As you know, Google told us they just realized that rel=next and rel=prev is no longer supported for the past year or so. Yea, I know. So now what? How do you ensure Google can find your paginated content? How do you communicate to Google a series of pages is part of a set? Mihai Aperghis asked Google’s John Mueller a series of hard questions this morning in the webmaster hangout addressing this.
The questions and answers begin at the 14:35 mark into the video. I’ll post the transcript and embed below. But to make it quick, since it is like 10 minutes of video time, I’ll post bullet points of take aways from the Q&A:
- Just keep doing what you are doing with pagination.
- If you haven’t had issues up until now, then whatever you were doing has been working.
- Google hasn’t supported them in years
- Google just realized they haven’t supported them in years.
- Google immediately wanted to let the community know they found this out.
- This way Google won’t tell people to do things that are “kind of unnecessary.” I believe John here is referring to it being unnecessary for communicating to Google about combing pages into a set.
- Nothing you need to change.
- It’s definitely not the case that you need to remove all pagination
- Same, not the case that you need to and make one giant page.
- But you need to make sure the pagination pages can kind of stand on their own.
- Use third party tools to see if there are crawling issues to get to deep product pages.
Here is the video embed at the start time:
Here is the transcript:
QUESTION: Since we’re talking about indexing regarding your, well Google’s message about rel next rel prev being retired. There was a lot of talk about how Google mentioned that the use case of using it for articles in multiple parts, which is not always the case that rel next rel prev might be used in that scenario it at least from my experience it’s mostly used especially in e-commerce websites with categories with pagination. What would be if rel next rel prev gets retired what would be the next best thing to do with the pagination pages categories and things like that?
ANSWER: I would just do them normally, as you’re doing them now. So that’s I think kind of the thing that that we wanted to bring across and I think we we didn’t bring it across that smoothly. But essentially this, it’s been the case for quite some time now that we don’t use the rel next’ and rel previous that’s something we just recently realized when reviewing things with the team. And essentially for the most part I have rarely seen any SEO as kind of run into problems with pagination. So if if the pagination is working for you now, then you’re doing it right. Like there’s nothing that you need to change there. It’s definitely not the case that you need to remove all pagination and make one giant page. Essentially you you paginate the way that it makes sense. You link between the paginating versions and that you have the next and forward backlinks, some people have jump links that they say like from like five pages further or ten pages further. That kind of depends on how much content you need for pagination.
In general I’d also recommend making sure the pagination pages can kind of stand on their own. So similar to two category pages where if users were to go to those pages directly there would be something useful for the user to see there. So it’s not just like a list of text items that go from zero to 100 and links to different products. It’s actually something useful kind of like a category page where someone is looking for a specific type of a product they can go there and they get that information.
So that’s something where from from my point of view people are doing it right. I don’t see a lot of problems with regards to the way that they’re doing it. So we just wanted to make sure that everyone was was aware that we were not using that anymore. And like I said I think we could have brought that across a little bit smoother. But we did want to get it out as pretty much as soon as we we realized that we were telling people things that are kind of unnecessary to do.
QUESTION: So do you require anything else to kind of so webmasters can point you in the direction that this is a set like a pages like a pagination series, maybe a page parameter or something like that do you use certain things to kind of gauge whether this is a part of a set of pages, of the same category let’s say?
ANSWER: Not so much. I mean we use the the internal links. Which for the most part that pretty much makes it clear.
The other thing maybe to mention with regards to rel next and rel previous is it’s something that not just Google uses. So just because we don’t use it doesn’t mean like you should go off and like rip it out because it will cause problems it definitely won’t cause problems for Google. Some browsers use it for example for prefetching, other search engines might use it you might use it, for for other purposes. It’s part of the HTML spec so it’s not like something that would break anything. So it’s not that you need to go off and like tear it out and it’ll cause problems otherwise you can leave it in there and you can continue to use it it’s just we don’t use it for indexing.
QUESTION: Okay I’m just asking because a lot of I’m assuming a lot of e-commerce sites would be worried that if you’re not using anything to identify this kind of pagination series of people might get anxious since all paginate its pages have the same title usually, or something like that that’s wouldn’t be a problem? Should they start using the no index maybe on on you know page two and three and so on things like that.
ANSWER: That’s kind of up to them I I think using no index sometimes makes sense. It sometimes makes sense to kind of filter out the filters and the sorting parameters otherwise. You can use the URL parameter handling tool in search console to tell us more about how how you want these pages to be crawled.
I think especially with regards to e-commerce what I would recommend doing is trying things out with the local crawler. So tools like Screaming Frog, like Deep Crawl. I don’t know how they’re all called. But there are a lot of really good tools that will crawl your website and tell you like can you find all of the product pages. And that’s kind of the important part for us especially for e-commerce sites that we can go to these listing pages and somehow discover all of the individual product pages. And you can help with that by having related products linked, by linking individual products and different categories for example, all that helps. But if we for example need to go down to page 25 of a linked list in order to find those products that’s going to be really tricky for us. So that’s something sure I think especially in in the recent couple of years there’s some really awesome tools out there. Where it definitely makes sense to test your website especially if you have an e-commerce site and you’re worried about the pagination and the filtering like is Googlebot getting lost in a sea of endless URLs or is Googlebot able to find it.
More from Google on this:
As we evaluated our indexing signals, we decided to retire rel=prev/next.
Studies show that users love single-page content, aim for that when possible, but multi-part is also fine for Google Search. Know and do what’s best for *your* users! #springiscoming pic.twitter.com/hCODPoKgKp
— Google Webmasters (@googlewmc) March 21, 2019
— Gary “鯨理” Illyes (@methode) March 21, 2019
For the most part, we just index the pages as we find them, so as we’ve recommended for a long time, it’s good to make sure that all pages can stand on their own.
— ? John ? (@JohnMu) March 21, 2019
Since it hasn’t been used for a while, it seems like most sites are doing pagination in reasonable ways that work regardsless of these links. People make good sites, for a large part :).
— ? John ? (@JohnMu) March 21, 2019
Parameter management is fine — we use that for crawling primarily.
— ? John ? (@JohnMu) March 21, 2019
Forum discussion at Twitter.