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SEO Pagination Best Practices

If you have a page that is too long to scroll all the way down, do your visitors and yourself a favor – split it into a number of pages. That’s what pagination is for. Let’s delve into the details of SEO Pagination Best Practices.

Petrit Halitaj

Head of SEO

SEO Pagination Best Practices

If you have a page that is too long to scroll all the way down, do your visitors and yourself a favor – split it into a number of pages. That’s what pagination is for. Let’s delve into the details of SEO Pagination Best Practices.

What is SEO Pagination?

SEO Pagination is a technique that distributes a website’s content over a series of pages, offering a common and widely adopted technique for websites to present lists of articles or products in a more manageable and digestible format. Instead of presenting a large wall of content on a single page, a skilled web designer strategically divides it into multiple sequential pages. 

This approach enhances the browsing experience for site visitors, facilitating easier navigation to the specific areas that appeal to them. While pagination may appear as a simple aspect on a website, implementing it accurately can be challenging.

Pagination is most frequently used by the following types of websites:

  • E- Commerce
  • News Publishers
  • Forums
  • Blogs

From eCommerce giants to smaller brands, pagination is an essential feature for both user experience and for search engines. 

Discovering effective strategies for implementing pagination on your website and investigating the impacts of pagination on SEO are essential considerations. How can you enhance the SEO performance through thoughtful pagination practices?

Why Do We Need Pagination?

There have been a lot of discussions online regarding the benefits of pagination on SEO. Ensuring proper implementation of pagination holds a great importance in SEO, as it can influence how search engines navigate and index content beyond the initial page in any given sequence.

Enhance User Experience

Visitors to a website may become quickly disoriented by a single page of dense content and look for information somewhere else. Thanks to pagination, it is possible for web designers to provide that information in small and manageable chunks, thereby delivering a better user experience. Think of an e-commerce website that lists the pricing of a product on the landing page. The customer can simply click on the image or link of a product to find out more about it. 

Better Navigation

Users can find it easier to explore a website and find the content they are interested in when pagination is used, especially when it includes useful internal links. A paginated page simplifies navigation by placing internal links at the end. 

In this way, you’re not just sending people to consecutive pages, but also guiding them to others. This has the advantage that all of the archive’s pages can be accessed with two or three clicks. This offers connections to a certain page that leads to specific, relevant pages, which in turn could benefit your SEO.

Mistakes to Avoid

Search engine bots are guided by canonical links to prioritize particular URLs during crawling. According to Google, a canonical URL is the URL of the best representative page from a group of duplicate pages. 

 

For example, if you have two URLs for the same page (such as example.com?dress=1234 and example.com/dresses/1234), Google chooses one as canonical. Usually included in the <head> element of web pages, the rel=”canonical” tag identifies the principal version among duplicate or closely related pages. 

 

Sometimes the canonical link is placed on the page it refers to, which increases the likelihood that the specific URL will be indexed. However, there’s a chance that the crawler will ignore instructions related to the priority URL if canonical links are incorrectly specified. It emphasizes how important it is to build up canonical links precisely in order to communicate with search engine crawlers and prioritize indexed information appropriately.

 

One of the primary challenges pagination poses to SEO is the risk of duplicate content. When canonical tags are not correctly implemented, paginated pages and the enticing “view all” option may inadvertently generate content duplicates. 

 

To illustrate, envision the scenario where self-referencing canonical tags are applied to both the View All option and individual paginated pages. In such instances, Google perceives each page as distinct, despite their actual status as integral components of the overarching View All page. 

 

This intricacy underscores the importance of meticulous canonical tag management to mitigate duplicate content issues. Not sure how to avoid duplicate content? Use self-referencing canonical tags. Adding canonical tags lets the search engines know which page you want to display in SERPs. Self-referencing canonical tags are a “great practice,”, even though they’re not necessary.

Putting the no index tag and the canonical URL together

Rel=canonical and the no index tag should never be combined since they provide Google with conflicting information. Noindex merely instructs the crawler not to index the page, whereas rel=canonical notifies the search engine which URL is prioritized and directs all signals to the main page. However, no index is also a more powerful signal for Google.  Use a 301 redirect if you want the URL to remain unindexed while still pointing to the canonical page.

SEO Pagination and its Best Practices

Now that you have a solid understanding of the basics and know how to avoid common mistakes, it’s time to look into pagination best practices that can significantly improve your SEO efforts.

Use Crawlable Anchor Links

To optimize search engine crawling and indexing, it’s crucial to use crawlable anchor links with concise attributes. If search engines cannot access your links, your pagination and SEO efforts will be in vain. 

 

It seems quite straightforward, but search engines can’t access links created by web developers. A link may take you to a different website, but it doesn’t mean search engine bots can or will crawl it. Make sure your site links to paginated pages with anchor links which are crawlable by adding anchor and closing tags, href attributes, and specifying a URL. 

 

The recommended HTML coding provides a clear visual representation of the desired outcome. The tag must contain relevant anchor text in order for search engines to consider the link meaningful. This is how the generated code appears:

 

<a href=“https://www.seotactica.com/blog/category/seo/”>SEO blog posts</a>

Try Avoiding The "Load More" Button

You have probably seen examples of “load more” at the end of a page. These are typically found on news or e-commerce websites. Although they can be very helpful to consumers and can improve user experience, they can also mistakenly prevent search engine crawlers from accessing any items that are not on page 1, which can lead to issues for the crawlers. 

 

The next set of articles loads once the visitor clicks that. There is an SEO risk even with this user-friendly approach. This solution frequently requires JavaScript to function. Javascript is either not used by search engine crawlers or is only used later on. This implies that internal connections pointing to more in-depth content cannot be discovered by search engines. Google won’t index the information if it isn’t connected to anywhere.

Use self-referencing canonical tags to each page

Certain SEOs share far too many questionable techniques. As an example, some of them advise making only one page in a set canonical, and it’s preferable for that page to be the view-all page. If you want your material to appear in the index, it’s safer to disregard the advice. In the end, you don’t want your paginated pages to be duplicates. Surely you want your material to appear in the search results? Therefore, the view-all page or the first page of a paginated sequence should not be used as the canonical page. Give every page a unique canonical URL instead. Similar to the examples below: 

 

<link rel=”canonical” href=”https://seotactica.com/seo”>;

 

<link rel=”canonical” href=”https://seotactica.com/seo?page=2”>;

 

<link rel=”canonical” href=”https://seotactica.com/seo?page=3”>;

Modify the Pagination Page Elements

Google’s pagination has changed, so every page can now fight for ranking from the root. It is advised to take the following actions to ensure that the search engine returns the root page in the SERP and that Google Search Console shows no duplicate titles or meta descriptions:

 

  • On pagination pages, de-optimize H1 tags. 
  • To the main page, add additional outstanding and relevant material. 
  • Update the page with picture alt tags that are optimized. 
  • Go deeper in the SEO Images post.

 

Intentionally de-optimizing pagination pages is advised by experts in order to decrease their frequency of appearance in search results and increase emphasis on the root page.

Final Thoughts

Pagination serves as a valuable tool for enhancing user experience and SEO on websites, particularly those with extensive content like eCommerce platforms, news publishers, forums, and blogs. Its role in breaking down lengthy content into manageable sections aids user navigation and positively influences search engine crawlers to index content effectively. 

 

Both large-scale eCommerce platforms and smaller blogs can benefit from the proper implementation of pagination. However, to ensure SEO success, it is crucial to avoid common mistakes such as misplacing attributes, using only one of rel=”prev” or rel=”next,” and placing the canonical URL on the root page.

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