Wednesday, August 15, 2012

About rel=“next” and rel=“prev” vs View All Could Hurt You

Google is offering a new way to deal
with paginated content on the web
from an
best practices perspective.Previously
many paginated pages would feature
a rel=”canonical”, list pagination the
meta title or simply ignore the
duplicate content errors in
webmaster tools. The
rel=”canonical” option was often
chosen, as it acted as a strong hint to
Google to rank a certain URL in a
series of content pagination. Now we
can use a new HTML element known
asrel=”next and rel=”prev”. This
new rel attribute relates specifically
to paginated content and offers some
interesting options to Google as far
as ranking that content.
What does rel=”next and rel=”prev”
rel=”next and rel=”prev” indicates to
Google that content is linked
together through a paginated series.
This could be a multipart article,
product category, etc. If you use this
piece of HTML on your webpage it will
tell Google to consolidate the pages
and to view the series as a whole.
This means that link weight will be
applied to the entire series, opposed
to one specific page, as in the case
with the
rel=”canonical”. Google
notes that when you use the
rel=”next and rel=”prev” the search
engines will, “send users to the most
relevant page/URL—typically the
first page of the series.”
Google is now referring to paginated
pages as component pages. The
counterpart to a component page is a
view-all page. So instead of listing
content in a paginated structure it is
instead listed in full on a single page.
Google has stated that they prefer
view-all pages. Google states that,
“Because view-all pages are most
commonly preferred by searchers, we
do our best to surface this version
when appropriate in results rather
than a component page (component
pages are more likely to surface with
rel=”next” and rel=”prev”).”
Why Consider the View All Option?
Google seems to prefer theview-all
option. In fact, they are pretty clear
about it. Google says, “User testing
has taught us that searchers much
prefer the view-all, single-page
version of content over a component
page containing only a portion of the
same information with arbitrary page
breaks (which cause the user to click
“next” and load another URL).”
The largest issue that Google has
ranking the view-all page is latency.
When the page loads to slow users
and Google get upset. In the case of a
view-all page optimization Google
recommends a few best practices.
While Google will most likely be able
to detect the view all option through
your content structure on their own,
you can make it crystal clear to
Google which page is the
view all
page, simply use a rel=”canonical”.
You would simply specify the view all
page as the correct URL via
rel=”canonical” on each page in the
Now if it is the case that you do not
have a view-all page or that you
want to surface individual
component pages, you have the
option of using rel=”next and
rel=”prev” or simply using
rel=”canonical” to rank your first
page in the series.
3 Options for dealing with Paginated
So here are your three options for
dealing with paginated content.
1. Leave your content as it is without
adding rel=”next and rel=”prev” and
hope it gets indexed correctly.
2. Optimize your view all page.
3. Use rel=”next and rel=”prev” and
hope Google ranks the correct page
in the pagination. In most cases they
will rank the main entry page, just as
they would if you were using the
rel=”canonical”. However, if a specific
section of the paginated content
relates to a specific keyword we
could see that surface as a result of
this directive.
How to Implement rel=”next and
So how do you actually implement
the rel=”next and rel=”prev”
directive? Google provides the
following information.
Let’s say you have content paginated
into the URLs:
On the first page, http://
story=abc&page=1, you’d include in
the section:
On the second page, http://
story=abc&page=1″ />
story=abc&page=3″ />
On the third page, http://
story=abc&page=2″ />
story=abc&page=4″ />
And on the last page, http://
story=abc&page=3″ />
Pretty straightforward right?
Google also offers these Important
Page one contains rel=”next” and no
rel=”prev” markup.
Pages two to the second-to-last page
should be doubly-linked with both
rel=”next” and rel=”prev” markup.
The last page only contains the
rel=”prev”, not rel=”next”. It is not
needed there is no next page.
rel=”next” and rel=”prev” values can
be either relative or absolute URLs
(as allowed by the
rel=”next” and rel=”prev” should be
added to the section.
You can actually use rel=”next” and
rel=”previous” and rel=”canonical”
on the same page. For example,
may contain:
story=abc&page=1&sessionid=123″ /
story=abc&page=3&sessionid=123″ /
Just like with rel=”canonical”,
rel=”prev” and rel=”next” act as
hints to Google, not absolute
If you add this code incorrectly
Google will do their best to rank your
This new way of dealing with
paginated content by Google
provokes an interesting SEO topic.
The rel=”prev” and rel=”next”
directive allows all link weight to be
distributed equally. Working off this
premise, we can speculate that
content in the paginated structure
will be ranked independent of link
weight and solely on
optimization. This presents an
interesting opportunity. Consider you
have a series of content that covers a
series of subtopics. The aggregate
link juice acquired by this content
will be distributed across the series of
content and individual areas of the
paginated structure will be ranked
off of content theme. Google has said
they will rank the home page in most
cases, but we are really never sure
how these things will work until we
see them in action. It will be
interesting to see how this new SEO
technique develops.

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