What is Pagination?

Contents

  • Why should you use pagination?
  • Pagination SEO: What problem can appear
  • How to check your site to see if your pagination is set up correctly
  • 1. Deleting page pagination from the index with the help of noindex
  • 2. View all” and rel=”canonical”
  • 3. Rel=” prev”/”next.”
  • 4. AJAX and JavaScript scrolling
  • What is pagination?

    Not all websites can have their information on a single page. Pagination makes it easier for such sites to distribute their information on different pages conveniently. Imagine an eCommerce site like eBay listing all its products on a single page. Definitely, that will confuse users, and that is why pagination is very crucial in easing navigation and bettering user experience.

    Simply, pagination is an ordinal numbering of pages. It allows a sequence of pages that have similar content to be connected, and it is usually located at the top or bottom of the website pages.


    Why should you use pagination?

    We have already listed a few reasons which necessitate the use of pagination.

    Improved user experience

    If one page contains too much information, the user can get overwhelmed. Pagination helps webmasters to offer much information in tiny, manageable chunks. For example, e-commerce sites may display the product's image and price on the homepage. If a user is interested in more product information, they can click the image/price/link to learn more.

    Easier and faster navigation

    You can also define and use pagination as a call-to-action CTA. It will help make navigation simpler for the user who wants the course.

    Pagination aids navigation, whether you use a CTA or not. If the user reaches the end of the page or has seen multiple things in a specific category, it's logical to want more information. When using a numbered pagination, the user will determine how many more pages to look at. It also provides an indication of how large the data set is. A broad data set can appeal to a consumer seeking variety.

    Pagination SEO: What problem can appear

    While pagination is a good thing, if done without paying attention to user experience and search engine indexation, some problems are likely to pop up. 

    Limit search engines visit for your website

    The number of pages search engines visit when they crawl your site varies depending on the content update rate, your website trust, and so on. If you have a large number of pages with pagination, then the possibility that search engines will go through all paginated pages and index all the end pages (goods/articles) is significantly reduced. Not only that, but they will also spend more time visiting pages with pagination and not those that are significant to your site.

    Pro tip! Google no longer support rel=” prev”/”next”. So aim to have a single-page content.

    It may result in the creation of “thin” content

    Thin content is content that offers little value to users. Pagination allows for the existence of such content. For example, when you split content and spread it across multiple pages. In this case, you end up with pages with little content that is not valuable to the users. And considering that search engine bots don’t rank thin content then you may want to be careful with pagination.  

    Bonus! Pagination may also lead to spinner and scrapped content. 

    It dilutes ranking signals

    Pagination has the potential to weaken your website’s ranking signals. A good example, is with backlinks. Other sites links to you because your site is also high authority. If you use pagination, your authority is split across pages becoming diluted.

    Problem with duplicate

    When it comes to pagination, it is common to find some pages containing identical content. You are also likely to find out that you have the same meta description tags and SEO title on your site. This mainly depends on the structure of your pages with pagination. Now, if there is duplicate content on your website, it confuses search engines when determining the most relevant pages for a specific search query.

    How to check your site to see if your pagination is set up correctly

    To quickly check your pagination to see if it is setup correctly,

    You can use the 'Inspect' from a Chrome browser.

    • Right-click one of the number access the Inspect Element feature
    • CTRL F and type in “canonical”.
    • You should be able to see rel=”canonical” href=”the url of the current page”

    inspect element pagination

    Fortunately, SEO experts have come up with four ways to solve this problem. Here are the solutions:

    1. Deleting page pagination from the index with the help of noindex

    This approach allows you to remove all pages of pagination from the index, except the first page. That way, only the main page of the catalog plus all the products or pages that belong to this catalog are indexed. It can be implemented fast by including a meta tag to the head section on all pages except the first one. 

    <meta name="robots" content="noindex, follow" />

    Remember to pay keen attention to the following nuances: 

    • If you place the description text of the main page of the catalog, make sure also to place it only on the first page.
    • Always make sure the first page URL is not duplicated. For example, when the pagination is implemented like this:
      website.com/catalog?page=2
      website.com/catalog?page=3
      you should include a link to the first page, in case you are not on the first page
      website.com/catalog
      and from this page
      website.com/catalog?page=1
      301 redirects to website.com/catalog have to be configured.

    Pros

    • Very easy to implement
    • Suitable for Yandex
    • A great way to remove all pages of pagination from the index

    Cons

    • You must use the XML sitemap if there are many products otherwise products that are placed deep in the directory will be indexed for a long time.
    • Excludes paginal content from the index

    2. View all” and rel=”canonical”

    This allows you to use Google to create a separate “View All” page, where all pages/products from this catalog are displayed. On all pages of the pagination, you put rel=”canonical” on the page “View all”.

