Divided content

Paginated content (i.e. content that is split across different URLs) has a number of pitfalls that you need to be aware of. In this post, you'll find advice on how to handle paginated content on your website and tips on how to use rel=next and rel=prev correctly on your pages.


What is paginated content?

Divided content is content that is divided into different URLs. For example, pagination is often used on product category pages with many products and on topic pages with many different blog posts. Common to these pages is that headings and textual content are the same, while products and blog posts differ from the view on the previous page.

Paginated content can cause two problems: first, you risk Google showing a different page than the page 1 search results, and users are not presented with the latest and most relevant content. Secondly, this leads to duplicate content (identical content on several different URLs), and Google is not happy about that.

Using rel=next and rel=prev

You can specify paginated content with rel="next"and rel="prev"tags in the section of all paginated pages. These tags tell search engines that this is a split page, and also refer to the previous and/or next page in the row. This allows search engines to understand the relationship between pages and, where possible, display page 1 in search results:

However, in March 2019, Google announced that they no longer use rel="next" and rel="prev" tags. This does not mean that you should no longer use them on your website, because even though they are not used by Google, they are still used by other search engines. Bing, for example, has said that the tags help them better understand the structure of the website.

According to Google, the fact that they no longer use rel="next" and rel="prev" tags is because they have become good enough at understanding page divisions and the order between pages just by looking at the links on the pages. In other words, as long as your paginated pages have links to the next and/or previous page, you can't do any better in Google's eyes.

Sorting and filtering instead of pagination

Pages with sorting and filtering options that allow you to sort products by price, size and colour, for example, have the same pitfalls as paginated content. Typically, sorting works by adding a number of dynamic parameters to the URL when selecting sorting options (e.g. website.dk/category?colour=black&price=low).

It's smart for users, but you risk Google indexing one of the sorted pages rather than the main page with all the content. The solution is simple: insert a canonical tag on the page with a link to the main page (i.e. the URL without dynamic parameters). That way, Google knows that this is the main page and the page you want to appear in search results.

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Mark Molgaard

Partner & Senior SEO Specialist

Se forfatter

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