Pagination is one of the most important aspects of SEO. E-Commerce websites and Blogs needs to take care of pagination. A bad way of handling pagination could cause penalty to your website by search engines. In this article I will talk all about pagination.
What Is Pagination And What Are Its SEO Problems?
Pagination is when your divide a webpage into multiple pages. Mostly Blogs and E-Commerce websites do pagination. Blogs and E-Commerce do pagination so that they can decrease the page loading time of the page and can decrease server load.
This is a simple example of pagination
Here I have written about me in three different pages and linking them using hyperlinks(next and prev anchor links). And I also have a page where complete profile is found. This complete profile page in SEO terms is called as “View All” page. “View All” page is slower due to lot of text but other three pages load fast.
But search engines don’t know anything about this. They will index these four pages differently and send users to different pages according the search. If someone reads about me in second page then the user will not know my name, this is the problem of pagination. I have to figure out a way to force all users to land on my first page or “View All” page.
Another problem is that these four pages will have different page rankings which is not what we want. There are the same and should have same ranking.
Solving Pagination Problems
Search Engines never ask you to stop using Pagination rather they want websites to guide them while crawling and indexing paginated pages.
We can see that solution completely depends on weather we are using the “View All” page or not.
Let’s see these solutions in depth.
This solution works for both situations(having view all page or not). You can leave the pagination as it is.
“View All” Page
Search engines are equipped with enough artificial intelligence that they can find “view all” page if present and show only “view all” page in the search result. They can detect the paginated content by analyzing HTML markup and duplicate content. But search engines will not pass ranking factors of paginated pages to “View All” page.
No “View All” Page
If you don’t have a “View All” page they also you can leave it as it is, search engines will try to identify pagination and show only first page in search result. First page will be shown for queries matching other paginated pages. But search engines will not pass ranking factors of paginated pages to the first page in pagination.
In either case(“view All” page is there or not) search engines will crawl and index all the paginated pages.
But doing nothing about it is always a risk because all search engines are not smart enough.
Canonical Link As A Solution
For information on how can canonical link works, read this article. Canonical link element is actually used to handle duplicate content in web pages. But having a “View All” page is also like having duplicate content and therefore we can use canonical link to force search engines to crawl and index only “View All” page and display on search result.
“View All” duplicates content of the paginated pages and so we can use canonical link element to solve the problem of pagination. But if there is no “View All” page then there is no duplicate content and so we cannot use canonical link element.
Using Canonical link element we can pass all the ranking of paginated page to “View All” page. Search engines will now only index the “View All” page and discard the paginated pages.
Next And Previous Link Elements
Use of next and previous link elements is independent of “View All” page. So you can use next and previous link elements if you have or don’t have next and previous link elements.
Next and previous link elements pass all ranking factors of paginated pages to the first paginated page. Search engines will crawl and index all pages but only show the first page. First page will be shown for queries matching other paginated pages.
Although you have a “View All” page, search engines will display the first paginated page.
Canonical Link To First Page
You must be having a question in mind, “Why cannot we use canonical link to point to first page when view all page is not present?”.
The answer is when we use canonical link, search engines will index only the target page not the source pages. Therefore queries matching source pages will never be matched in search result and so first page will not appear for queries related to other paginated pages.
The best solution is to use next and previous link elements. So that all ranking is combined into one page and users start reading from the beginning of the content. It also protects the page speed as you don’t need to have a send users to the “View All” page which is huge. You can put related questions in comments box. Thanks for reading.