Google Adds Pagination Tools to its Bag of Indexing Tricks

By | September 14, 2015

The Google Webmaster blog has posted an overview of how to use the often overlooked HTML link elements rel=”next” and rel=”prev” to let Google’s spiders know that something on your site is part of a paginated series.

What’s a “paginated series”? As the Webmaster blog writes:

Throughout the web, a paginated series of content may take many shapes—it can be an article divided into several component pages, or a product category with items spread across several pages, or a forum thread divided into a sequence of URLs.

The first example, article pagination, is generally not a good idea, particularly if you’re trying to makereader-friendly website. However, the other two use cases, for example a blog’s category archives or a long forum thread, make Google’s rel=”next” and rel=”prev” support much more useful.

If you’d like to add rel=”next” and rel=”prev” to your site it’s not hard to do. All you need to to is add the link rel tag to the <head> section of your paginated content. For example suppose your blog had paginated category archives. On page two of the archive the head tags would look something like this:

1 <link rel="prev" href="">
2 <link rel="next" href="">

If you’re using WordPress you may have noticed that it outputs a number of link rel tags, including rel=”start”, rel=”index” and others, all of which have been dropped from the HTML5 spec. WordPress also plans to drop support for its extraneous rel tags when version 3.3 arrives. However, while most link rel tags have been purged, rel=”next” and rel=”prev” remain part of HTML5.

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