Avoid These Pagination Mistakes for Better SEO Results

Avoid These Pagination Mistakes for Better SEO Results


Pagination: Strategies for Better SEO Results

Pagination is a crucial aspect of website design and optimization. It refers to the division of content into separate pages, making it easier for users to navigate through long articles or browse through products. However, pagination can also present challenges for search engine optimization (SEO) if not handled correctly.

In this article, we will explore various strategies for effectively managing pagination and maximizing SEO results. We will discuss the common pitfalls to avoid, best practices to implement, and the impact of pagination on user experience. Whether you are an e-commerce website owner or a content strategist, understanding pagination is essential for driving organic traffic and improving search rankings.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction to Pagination
  2. Common Mistakes in Pagination
    • Lazy Pacman: Do Nothing Approach
    • Boggle Google: Canonicalization
    • Snakes and Ladders: Infinite Scroll and Load More
    • Connect for Fail: Blocking Crawling
    • Scrabble Folly: No Index Directive
  3. Winning Strategies
    • Checkers Gambit: Self-Canonicalization
    • Backgammon Defense: Partial Indexing
    • Chess Variation: Automated Archive Criteria
  4. Considerations for Implementing Pagination
    • Usability and Mobile Optimization
    • Number of Links and Internal Link Equity
    • Handling Old and Fresh Content
  5. Industries with Successful Pagination Implementation
  6. Conclusion

Introduction to Pagination

Pagination is the process of dividing content into a series of interconnected pages, enhancing user experience and ease of navigation. It is commonly used in websites with long articles, blog posts, e-commerce platforms, and listing pages. By dividing content into smaller chunks, users can navigate through the pages more efficiently, ensuring a seamless browsing experience.

However, implementing pagination can pose challenges for SEO. Search engines like Google may have difficulty understanding and crawling paginated pages, potentially resulting in indexation issues and poor search rankings. It is crucial to adopt effective strategies to ensure that pagination is optimized for search engine visibility and user experience.

Common Mistakes in Pagination

  1. Lazy Pacman: Do Nothing Approach

One of the most common mistakes in pagination is adopting a "do nothing" approach. This strategy involves leaving pagination unhandled, relying on search engines like Google to discover and interpret the paginated pages. While this approach may seem effortless, it places reliance on search engines to understand how to treat paginated content correctly. It is essential to provide clear guidance to search engines on how to crawl, index, and display paginated content for optimal SEO results.

  1. Boggle Google: Canonicalization

Canonicalization refers to the practice of consolidating paginated results to a root page using a canonical tag. However, canonical tags will only be honored by search engines like Google when the content is the same. This is not the case for paginated pages, as each page presents unique content. Using canonical tags on paginated pages intending to consolidate ranking signals may lead to search engines ignoring the signals entirely. This approach not only results in poor SEO performance but also wastes valuable developer resources.

  1. Snakes and Ladders: Infinite Scroll and Load More

Infinite scroll and load more are popular techniques used to improve user experience by dynamically loading content as users scroll down the page. While these techniques may enhance user engagement, they can pose challenges for search engine crawlers. Search engine bots, unlike human users, do not emulate behaviors like scrolling or clicking. Without proper implementation, infinite scroll or load more features may prevent search engines from crawling destination page links shown after scrolling or clicking. It is crucial to ensure that infinite scroll and load more features are SEO-friendly and provide equivalent paginated series for search engine discovery.

  1. Connect for Fail: Blocking Crawling

Some website owners opt to block search engine crawlers from crawling paginated URLs entirely by using a "disallow" directive in the robots.txt file. While this approach may save crawl budget, it can result in significant negative impacts on SEO. Blocking crawlers from paginated pages eliminates internal linking opportunities, preventing search engines from discovering and indexing deep-level pages. Orphaned pages lack internal link equity and hinder search ranking potential. It is essential to strike a balance between crawl budget optimization and internal link equity flow to ensure comprehensive search engine discovery.

  1. Scrabble Folly: No Index Directive

Another common mistake is using the "noindex" directive to prevent search engines from indexing paginated pages. While this directive may seem like a quick solution, applying it indiscriminately can lead to unintended consequences. Applying a long-term noindex directive to a page may eventually lead search engines to stop following links on that page, including internal links to deeper-level pages. By preventing search engines from crawling paginated pages, internal link equity may be limited, hindering the ranking potential of deeper-level pages.

