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← Pagination and SEO

Google's Maile Ohye examines the issues webmasters face with paginated content: paginated articles, product category listings, etc. She then explains the options available to those webmasters concerned about SEO, including rel="next" and rel="prev" HTML markup.

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Showing Revision 1 created 08/16/2012 by Amara Bot.

  1. MAILE OHYE: Hi.
  2. I'm Maile Ohye.
  3. I've been at Google now for over
    six years, working with
  4. Search and with Webmaster
    Tools.
  5. I'd like to welcome
    you to my home.
  6. Let's chat about pagination
    and SEO.
  7. For today's agenda, we'll
    first start with some
  8. paginated content examples.
  9. Then we'll get into some of the
    negative side effects of
  10. pagination and why you as a
    webmaster might want to make
  11. some effort as to not dilute
    your indexing properties and
  12. to show better results
    to users.
  13. Then we'll cover your
    configuration.
  14. And this comes in two parts--
  15. for those of you webmasters with
    paginated content and a
  16. view-all page available, and
    then for those of you
  17. webmasters that have paginated
    content but
  18. without a view-all page.
  19. So there's going to be two types
    of configurations there.
  20. Then we're going to step back
    a little bit and talk about
  21. what Google is doing to help
    users with paginated content
  22. and webmasters as well.
  23. And then last, given your
    configuration, whether you
  24. have a view-all page available
    or you have no view-all page
  25. available, we'll look at the
    options that you have for your
  26. paginated content.
  27. So let's go ahead and
    start with some
  28. paginated content examples.
  29. Paginated content exists
    throughout the web, and I'm
  30. going to cover two of
    those common cases.
  31. One is a paginated article.
  32. So let's say you go to your
    favorite content site, and you
  33. see the breaking news story.
  34. "New studies prove that cookies
    are superior nutrition
  35. to vegetables." And that would
    be quite the story.
  36. But your favorite site might not
    put this all on one page,
  37. but instead, paginate it into
    several component pages.
  38. Now this one article has become
    three, and this is an
  39. example of paginated
    content articles.
  40. Another example of pagination
    is for things like a product
  41. category, like what you would
    see on your favorite
  42. e-commerce site.
  43. So let's say this webmaster
    is selling shapes.
  44. They're selling six
    types of shapes.
  45. But rather than have it all on
    one page, they have divided it
  46. into two component pages, both
    of them with shapes, creating
  47. pagination again.
  48. So two common ways are with
    paginated content articles and
  49. with paginated product
    categories.
  50. Now, what are some of the
    negative side effects of this?
  51. Well, there's a couple.
  52. So I'd like to highlight two,
    the first being that indexing
  53. properties, like links and
    anchor text, can be diluted
  54. into the different component
    URLs rather than being
  55. consolidated to the
    one article or to
  56. the one product category.
  57. So that's one of the negative
    side effects.
  58. The other is that the most
    relevant page in the series
  59. might not be reflected
    in search results.
  60. So if you're the webmaster for
    this e-commerce site, you
  61. might want users to be sent to
    page one, say, of your series.
  62. But because search engines see
    this pagination as three
  63. separate entities, searchers
    might be sent to a different
  64. page that might not be
    the most relevant.
  65. So those are a few of the
    negative side effects of
  66. pagination.
  67. Now let's talk more about
    your situation and the
  68. configuration you have
    on your site.
  69. We're going to look at this in
    terms of two different types
  70. configurations.
  71. One is with a view-all page
    available, and the other is
  72. with no view-all
    page available.
  73. Now, if your site has paginated
    content with a
  74. view-all page available, there
    are a couple of things you
  75. want to make sure
    you test for.
  76. One is make sure that you have
    still decent latency on your
  77. site meaning that, if a user
    clicks on the view-all
  78. version, that it doesn't take
    them 15 seconds to load
  79. because it's such a
    long article, or
  80. it's so many products.
  81. But that they still have
    a good experience--
  82. say, the page only takes
    four seconds to load.
