When Google announced that they no longer supported
rel="prev", it caused a lot of turmoil in the SEO industry about what we should do with pagination SEO.
How to implement proper pagination for SEO?
This post is an overview of the best strategies backed by data.
What is Pagination?
Pagination is a way to divide your content into blocks and make it accessible through links using an index of pages.
Strategy #1 : Mid Point Link Pagination
This is not my favorite strategy because it doesn’t seem to make sense for the user. However, Matthew Henry has made a fantastic pagination experiment worth reading.
It goes like this: add links to midpoints in your pagination.
Even if it might be ok for the robot, it doesn’t make any sense to bring users deeper down the funnel.
You want the user to convert on the first page. Thus, your page rank AND your navigation should be oriented towards the content on the first page.
Strategy #2 : Infinite Scroll
This one needs no introduction as it dominates today’s most-used apps like Facebook and Reddit. It is called the infinite scroll.
Funny fact, we scroll down on average three stories high on our devices each day.
It proves that the user loves it!
However, social media are not bound to Google as much as we are since most of the shared content isn’t even indexed.
The rest of us need to implement pagination properly.
If you want to add infinite scroll to your website, just know that without pagination, Google will not crawl all of your content since it will not execute AJAX.
John Mueller has made a simple, but very useful example of how to implement the infinite scroll properly on your website.
There is also a fantastic blog post by Adam Gent to let you learn how to manage pagination.
Strategy #3: The Ghostblock
The Ghostblock is my own favorite, and it is not only because it has a cool name.
Audisto made a fantastic case study on pagination and this is what they recommend: The Ghostblock.
The Gostblock is a pagination strategy that distributes pagerank and chirank to first pages and the most important page hubs.
The strategy is to make the first line visible and accessible to the user, while the other line is grayed out and clearly meant for the search engine.
The second block uses this formula:
(current page * 10) + 1
We are done here.
If you want to learn more about site architecture, just read Richard Baxter‘s highly relevant post on the subject.
Takeaway. Pagination SEO is hard and needs to be tested over and over. Please share your tests with me if you have discovered anything useful lately.