Winning Strategies

  1. Checkers Gambit: Self-Canonicalization

The Checkers Gambit strategy involves making paginated series self-canonicalizing and indexable to ensure optimal SEO performance. By implementing self-referencing canonical tags on paginated pages, search engines can properly attribute link equity to deeper-level pages. This approach fosters comprehensive search engine indexation and maximizes the ranking potential of valued content. However, careful optimization of on-page elements such as page titles, meta descriptions, and headers is essential to prevent paginated pages from outranking the root page.

  1. Backgammon Defense: Partial Indexing

The Backgammon Defense strategy allows for partial indexing of paginated pages, balancing crawl budget optimization and internal link equity distribution. By selectively limiting indexing to only a certain number of paginated pages, website owners can focus crawl budget on content that requires search engine attention. This strategy is particularly useful for websites with well-designed site architectures, deep categories, and intelligent taxonomy options. However, caution must be exercised to ensure crucial content does not go unnoticed by search engines.

  1. Chess Variation: Automated Archive Criteria

The Chess Variation strategy incorporates rule-based criteria to automatically archive time-limited or outdated content from the paginated series. By removing non-relevant content from paginated series, crawl budget is optimized, index bloat is reduced, and internal link equity is focused exclusively on valuable content. This advanced strategy requires a deep understanding of content strategy and meticulous analysis of content relevance over time. Proper implementation can result in improved crawl efficiency and search engine visibility.

Considerations for Implementing Pagination

  1. Usability and Mobile Optimization

While implementing pagination, it is crucial to consider usability and mobile optimization. Paginated series should be designed to provide a seamless and intuitive user experience, allowing users to navigate through content effortlessly. It is important to strike a balance between the number of links shown, ensuring easy navigation without overwhelming the user. Mobile compatibility is essential as mobile usage continues to rise.

  1. Number of Links and Internal Link Equity

The number of links displayed on paginated pages plays a significant role in search engine crawlability and indexation. It is essential to provide sufficient and meaningful internal linking within paginated series to guide search engine crawlers. A balance must be struck to avoid excessive internal link count, which may dilute link equity and hinder SEO potential.

  1. Handling Old and Fresh Content

Regular content audits are essential to identify outdated or irrelevant content and determine appropriate actions. Old or time-limited content can be archived or redirected, ensuring optimal crawl budget allocation and improved search rankings. On the other hand, evergreen content should be prioritized for optimal SEO performance.

Industries with Successful Pagination Implementation

Pagination strategies can be effectively applied across various industries. E-commerce platforms often benefit from pagination by improving product categorization and browseability. By dividing products into pages, users can easily navigate through different products and find what they are looking for. Additionally, news websites and blogs can leverage pagination to organize articles and improve user experience.


Pagination is a critical element in website design and optimization. While it can present challenges for SEO, implementing effective strategies can drive organic traffic and enhance search rankings. By avoiding common pagination mistakes and adopting winning strategies, website owners and content strategists can optimize search engine visibility and user experience. Remember, a well-implemented pagination strategy is key to achieving SEO success.


  • Pagination is crucial for enhancing user experience and navigation.
  • Poor pagination handling can lead to SEO challenges.
  • Common mistakes include doing nothing, improper canonicalization, and using infinite scroll without precautions.
  • Winning strategies include self-canonicalization, partial indexing, and automated content archiving.
  • Usability, mobile optimization, and internal link equity are crucial factors to consider.
  • E-commerce, news, and blog industries can benefit from effective pagination implementation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How does pagination affect SEO? A: Pagination can impact SEO if not handled correctly. Poor pagination handling can lead to indexing issues, diluted link equity, and poor search rankings. However, with proper strategies, pagination can be optimized to enhance search engine visibility.

Q: Should I use infinite scroll or load more for better user experience? A: Infinite scroll and load more can provide a better user experience, but they require proper implementation to be SEO-friendly. Without careful consideration, these features may hinder search engine crawling and indexing.

Q: Does pagination affect mobile optimization? A: Yes, pagination should be optimized for mobile devices as well. Mobile compatibility and usability are crucial factors in providing a seamless user experience across different devices.

Q: Can pagination be beneficial for e-commerce websites? A: Yes, pagination is commonly used in e-commerce websites to organize products and improve browseability. By dividing products into pages, users can navigate through different categories and find desired items more easily.

Q: What are the winning strategies for pagination? A: Winning strategies include self-canonicalization, partial indexing, and automated content archiving. These strategies optimize search engine crawlability, indexation, and link equity distribution.


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