Know the Best Practices of Pagination and SEO to Perform Well on Google

May 21, 2024 | Basic SEO

So, what is pagination? 

Website pagination refers to the practice of organizing pages with similar content chronologically. This collection of pages is generally directed by a series of numbers, with which users can shuffle the content and navigate to the required product or service.

Website pagination example

Paginated pages are mostly used in ecommerce websites where multiple similar products are kept in queue to offer various options to the customers. Not only for products, but ecommerce brands also facilitate pagination tags for comments, blogs, review forums, etc. 

Other than that, there are facts you need to know like: 

  1. Large content volume slows down page loading times, which can negatively affect page ranking. Here, SEO pagination comes as a solution. 
  2. Google pagination offers the best user experience to visitors with small and digestible content, avalanche of information, and alternative to tough “view all” navigation. 
  3. Paginated pages are great for mobile experience as large and lengthy content is not mobile-friendly in nature. 

A Bit of History First!

Image of history

Before learning about the meaning of pagination or SEO pagination, let’s take a short note of its history. In 2011, Google introduced two significant tags, rel=prev and rel=next, to handle pagination SEO. Initially, pagination tags indicated a page series where all pages pointed towards the same context. These tags ensure that Google does not consider the paginated series thin or duplicate content. Another important aspect of these tags was the uniform distribution of backlink value across the whole paginated series. 

On March 21st, 2019, Google announced via Twitter that its algorithm would disapprove the pagination (rel=prev and rel=next) tags. The announcement blew the minds of management and technology bodies of many multinational organizations. This is because it was taken as a primary SEO strategy by millions of digital enthusiasts, but all turned out to be null and void.  

How Pagination Affects the SEO Health of Your Website?

SEO pagination for website health

We all know that paginated pages give visual ad-on and convenience to the users. But are pagination tags beneficial on SEO grounds? Even if it is, can you use the paginated tags to uplift your website? 

Let’s find out all the benefits and risks associated with pagination tags or SEO pagination. 

Improved Loading Speed With SEO Pagination 

When you bifurcate your content into multiple pages, the page speed is certain to increase. Imagine you have an ecommerce website, and your team has stuffed all similar products on the same page. Every product with a different image size would add up to create havoc on your website’s loading speed.

How effective would the SEO pagination strategy be in this scenario? With SEO pagination, you can divide the cumulative loading speed into multiple pages, eventually sustaining good overall website health.

RankWatch SEO analyzer speed tips

Use RankWatch’s SEO analysis online, which offers speed tips for your website. You just have to adhere to and apply those recommendations in order to make your site speed better.

RankWatch site audit insights

The site auditor tool of RankWatch also tells you about the loading speed of your pages. If it is not up to par, you can take the necessary actions to accelerate it. 

Better User Experience

As we know, the biggest benefit of canonical pagination is the outstanding user experience it provides on your website. The list of numbered pages helps users navigate a large amount of content and mark the exact page that they are looking for. Further, users can analyze whether to proceed with the product or not.

Better user experience with SEO pagination

For instance, you are shopping for trekking boots, and suddenly, you find your choice on the fourth page of the paginated series. Meanwhile, you also want to explore more for better options and keep this product at the back of your mind. Here, canonical pagination comes as a savior. You can move and explore the website as per the sequel. Also, the webpage number of the chosen product is known to you. 

Scope of Internal Linking With SEO Pagination

Internal linking refers to the procedure of routing the traffic of a good-ranking page to the recently developed similar pages of the same website. When your website already has innumerable pages with the same context, the possibility of internal linking is brimming over the top. 

You just need to figure out the top-ranking pages and then plan to interlink them with the other pages of your site. When you receive authority from high-ranking pages, the holistic ranking of your website will automatically improve.

RankWatch insight on top landing pages

RankWatch’s rank-tracking feature can help you find your website’s top landing pages. Those pages can then be interlinked with recent content to route traffic to your domain.  

After learning about the benefits, let’s learn about some of the risks of pagination. 

Declined User Engagement

Another colossal takedown of website pagination is the degradation of user engagement. If the pages don’t appear in the correct order, users will get confused rather than navigate to the required product. This is another reason that many website owners don’t prefer to adopt website pagination. 

Like both sides of a coin, paginated pages have pros and cons. You need to decide how to use pagination SEO smartly.

Content Duplicity

Content duplicity is the availability of multiple content as an output of a single search result, all with the same context. The one who practices pagination must be aware of duplicate content. The biggest problems associated with content duplicity are search engine penalties, diluted link authority, and unfathomable visibility. 

Learn Some Best Practices for Productive Pagination SEO

Best practices of SEO pagination

After knowing the benefits and possible risks of pagination SEO, let’s find some best practices to get the best out of it.

Use Crisp & Clear Site URL

Clear URLs enable users and Google to navigate across the paginated series. Unique and clear URLs help Google comprehend the relationship between each page and arrange them in the right chronological order. Crisp and clear URLs also make it convenient for users to find the actual product page that they are looking for.