    After you have designed the “View all” page (for example, site.com/catalog/view-all.html), then on all pages of the pagination place this into the head section:

    <link rel="canonical" href="https//site.com/catalog/view-all.html" />

    When you do this, you are telling search engines that each page of pagination is a part of the “view all” page. In fact, according to Google:

    • Users tend to view the complete category on one page at once (although this point is rather controversial and depends on the situation).
    • This is the preferred method

    Note that the “View All” page loads quickly, within 1-3 seconds hence suitable for categories that has many pages with pagination, from 5- 20. However, it is not suitable for directories with hundreds of pages of pagination. 

    Pros

    • All the contents of the pagination will be situated in the index of the search page via the page “View all”
    • A priority method for Google

    Cons

    • Not ideal if there are many pages or many quality pictures for articles/ products
    • A complex implementation on most standard CMS.

    3. Rel=” prev”/”next.”

    As mentioned earlier, rel=” prev” and rel=”next” is not an indexing signal anymore. Google now treats paginated pages like other normal pages on your website in Google’s index. 

    Before we see how this method works, it is good to note that though it is a universal method for Google, its implementation is rather complicated. So, you need to be keen when applying it. 

    Now let’s see how it works:

    Assume you have four pages in the directory. Using rel=” prev”/”next”, you basically create a chain among them that starts from the first page where you add the following to the head section:

    <link rel="next" href="http://site.com/page2.html">

    For the second page, you specify both the previous page and the following:

    <link rel="prev" href="http://site.com/page1.html">
    <link rel="next" href="http://site.com/page3.html">

    When it comes to the third page, you do the same as for the second one:

    <link rel="prev" href="http://site.com/page2.html">
    <link rel="next" href="http://site.com/page4.html">

    When you get to the last page, in this case, the fourth page, only specify the previous page in the chain:

    <link rel="prev" href="http://site.com/page3.html">

    By using the rel=” prev”/”next” attributes, you allow Google to merge the page data into a single element in the index. For users, however, this will be the first page since it is the most relevant page.

    The distinction

    • Both the relative and absolute URLs can be used as values (in accordance with the valid values of the tag)
    • Make sure that the first page URL is not duplicated.
    • rel=” prev” and rel=” next” are for Google auxiliary attributes, not directives
    • If Google detects errors in your markup further page indexing and content recognition will be performed based on Google’s heuristic algorithm
    • If you expound on a reference in the document, the relative paths will be determined based on the base URL

    Pros

    • Only minor changes in HTML required
    • Allows you to solve the issue of pagination without using “View all”;

    Cons

    • Implementation can be quite complex;
    • These attributes are not recognized by Yandex;
    • Adding links in the chain of pages should be done very carefully

    Pro tip? Today Google treats pagination as normal pages 

    4. AJAX and JavaScript scrolling

    If you have visited an eCommerce site and scrolled for goods, you may have noted that products are downloaded continuously when scrolling to the bottom of the screen. While this is a good thing, there is a better alternative: that of not allowing products to be automatically downloaded when scrolling by adding a “Show more items” button under the latest products. See how the wikimart.ru does it on the final branches of the directory.

    Proper use of parameters

    Pages with pagination can contain parameters that do not change the content when you use the rel=” prev”/”next” attributes. They include:

    • Session variables;
    • Graduation;
    • Change the number of items per page.

    In this case, you will end up with duplicated content. Luckily, you can use a combination of rel=” canonical” and rel=” prev”/”next” to solve this problem.

    To implement this, you need to make sure that all paginated pages with rel=” prev”/”next” use the same parameter. Additionally, for each URL with a parameter, it is required to register its canonical page without this parameter. 

    Using filters and rel=” prev”/”next”

    To help you understand this, let’s consider an example where we use the parameters by which we can give out unique content, and it is paramount for us to maintain such filtered pages in the index. For example, we have a category with TVs, and we want to design landing pages for search deliveries with different brands, using parameters in the URL.

    Here:

    • You don’t need to use rel=” canonical” in the main category since the content is unique
    • Create for each brand their unique chains based on the attribute rel=” prev”/”next”;
    • Craft the unique and relevant title, description and text for category description for each filter 

    Conclusion

    If you have the technical ability to build the "View All" page, then use this option as Google recommends it and Yandex understands the rel="canonical "directive;

    But perhaps the best choice in most cases is to connect the attribute rel=next page / prev page "(Google understands it) and robots="noindex, follow" meta tag (website metadata both Google and Yandex understand).

    Pagination is useful to present a digestible page. You certainly do not want to see a million search results on Google. That is why Google also created pagination for their search engine results pages. 

    google serp pagination