  83. The second thing to check for
    if you have a view-all page
  84. available is to make sure that
    the page remains easily
  85. navigable, meaning that users
    can still find the content
  86. that they want or the particular
    product that they
  87. want by easily scrolling
    or viewing headings.
  88. So that's the configuration of
    a view-all page available.
  89. And then obviously, without a
    view-all page available, it's
  90. fairly straightforward.
  91. So think about your site in
    terms of configuration you
  92. have. But before we go there,
    let's take a step back and
  93. talk a little bit about
    what Google is doing.
  94. We're, of course, always
    working to improve the
  95. experience for searchers.
  96. And one thing that we found
    through testing is that our
  97. searchers prefer seeing the
    view-all page in their search
  98. results opposed to an individual
    component page.
  99. And one reason for this might
    be because of latency.
  100. So if you take search results
    and you click on a result to a
  101. view-all page, while that might
    take, say, three seconds
  102. to load that article that new
    studies prove that cookies are
  103. superior nutrition to
    vegetables, that might be
  104. three seconds.
  105. But on the other hand, searchers
    were less happy when
  106. search results took them to just
    page one of the article.
  107. While that might have just had
    two seconds of latency and
  108. then the page loaded, every time
    that user wanted to click
  109. Next to read more of the
    article, it caused some
  110. additional load time.
  111. So because of this latency and
    other reasons, searches prefer
  112. the view-all page.
  113. So given this knowledge, one of
    our engineers on indexing,
  114. Benjia Li, actually came
    out with a new feature
  115. in October of 2011.
  116. This is--
  117. "When we detect that a paginated
    series also contains
  118. a view-all version, we're now
    making a larger effort to
  119. return the view-all page
    in search results when
  120. appropriate." So that's
    great for searchers.
  121. And what's even better for
    webmasters is that while we
  122. detect this view-all page, we'll
    also still consolidate
  123. indexing properties, like links,
    to the view-all page.
  124. So again, this is good for
    searchers and good for you as
  125. webmasters for all that indexing
    consolidation.
  126. Now, let's talk about some of
    the options that you have as a
  127. webmaster with paginated
    content.
  128. We're first going to look at the
    situation where webmasters
  129. have paginated the content and
    a view-all page available.
  130. But for those of you that have
    no view-all page available,
  131. it's still good if you pay
    attention because some of
  132. these options will apply
    to you as well.
  133. So you have a site with
    paginated content and a
  134. view-all page, you have
    three good options.
  135. First, you can leave as is.
  136. There's nothing that you have
    to do if you have other
  137. priorities on your site.
  138. Paginated content exists
    throughout the web, and search
  139. engines will continue
    to do an even better
  140. job of handling it.
  141. And as I mentioned earlier, if
    you have a view-all page
  142. available, Google will
    automatically try to detect
  143. that, send searchers there, as
    well as consolidate your
  144. indexing properties.
  145. So option one is a very
    solid option.
  146. But you also have
    a second option.
  147. The second option is to actually
    use rel="canonical"
  148. to explicitly hint to Google
    what is your view-all page.
  149. So while we try to detect it
    algorithmically, you can also
  150. tell us by writing
    rel="canonical" on your
  151. component pages to your
    view-all version.
  152. And this is kind of a more
    explicit hint to us about how
  153. your site is configured.
  154. With the rel="canonical," as
    many of you already know,
  155. we'll of course consolidate the
    indexing properties from
  156. the component pages with
    the canonical version.
  157. So things like links will
    also be transferred.
  158. And then, of course,
    we'll send users to
  159. the view-all page.
  160. So that's option number two.
  161. The last option is actually done
    by two of our engineers,
  162. Joachim and Benjia.
  163. And what this is is using the
    standard HTML markup of
  164. rel="next" and rel="prev" on
    the component pages in your
  165. series to signal to Google
    that these are individual
  166. pages, but they all belong
    to one series.
  167. So by adding this rel="next"
    and rel="prev" markup, you
  168. connect these individual
    components into one.
