Pagination with rel=”next” and rel=”prev”

September 16, 2011

Google

Just like rel=”canonical” tag tell Google about duplicate content, two new tags rel=”next” and rel=”prev” can now be used to indicate the relation between component URLs in a paginated series.

On the web, we find paginated series of content everywhere, an article divided into several pages, or a product category with items spread across several pages, or a forum thread divided into a sequence of URL’s.

Now, you can help Google put all these components within a series by using rel=”next” and rel=”prev” tags. Using these tags, you can either do one of the following:

  • Inform Google to consolidate indexing properties, such as links, from the component pages/URLs to the series as a whole (i.e., links should not remain dispersed between page-1.html, page-2.html, etc., but be grouped with the sequence).
  • Ask Google to send users to the most relevant page/URL—typically the first page of the series.

Although, if you have a “view-all” option, then Google will attempt to show this version in results if appropriate rather than showing a component page.

Implementing rel=”next” and rel=”prev”

Google has explained in great detail as to how to implement the tag properly. You can get more information on their blog as well. Consider the following example of an article that spans across 4 pages.

http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=1
http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=2
http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=3
http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=4

On the first page, http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=1, you’d include in the<head> section:
<link rel="next" href="http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=2/>

On the second page, http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=2:
<link rel="prev" href="http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=1" />
<link rel="next" href="http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=3" />

On the third page, http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=3:
<link rel="prev" href="http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=2" />
<link rel="next" href="http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=4" />

And on the last page, http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=4:
<link rel="prev" href="http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=3" />

What it does for SEO’s?

If you do have a lot of paginated content, it would be good to get it indexed in an organized way all together in Google to enable your readers have ease of access. I don’t see a lot of benefits arising out of it in terms of value, but surely it is a step ahead to make the information on web more organized. Besides, there is no negative effect of implementing it. Even if you implement it incorrectly, Google will then ignore the tags and continue indexing the way it does without the tags.

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