product items for a product category

The goal is to make the content discoverable without expending page authority on pagination URLs. Webmasters would try follow but noindex, until Google announced it would eventually nofollow links found on noindex’ed pages.

Best Practice

  • Use HTML5’s History API to change the URL as new pages are loaded. So when a user reaches the bottom of page two, the page two URL would switch to the page three URL when that content has loaded. The same holds true for the opposite: Scrolling up to load page two content will switch the URL back.
  • If you are going to use pagination:
    • canonicalise subsequent pages to the first page of the results
    • find other ways to interlink the content that reside at deeper levels of the site – preferably with body content anchor text links to improve semantic relevance.
  • Please note rel="prev" and rel="next" are no longer supported by Google. rel=“prev/next” HTML tag was introduced to signpost the neighbouring pages in the paginated sequence, thereby allowing search engines to display the most useful result in SERPs and to rule out potential duplication. However, as stated by John Mu on the 21st March 2019, Google doesn’t use the prev/next HTML tag and probably hasn’t done so since 2016.
  • Please also note the previous best practice of adding “noindex” to the Meta Robots tag, no longer applies as it will prevent search engines from accessing the content.
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