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SEO Pagination Issues – Best ways to address

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After all it’s normal to display the content on multiple pages with corresponding paginated URL, then why should Pagination be a major issue for SEO?

Why is Pagination Important?

Without pagination, it’s very difficult for the users to scroll a page long way down to find the content and of course, there is no better way to improve user experience.

Why is Pagination an Issue to SEO?

Search engines consider pagination as a major threat to SEO because it causes content duplication and crawling issues. At this point, it’s very difficult to compromise neither user experience nor Search Engine. So, a site with pagination should be in such a way that it is no more an issue for Search engines to crawl and index a website.

What to do?

There are many ways to handle the issues and some of them are listed below

Meta Title and Description for Paginated Pages

The meta title and description of the paginated pages mostly resemble the main page. Nobody cares to write unique title and description for a paginated page. This potentially causes content duplication issues.  This can be fixed easily by keeping the title and description of the page unique.

For Example:

Main Page Title: Auto News India | Latest Car & Bike News

Main Page Description: Up-to-date and detailed automobile news in India. Latest auto show news, bike and car news, changes and trends in the automobile industry.

Page I:

Title: Page 1 – Auto News India | Latest Car & Bike News

Description: Page 1 – Up-to-date and detailed automobile news in India. Latest auto show news, bike and car news, changes and trends in the automobile industry.

This can be followed for all the pages. Alternately, you can also remove the description for the paginated pages.

Meta Robots No Index

This is another method to avoid duplication without compromising link juice, votes and authority. You have to just include <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex, follow”> at the header of the paginated pages. This allows Search engines to just follow your pages and not index it.

View All

The pagination issues are mostly faced by ecommerce sites, publishing and review websites. Google has recently announced its preference for ‘’view all’’ pages in search results. All the component pages are given rel=canonical directive to the “view all’’ page. This improves user experience and also the best solution for pagination issues. Users always prefer having all the products in a single page rather than splitting the products to multiple pages.

Rel=Next and Rel=Previous

You can use rel=”next” and rel=”prev” html attributes, which clearly tells the search engines that these pages are related to each other and it has to consider the pages as its logical sequence. Google has clearly explained the usage of rel=”next” and rel=”prev”

Let’s say you have content paginated into the following URLs:

http://www.site.com/article-part1.html
http://www.site.com/article-part2.html
http://www.site.com/article-part3.html
http://www.site.com/article-part4.html

1.    In the <head> section of the first page (http://www.site.com/article-part1.html), add a link tag pointing to the next page in the sequence, like this:
<link rel=”next” href=”http://www.site.com/article-part2.html”>
Because this is the first URL in the sequence, there’s no need to add markup for rel=”prev”.
2.    On the second and third pages, add links pointing to the previous and next URLs in the sequence. For example, you could add the following to the second page of the sequence:
3.    <link rel=”prev” href=”http://www.site.com/article-part1.html”>
4.    <link rel=”next” href=”http://www.site.com/article-part3.html”>
5.    On the final page of the sequence (http://www.site.com/article-part4.html>), add a link pointing to the previous URL, like this:
<link rel=”prev” href=”http://www.site.com/article-part3.html”>

Because this is the final URL in the sequence, there’s no need to add a rel=”next” link.

What not to do?

rel=”canonical” tags

Including rel=”canonical” directive helps only for duplicate pages and not for paginated pages. By including this directive, you might misguide search engines that there is only one page and you won’t get the maximum link juice to that page.

No follow Attributes

Don’t include “No Follow’’ attribute to the paginated pages. This doesn’t allow the link juice, vote and authority to pass through the main page. By including “No follow” tags in paginated pages, the value of the pages is lost.

Conditional Redirect

When doing a conditional redirect, the paginated results page is 301 redirected to the main page when clicked. This is not at all recommended.

Including paginated pages to robots.txt

You should never include paginated pages to robots.txt. Doing this, you are misleading the search engine that you have only one single page and again the authority, vote and link juice passing to the main page from sub pages is lost.

Additional Resources:

You tube video on pagination and SEO

Implementing Pagination Attributes Correctly for Google by Search Engine Land

A Farewell to Pagination by SEO MOZ.