What is pagination?
Pagination is a sequence of pages that are linked and have similar content. It is important to note that even when the content of a page section is divided into separate pages, this is also defined as pagination.
Here are examples of sites where paging is used:
Crazy Coffee Crave
The example of Crazy Coffee Crave is what most websites use for their pagination. With this typical configuration, you can actually see the total number of existing pages. They currently have 23 articles on their website, and 10 articles per page.
Unlike the previous example where numbering indicates pagination, YouTube does not use numbering. This does not mean, however, that they do not use pagination on their site. Each of the buttons represents a completely separate page that helps the user review their free YouTube course. They have a previous “Optimize YouTube” button, a main “Home” button and the next chapter “Channel Keyword”.
Oscar Hunt’s example shows the “Load more” button instead of the typical 1,2,3 >> button. When buying shoes, viewing the entire shoe inventory on one page may be a better option than browsing multiple pages to find the right product.
SlideShare also uses letters and numbers in its pagination. Since SlideShare is a large, grouped site, the best way to help users navigate their site is to provide pagination alphabetically or by numbers. Pagination makes it easier for the user to choose which page to display. If they can’t find what they’re looking for on the home page, they know they can choose from a wide selection (over 35 pages).
Search engines such as Google are also a good example of the use of paging. This makes it easier for users to find what they are looking for on other pages if they cannot find it on page 1.
Why use pagination on a website?
We have already mentioned some reasons that require the use of paging, for example, when a large amount of data cannot reasonably be presented on a single page. Here are other reasons why paging is practical:
Better user experience
If too much information is published on one page, the user may be overwhelmed. Pagination allows webmasters to present a large amount of information in small, manageable pieces. E-commerce sites will display the product image and price on the home page, for example. If a user wants more details on the product, they can click on the image / price / link with a call to action to find out more. Pagination also makes it easier to find information.
In our previous YouTube example, their pagination is a CTA. This can help make navigation easier for the user who wants to take the course. Pagination helps with navigation even when CTAs are not in use. Once the user reaches the end of the page or has seen multiple items in a particular category, it is intuitive that they will want to see more results. When numbering is used, the user is able to decide how many additional pages he is willing to consult. It also gives them an idea of the number of pages and the information / products / services available. A large dataset can be attractive to a variety-seeking user. Note that best practice is to always use CTAs.
What is the impact of web paging on SEO?
Pagination undoubtedly creates good user experiences. But does this have a positive or negative impact on SEO?
The effects of crawling your site with search engine robots
For sites with many pages, crawlers need to determine what content they should crawl on the site, how often they should crawl the site, and the resources that the site server can allocate to the crawling process. Next comes the concept of budget crawl. When your site contains large amounts of data, robots should use their budget crawl wisely. They must choose what content to analyze and how often. This means it is likely that some of your content will not be crawled or indexed. It is also likely that the analysis budget will be spent on the pages to which the pagination points, and other significant pages may never be crawled or indexed. What does that mean ? After implementing pagination on your site, you need to prioritize the most important pages on your home page or on the page where pagination begins. An example here would be a search engine like Google. The most relevant search results are found on the first page. This way, your analytics budget will be spent on your best content. Once users are on your site, they can interact with other pages structured by your pagination.
This can result in the creation of “poor” content
In some cases, paging can lead to the creation of “poor” content. This is when the content offers little value to the user. Poor content can also result from a page with little content, as well as scrambled content. If you split the content types into a single article spread across multiple pages, you may end up with pages with little content. Search engine robots will simply not rank poor content. They want content that is valuable to the user and that meets the user’s intention.
This may result in the creation of duplicate content
If you have an e-commerce site, for example, it is possible that all of your product pages have the same structure and content, except for details specific to a particular product. In the example above, Oscar Hunt, all of the items shown in the image belong to a product category. They have similar descriptions apart from their color and pattern. They are also likely to have similarities in their on-page SEO, for example, meta descriptions, h1 tags, anchor text, CTAs and page titles. Robots may not be able to “say” that pages with similar content actually represent different products. They can choose to crawl certain pages and ignore some of them. In the worst case, they can report duplicate content to your site.
It dilutes the classification signals
Pagination can weaken a site’s ranking signals. Backlinks are a good example. When sites with high site authority are linked to your site, it means that your site also has high authority. These sites will transfer their authority to your site. However, if your site uses pagination, this authority will be divided into several pages and will become “diluted” accordingly.
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How to correctly implement pagination?
Google recently announced that it has not used rel = “next” and rel = “prev” for years and will no longer support it. This is one of the most common tags used to notify search engine robots that certain pages are paginated. Although this provoked different reactions between the referencers, he also stressed the need to correctly implement pagination. To ensure that your site correctly implements paging, it is important to test its current implementation. That way you will know what specifically needs to be fixed.
