Pagination | Lesson 13/34 | SEMrush Academy

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0:09 Pagination
0:21 2 Different types of scenarios for pagination
1:59 Quote from Maile Ohye
2:43 Quote from John Mueller
3:41 What not to use

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Pagination is one of the things in SEO that, if done right from a technical perspective, can have a massive positive impact on how your site performs in search results. There are two different types of scenarios for pagination. If you are an e-commerce retailer you probably have category pages and subcategory pages with lots of articles or products and this causes you to create a page 2 of the category or even a page 3 of the category. If you work with editorial content you might have very long articles, and you have to break them in the middle or at 30-40%. You have those multi page articles. There are different approaches needed.

In the e-commerce context there is no reason for you to have page 2 of the category being indexed. You want people to end up on the first page of this category as the strongest selling products are there.

Secondly, there will not be any different type of ranking target for an URL of page 2 or 3 of that same category. Back in the day you’d just have applied noindex to anything that is not page 1 and be done.

The new solution is using rel=“next” and rel=“prev” attributes. The logic of Google is, that you connect all existing pages in a chain using rel-attributes. To simply break it down, this explains to Google which page in the chain comes next or appeared before it. If the implementation was done correctly, the whole link equity would be redirected to the first page of that chain, for which the original ranking was planned anyways.

If you implement rel=“next” and rel=“prev“, keep in mind that if you search specifically for the URL of category page 2 or 3 it will eventually show up in search results. That’s a bit confusing, but there’s nothing you can do about it. Again, it’s not a directive such as noindex. It is of limited or almost no help in terms of indexation management because those URLs (page 2+) will remain in the index. It can also work well when combining directives: You could do the rel=“next” and rel=“prev chain and then apply a meta robots noindex on page 2+. However, this is something Google doesn’t recommend.

Google recently said, “if you have noindex over a long period then we will treat these URLs as if they had nofollow applied on top of it.” This breaks the concept as pages 2, 3 and 4 (and others) are necessary to pass along the link equity to your product details pages. So, if you use them for distributing the link power – this will break the entire indexation strategy.

Right now the implementation of proper pagination means just sticking with Google’s rel=“next” and rel=“prev recommendation, and not caring too much about the fact that you want to remove page2+ from the index. It opposes the general concept of keeping the index as small and precise as possible – which is sad. For very large sites, individual approaches are still needed. Regular sized sites should use rel-next/prev.

Another thing that is really wrong in terms of pagination is the use of canonical tags. Make 100% sure that the canonical tag does not point back from pages 2,3,4 to page 1. A canonical tag is supposed to point to itself, if you are on page 2 it should point to page 2. If you take the canonical tag for all the page`s URLs and point it back to URL1 – that is totally wrong and it will kill your efforts. Product pages linked from category page 2+ will not get link equity if you canonicalize everything to page 1. Make sure to re-check that.

#TechnicalSEO #TechnicalSEOcourse #PaginationSEO #SEMrushAcademy

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