Pagination on a website can take on several forms. It’s used to display items on category pages, article archives, gallery slideshows, and forum discussions, among other places. It’s not a question of whether you’ll have to deal with paginations optimisation as an SEO practitioner; it’s a question of when.
For user experience(UX), websites must split content across a set of component pages at a specific stage in their development.
We must assist search engines in crawling and comprehending the relationships between these URLs so that the most relevant page is indexed. Pagination handling SEO recommended practices have changed over time.
How Does Pagination Affect SEO?
You’ve likely heard that pagination is terrible for SEO. In most cases, however, this is due to a lack of proper pagination handling rather than the fact that pagination exists. Let’s take a look at the alleged drawbacks of pagination and how to avoid the SEO troubles it may cause.
Pagination Causes Duplicate Content
Correct if pagination has not been done properly, such as having both a “View All” page and paginated pages without a correct rel=canonical, or if a page=1 has been created in addition to your root page.
Incorrect when you have done pagination SEO friendly. Even though your H1 and meta tags are identical, the content of your website is different. As a result, there isn’t any duplication.
Pagination Creates Thin Content
Correct if you’ve split an article or photo gallery across numerous pages (to increase visitors and drive ad revenue), you’ve left too little content on each page.
Incorrect when you prioritise the user’s desire to consume your material quickly over banner ad income or artificially exaggerated pageviews. On each page, include a UX-friendly amount of content.
Pagination Dilutes Ranking Signals
Correct when internal link equity and other ranking signals, such as backlinks and social shares, are spread across pages due to pagination.
Incorrect when pagination is used solely in circumstances when a single-page content solution would result in a poor user experience, (for example, eCommerce category pages). And, on such pages, adding as many items as appropriate without causing the page to slow down to a detectable degree, reduces the number of paginated pages.
Pagination Uses Crawl Budget
Correct if you enable Google to crawl paginated pages. And there are times when you’ll want to put that money to good use. For instance, Googlebot can go through paginated URLs to get to more detailed content pages.
Incorrect when you adjust the pagination parameter handling in Google Search Console to “Do not crawl” or set a robots.txt to disallow, in the event when you want to save your crawl budget for more important pages.
Traditional SEO approaches for optimising paginated pages
Here are some of the things SEOs should think about while optimising pagination on their website in this section.
Canonicalization and indexing
Many SEOs’ first reaction is to canonicalize or noindex paginated sites. This strategy is frequently used to reduce index bloat, which has been shown to help websites with low-quality material improve their ranks. In the case of pagination, however, this strategy may (in theory) have a negative influence on ranks for deeper level pages. Especially if the link architecture of the website is not well understood.
To understand why this may have a negative influence on your rankings, it’s necessary to first grasp (briefly) how Google’s canonicalization and indexing work.
Before a page is chosen as the Google-canonical page, it goes through the same procedure as any other page that is indexed by Google, and various indications are taken into account. Any pages that aren’t marked as canonical aren’t indexed, and their content isn’t found. It is crucial to index key paginated pages. Pagination is used to assist users and bots in navigating to higher-level sites (products, articles, etc.).
When paginated pages are removed from Google’s index, all signals from those pages are lost. This would include content with internal links to sites at a higher level (product URLs, news articles, etc.). To deeper level pages, all relevancy, importance, or link authority signals would be removed. It could potentially result in orphaned pages on your website. The loss of paginated pages would influence the ability of deeper level pages to rank in Google Search over time.
Any relevant paginated pages that assist users or bots in discovering unique material should be indexed.
The navigation of a website should be straightforward and crawlable, with pages being no more than three clicks away from the home page. Pagination divides a piece of content into many pages, increasing the number of clicks from the main page. SEOs must rely on traditional website architecture best practices now that Google no longer combines paginated pages into a single piece of content.
Here, we’ll get to know about link architecture best practices that SEOs should think about when optimizing pagination in this part.
Clicks away from the home page
The number of clicks away from the home page is one of the most essential on-page SEO best practices with link architecture. The importance of click depth is due to the link authority (PageRank) that is carried from one page to the next. The PageRank algorithm is one of Google’s algorithms for determining the importance of pages in search results. It’s one of Google’s many factors for determining how highly pages rank and how often Googlebot crawls them.
PageRank computation has a dampening impact. This means that as PageRank passes from one page to another a small amount is lost.
If pagination is too deep, both paginated pages and any sites linked to from this deeper level paginated URLs will have worse PageRank than pages further up the link architecture.
Because of Google’s recent announcement and change in how it handles pagination, paginated pages must now be regarded the same as any other category or page. They should only be 3 clicks away from the home page (or as close to the root as possible).
Paginated pages will be crawled more frequently if the click depth is reduced. It will also improve the chances of sites linked from pagination ranking higher in Google Search for relevant queries. Internal linking practises must be used to help reduce clicks away from the home page, even though recognising the click depth of paginated pages and deeper level pages are vital.
Pagination and internal linking
Internal link structures of a well-optimized website should be simple and crawlable, allowing search engines and people to explore the site. Every significant page, including paginated pages, should be no more than three clicks from the main page, as previously stated.
To understand the impact of pagination on a website’s link architecture, consider the points at which category pages and product/articles pages can be accessed.
Most websites have a highly siloed structure in a basic website architectural model, with category pages accessed from the home page and product pages visited from category pages (including pagination).
Internal linking strategies, on the other hand, allow a website owner to strengthen the internal link structure of their website by linking to deeper level pages from various website access points (not just linear silo structure).
Pagination and information architecture
Breaking down your website into topics or subtopics is an excellent strategy to improve your SEO. Proper keyword research and purpose mapping to different portions of your site can improve the overall user experience while also preventing web pages from competing for the same keywords.
However, if a website’s categorization isn’t properly controlled, it can hurt your SEO results. This is especially true if categories and subcategories are paginated, resulting in “deep” silo systems. Important pages may be buried inside the website architecture, making it difficult for consumers to find them.
It is now more crucial than ever to ensure that taxonomy categories and sub-categories are broken down to facilitate website navigation when designing a search-friendly website. This will help to improve SEO performance by reducing the click depth of deeper level pages.
Within its index, Google has modified the way it handles paginated pages. It no longer combines paginated pages into a single piece of content, instead of treating each one individually. This has altered how website owners and SEO specialists should handle a collection of paginated pages. They must optimise and manage paginated URLs in the same way that they would any other page on their website, but they must keep in mind that these are critical access points to higher-level sites.
What’s more, many of the classic SEO tactics that were previously utilised to manage other pages are now relevant to pagination.