RankWatch SEO IQ insight on URL

You can rely on RankWatch’s on page seo checker, which gives you insights on exact keywords, broad keywords, and characters in URLs. Using this data, you can maintain a clear and unique URL across your website. 

Apply Self-Canonicalization on the Website

Implementing self-referencing canonical tags on each page would defer duplicity and add value to website pagination. This method tells the search engine that all paginated pages have their own identity and are each a version of themselves. 

Paginated Pages De-Optimization

De-optimizing the paginated pages would enable the root page to appear in users’ search results. The Google algorithm treats the paginated pages as normal pages, which means you are encouraging each page to compete against each other. So, you have to de-optimize all paginated pages and H1 tags on each section as one of the best efforts of pagination SEO. 

Refrain Fragment Identifiers in URLs

Fragment identifiers in URL

The hashes placed in between the URLs are ideally referred to as fragment identifiers. These fragment identifiers are the biggest pest to your website because they prevent the search engine from crawling and indexing your paginated pages. So, rather than fragment identifiers, you can use query parameters. Query parameters are the alternative to fragment identifiers that enable the search engine to crawl the paginated content more easily. 

Don’t Put Paginated Pages on XML Sitemaps

The biggest mistake you can make is putting paginated pages in XML sitemaps. XML sitemaps might enhance users’ experience, but they don’t play a role in SEO fulfillment and website ranking. Thus, you must command your technical team never to associate paginated pages with sitemaps. Otherwise, you will only end up wasting your crawl budget.  

Streamline Crawl Budget 

So, what is the way of making the most out of your crawl budget? Follow these easy tips: 

  1. Encourage guest posting, social media content publishing, press releases & webinars, etc. 
  2. Make a clean website with the least number of redirects. Compress images and minify CSS and JavaScript. 
  3. Resolve error 404 and other HTTP issues.

Resolve Noindexing Paginated Pages

Staying away from Noindexing paginated pages has always been counted as a good SEO pagination practice. But this can lead to dire consequences on your website. So, the best option would always be to encourage the deoptimization of paginated pages across your website.

RankWatch site audit insights

The site audit feature of RankWatch gives you insights on Noindexing pages. You can filter out the paginated tags from the list and resolve them for productive pagination SEO. 

Get Crawlable Anchor Links

Another important practice of pagination SEO is maintaining crawlable anchor texts. Three significant steps are involved in this process. 

  1. Adding anchor and closing tags
  2. Inculcate href tags 
  3. Add URL

Know Some Alternatives of Pagination 

After learning the best practices, let’s learn about some alternative options for website pagination. 

Infinite Scrolling

Infinite scrolling is the continuous and automated loading of pages when the users scroll down. This boosts user engagement as users don’t need to click or wait for content to load. However, infinite scrolling can also degrade the user experience of visitors. This is because it becomes a big challenge for users when they try to get to the end of the page in one go. 

View All

Finally, the view all option comes as an alternative to pagination tags. It gives users all options on the same page. As a result, there is no need for pagination tags or incremental loading. The “view all” button would only work when you have a decent amount of content available for users. Here, visitors get an overall view of all the products available. The only con is the slow website loading speed, which would eventually crash the optimization status and brand ranking. 

Load More

The load more option is another substitute for website pagination. Rather than offering a series of numbers that can often be complicated, load more offers a holistic and balanced experience to users. Thus, “load more” option is a significant alternative to SEO pagination. 

However, the load more option often leads to significant SEO glitches for websites. Too many “load more” options would demand a complex and deep site structure. The deeper the load option is, the more clicks there are, eventually leading to a worse user experience. 

How to Track and Measure Pagination?

Track and measure SEO pagination

After learning about the benefits, practices, and alternatives of website pagination, you must also know about the methods to track and measure it. Let’s find the best ways to calculate the impact of SEO pagination. 

To get an end-to-end and comprehensive website audit is a good way to measure Google pagination. It gives you 360-degree insights into existing website issues that include both canonical tags and duplicate content. So, tracking these website problems would help you track paginated pages to a vast extent.

RankWatch site audit tool

You can use the RankWatch site audit tool to get this done. Apart from the existing website issues, you also get site scores based on those issues. The more you keep on resolving them, the better your website score will be. 

Conclusion: SEO Pagination is Necessary for Your Website

SEO pagination for websites

Well, this is all about SEO pagination, its benefits, practices, alternatives, and methods to measure them. We have also learned the utility of the RankWatch tool for better execution of paginated pages. 

Inculcating SEO pagination would voraciously improve the user experience of your brand and placing the canonical tags at the correct place would make the search engine understand your content. As a result the possibility of getting your website rank higher on the internet becomes infinite. 

Today, businesses like Amazon and The New York Times make the best use of pagination websites or canonical pagination for reader convenience. Ecommerce websites, news portals, and shopping websites are investing millions of dollars on research over SEO pagination. As a result, they are witnessing extensive optimization and enhancement of organic search traffic. 

Hope this blog was insightful for you and has offered you all the necessary data on pagination websites. 


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