Test your site for the current implementation of pagination
There are different types of tools in your paging test arsenal: “Inspect Element” to check the similarity of your paginated pages. Right-click to access the inspection item. CTRL F and type “canonical”. You should be able to see rel = “canonical” href = “the url of the current page”.
Tools to test if paginated pages are indexed
The indexing status report for your pages will be useful for telling you which paginated pages are indexed.
Tools to check paginated pages that compete for the same keywords
It is important that robots can understand paginated pages linked to particular keywords. In this way, they are able to say that these pages are linked. Pi Datametrics is a great tool for this. After obtaining data on how your site currently implements paging, you are now ready to resolve the identified issues. Before we see how to properly implement paging on your site, we need to take a break and look at the effects of Google ads. If Google still supports rel = “prev / next”, the issues identified on paging and SEO could be easily resolved using noindex, meta tags, canonical tags and proper implementation of the on-page referencing. By stopping the use of rel = “next / prev” Google means that each paginated page is now considered a standalone page by Google. Google is able to identify linked pages, even when directives such as noindex and the canonical tag are not used. If you have already used pagination on your site, there is no need to remove it. E-commerce or news sites have no choice but to continue using pagination. Here’s how to properly implement pagination on your site:
The content of your paginated pages is unique and relevant
Google robots retrieve content from different pages and then choose the one that is canonical. Therefore, you need to make sure that your paginated pages have unique content and that it is relevant to your users. If a user wishes to purchase a particular product, the paginated product page must describe that product in detail in order to distinguish it from other paginated product pages. This means that even if the products can belong to the same category, their individual description on each page must be different.
Intelligent use of keywords
Sites will now have to use keywords in the anchor text that link to higher level pages. In our Oscar Hunt example, the paginated page could use a keyword such as Oxford in the anchor text to indicate to Google that the page is linked to the page with the highest link structure, “Shoes”: https: //www.oscarhunt.com.au/accessories/shoes/view/oxford-toe-cap-black1. It’s best to use variations of the same keyword to avoid cannibalizing them. This is where paginated pages compete for the same keyword. You will not be doing your site a favor because some pages will be ranked lower, which will reduce your site’s ranking in search engine results.
Organize your articles according to priority
The elements of your paginated pages must be classified according to their priority. In this way, users will easily find the most popular content. The paginated pages containing the most relevant content represent only a few links of the landing page. You will need a better link structure. The use of a breadweed can also be helpful.
Use URL parameters for paginated pages
URL parameters are used when the same content is displayed on different URLs to help search engines understand how they need to crawl your site. Here is an example of the Oscar Hunt Shoe category links: https://www.oscarhunt.com.au/accessories
https://www.oscarhunt.com.au/accessories/shoes/oxford-toe-cap-black1 The first URL is the accessories page where they list all the accessories sold on their website: The shoes page: And finally, the product page: Google can tell that these two separate pages are linked because each uses a URL parameter.
Use of rel = canonical tags
The use of “old” paging techniques is completely inevitable, as “old” approaches remain important, especially with regard to internal links. Internal links will make it easier for robots to find paginated pages. Therefore, you should use anchor text to link to paginated pages. In addition, you must use the canonical link. To use it effectively, you need to create a “See All” page. This is a page that displays all of the products or pages, with all of the products in a particular category, or even all of the products on the site, depending on the structure and size of the site. You must then place the canonical tag on all the pages to which the pagination landing page is redirected. Note that the URL of the canonical tag must be that of “See all”. Here is what you should add to the header of each page with the pagination: Replace the URLs with the URLs of your site. The canonical tag will help the robots to realize that all the other pages with pagination are part of the “See all” page. So there is no duplicate content. It is imperative that the “See all” page loads quickly. Ideally, depending on the number of products you have, you want to divide them into categories if you have multiple products. A good example is the example of eBay where the “See all” page displays only the deals of the day: Make sure that all the links you add to your pagination pages are crawled by robots.
Take charge of your link structure
We mentioned that paging dilutes ranking signals, for example with backlinks, when links cannot send “juice” to all links in the same way. One way to fix this is to make sure your link structure isn’t too deep. You should reduce the number of links from the pagination landing page to specific paginated pages. When you have a “shallow” link depth, you can pass the juice of the link to paginated pages, which gives them the option of classifying themselves as standalone pages.
There are sites that allow filters to display more relevant options for the user. This concept is called faceted navigation. These filters create new and unique URLs based on the parameters used to filter. This means that it is possible to create an infinite number of parsable and indexable URLs, which would cause a significant duplicate content issue. One of the ways to correct faceted navigation is to use AJAX. It prevents the creation of new URLs based on the filters chosen by the user. You can also determine parameters with no SEO value and prevent their exploration and indexing.
Pagination comes in handy when you want to display a large data set in smaller pieces. However, you have to be careful about how you implement it, in order to respond effectively to your users and search engines.
If the subject of pagination interests you, I strongly invite you to browse these articles: