Dealing with Pagination Issues

If you have a site that manages a great amount of content, mostly ecommerce sites or news, pagination issues will come around. That leads to duplicate content issues and what not, similar pages broken up, or large pieces of content spread to several pages, there is a good way to deal with that, a few actually.


Pagination is a process by which webmasters divide large information into discrete pieces and pages on their website. In this case, webmasters deal with the problem of segmenting and sequencing content links on multiple pages. This can affect the Google crawl depth and in some cases result in duplicate content issues.

Managing duplicate contents leads to serious problems from the SEO perspective. It is expected that Google will slam duplicate content penalties on erring sites. However, Google is offering a way out with the rel=Next/Prev Options.

Are there penalties for sites with internal duplicate content issues? There may not be clear-cut penalties for duplicate content issues from Google. However, there are possible issues of performance, since Google’s search engine index cannot easily determine which page to rank. Such performance issues include the following:

1. Such sites would always notice a dip in the ranking of their best performing keywords.

2. There may be an outright delisting of such pages from good result pages, for unethical activities.

Earlier in history, webmasters have explored 5 different options to help big sites get out of pagination issues. These options include (a) meta robots nonindex, (b) rel= “canonical” tags, (c) robots.txt, (d) parameter handling tools and (e) giving pages unique titles, meat description and URL.

As a matter of fact, Google recognizes that news sites need to divide long, big articles into smaller pages, and expect them to appear in search results. Lists of items in a large product category may be divided into multiple pages by e-commerce sites and still be expected to rank high. Lastly, blogs and discussion forums may necessarily break their threads into sequential URLs, and expect such pages to rank high.

According to Google’s latest release, if you paginate your site content and want all of it to have good standings in Google search results, you can explore 3 options. These three options include the following:

1.            Do nothing. Yip, that’s one of the options you have.

2.            Specify a View All page

3.            Use the rel=”next”/rel=”prev” options.

Among these three options, the rel=”next”/rel=”prev” options is the one that gives the most concrete solution to issues of pagination. This is because it helps pages to rank high on search engines, without raising duplicate content issues.

Using the rel=”next”/rel=”prev” links will help you indicate how the different component URLs are related to each other. With these options, Google consolidates the linking properties of the component URLs and thereby directs internet searchers to the first page. Google does this because the rel=”next”/rel=”prev” markup is a strong indication that you would like Google to treat these component pages as a logical sequence. By applying these HTML attributes, Google knows what to do with your large component URLs during page ranking.

In order to explore the rel=”next”/rel=”prev” options, there are steps you need to take. For example, if you paginate your contents into 4 URLs, you can take these steps:

1.Sequence the pages by adding a link tag at the head section of the first page, pointing to the next page in sequence.

2. Identify the second and third pages, and continue the sequencing by adding links pointing sequentially to the previous and next URLs.

3. Finally, on the fourth URL, sequence the page by adding a tag link pointing to the previous URL.

There is one point you must note while building the sequence; there will be no rel=”prev” link on the first sequence because it is the first page. On the same note, there will be no rel=”next” link on last URL in the sequence. One great advantage of the rel=”next”/rel=”prev” options is that these options allow you to consolidate all your multiple pages into a single page. This way, these options help ranking calculations, and the result is a well-ranked page, despite multiple page content.

Zac is a link building specialist and a seasoned SEO professional. He manages a team of link builders and actively promotes some of Australia's biggest brands. Zac is an active blogger and also maintains Dejan SEO's news and updates section.

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