  169. You can do this by adding
    rel="next" to page one and
  170. then rel="prev" and rel="next"
    to page two, all the way to
  171. the last page, which only
    includes a rel="prev".
  172. And then, of course,
    on your view-all
  173. page, nothing is needed.
  174. rel="next" and rel="prev" is
    standard HTML markup, and it's
  175. been around for years.
  176. But now, Google is using this
    markup for webmasters to let
  177. us know about their
    paginated content.
  178. So let me explain some
    ways that rel="next"
  179. and rel="prev" work.
  180. With rel="next" and rel="prev,"
    much like you see
  181. with something like
    rel="canonical," we'll
  182. actually consolidate indexing
    properties from the component
  183. pages of the series.
  184. And in addition, unlike
    rel="canonical" that only
  185. shows the view-all page in
    search results, with
  186. rel="next" and rel="prev," we're
    going to override that
  187. behavior and send users
    to only one of
  188. the component pages.
  189. Most likely, this will be page
    one, because commonly that's
  190. the most relevant page.
  191. So now if you have, say, that
    product category, selling
  192. shapes, if you use the
    rel="next" and rel="prev"
  193. markup, it'll tell us
    that these two pages
  194. belong to one series.
  195. And then most commonly, we'll
    send users to page one.
  196. Know that rel="next" and
    rel="prev" is a strong hint.
  197. It's not a mandate
    by any means.
  198. The last thing I want to say
    about rel="next" and
  199. rel="prev" is that component
    URLs in a series should be
  200. consistent with their
    parameters.
  201. So let's take the article of new
    studies prove that cookies
  202. are superior nutrition
    to vegetables.
  203. Now, let's say that these pages
    contain a session ID.
  204. All of these values for
    rel="prev" and rel="next"
  205. should also contain
    the session ID.
  206. And this is because our
    indexing team looks to
  207. actually link every page in a
    series with what was declared
  208. previous and what was
    declared next.
  209. And when they do that, they want
    to make sure-- say you're
  210. on page two--
  211. that the rel="prev" that
    states rel="prev" is
  212. page-1&sid=123, they will
    go to that URL.
  213. But that URL actually
    has to list page two
  214. with the same sid.
  215. And that's how we can link every
    page in the sequence.
  216. So be sure to keep parameters
    throughout your entire series.
  217. So let's recap those
    three options.
  218. If you have a view-all
    page available, you
  219. can leave as is.
  220. You could also explicitly state
    rel="canonical" to your
  221. view-all page.
  222. Or you can override the view-all
    page behavior by
  223. adding rel="next" and
    rel="prev." By adding
  224. rel="next" and rel="prev," you
    will help us consolidate
  225. component pages in a series.
  226. But instead of sending users to
    a view-all page, we'll then
  227. send searchers to one component
    page., most likely
  228. page one of your series.
  229. Now, let's talk about the
    configuration with no view-all
  230. page available.
  231. So for those of you webmasters
    that have paginated content
  232. and no view-all page, you
    have two options.
  233. First, of course, you
    can leave as is.
  234. That's perfectly fine.
  235. And then your second option is
    also to use rel="next" and
  236. rel="prev." Again, by using
    rel="next" and rel="prev," it
  237. connects the component pages
    in the series, and
  238. consolidates indexing
    properties, and helps us to
  239. send searchers to the most
    relevant page, which is likely
  240. the first page of the series.
  241. Now I'm going to beat you to the
    punch and ask one of the
  242. most commonly asked questions
    about rel="canonical" as well
  243. as rel="next," "prev." And that
    is why rel="next" and
  244. rel="prev" for a paginated
    series rather than
  245. rel="canonical" to page one?
  246. Ha!
  247. I bet you were thinking that.
  248. The answer is that
    rel="canonical" is for
  249. duplicate content.
  250. So let's take that article.
  251. Let's say page two of
    the article, cookies
  252. are superior nutrition.
  253. If this page actually has a
    session ID attached, then it
  254. can list as the canonical the
    same version, the duplicate
  255. conversion, but without
    a session ID Because
  256. rel="canonical" is for duplicate
    content, or it's for
  257. content which is a superset.
  258. So here we have page one, page
    two, and page three, all
  259. linking to the canonical
    version being
  260. the view-all version.
  261. And that's perfectly
    fine as well.
  262. The thing about rel="canonical"
    is that it
  263. only indexes content from
    the canonical version.
  264. So let's go ahead and
    take a look at this.
  265. If we have page two and page
    three, page two says "cookies
  266. are superior nutrition,"
    and page three says "to
  267. vegetables".
  268. But they both add
    rel="canonical"
  269. just to page one.
  270. And Google's index will then
    cluster page one, page two,
  271. and page three all together.
  272. But the only thing that we'll
    have indexed is the content
  273. from page one, the canonical
    version.
  274. So our index will actually
    contain "new studies prove
  275. that."
  276. And now by using this
    rel="canonical" incorrectly,
  277. this webmaster has totally lost
    the content "cookies are
  278. superior nutrition" and "to
    vegetables." So that's why
  279. rel="canonical" doesn't
    work in this case.
  280. But rel="next," "prev"
    works for a series or
  281. a sequence of content.
  282. So let's take those two
    paginated examples again.
  283. By using rel="next" and
    rel="prev," we'll actually, in
  284. Google's index, mark
    it as a series.
  285. But we'll have page one, page
    two, and page three all
  286. indexed separately.
  287. So in our index, we know page
    one refers to "new studies
  288. prove that," page two,
    "cookies are superior
  289. nutrition," and page three, "to
    vegetables." And all three
  290. pages will be indexed and
    marked as one series.
  291. So that's the big difference
    between rel="canonical" and
  292. rel="next" "prev."
  293. So something to note is that
    rel="canonical" can actually
  294. be used alongside rel="next"
    "prev." So let's take a look
  295. at page two again.
  296. And this time, it has
    a session ID.
  297. This URL can actually list both
    the canonical version
  298. without a session ID as well as
    a rel="prev" and rel="next"
  299. with, of course, the same
    parameters, including that
  300. session ID.
  301. So now let's recap your new
    pagination toolbox.
  302. Starting with Google, we have
    two new features for you.
  303. First, we're making a better
    effort to detect a view-all
  304. page, and then send
    searchers to that
  305. preferred view-all version.
  306. The second feature is if you
    want to actually even override
  307. that behavior.
  308. So for those of you with a
    view-all page available or
  309. without, if you add markup
    with rel="next" and
  310. rel="prev," it signals to
    Google that these are
  311. component pages in a series.
  312. We'll then consolidate indexing
    properties, and send
  313. searchers to the most relevant
    page, most likely page one.
  314. Now, let's get into
    the types of
  315. configurations you have available.
  316. So recapping, if you have a
    view-all page available, you
  317. have three options.
  318. You can leave as is.
  319. You can use rel="canonical" on
    your component pages, pointing
  320. to your view-all page.
  321. Or you can override all the
    view-all detection by adding
  322. rel="next" and rel="prev,"
    telling us that these
  323. component pages belong
    to a series.
  324. And I'd like you, Google, to
    send searchers to the most
  325. relevant individual page,
    again, likely page one.
  326. Now, the other part of the
    pagination toolbox is for
  327. those of you with no view-all
    available, and
  328. you have two options.
  329. Of course, you can leave
    exactly as is.
  330. Or again, you can use rel="next"
    and rel="prev."
  331. This helps you to consolidate
    all the component pages into
  332. one series and send searchers
    to the most relevant page.
  333. So the great thing about these
    pagination features is that
  334. I've been at Google long enough
    to see the infancy from
  335. when the webmaster community was
    talking to us about issues
  336. with pagination until now when
    we have more features
  337. available to you.
  338. So thank you so much to all of
    you for your helpful feedback
  339. and for being part of this
    webmaster community.
  340. For more information on
    pagination, here are some
  341. links available.
  342. And you can, of course, join
    us at the Webmaster Central
  343. Blog or in the Webmaster
    Discussion Forum.
  344. Thanks for your time.