What Is Pagination In SEO?

Finding a practical solution to displaying a large volume of content on a website can be a tricky one. This issue has become particularly pressing recently with the sheer amount of data and online content that we have available everyday as studies show that there are over 2 billion blog posts every year, which is 4,000 posts every minute. That’s a lot of content.

However, don’t fear, as there are a few solutions available to help us organise some of this – one of them being pagination.

What Is Pagination In SEO?

In web design, pagination is the process of splitting up content into multiple pages in order to make a large piece of content more easily digestible to the end user. These pieces of content are tied together using a button link for ‘next’ and ‘previous’ to allow the user to navigate through the content. 

An example of this can be seen in the way google displays their pages in the search results, as the user would be required to scroll to the bottom of the page and manually click the ‘next’ and ‘previous’ button to see more results.

Throughout the web, you might have seen this being used in the following two cases:

  • Large Articles – Used to separate out sections of a large article into multiple pages. This is commonly used on blogging websites.
  • Product Pages – Used to allow the user to only be able to view a certain number (10 – 20) of items at once. This is often seen on ecommerce stores product pages.

What Are The Advantages Of Pagination In SEO?

With pagination, web designers are able to attain a few advantages:

  • Provides Structure To Long-Form Content: There isn’t much worse than the overwhelming feeling you get before you tackle a long and daunting article online. This issue is remedied by pagination as the user would be able to digest the content in bit-sized pieces, making it easy for them to digest and process the article. In theory, this should boost engagement rates (shares and comments), helping it to climb the search rankings as Google sees more value in it.
  • Drives Users To The Footer: With the pagination feature, the user is actively searching for the ‘next’ and ‘previous’ buttons which are located near the footer. This is important as web designers tend to place their call to actions, additional resources and contact information near the footer and so users are more likely to stop scrolling near this area to find the buttons, which therefore increases the likelihood that they’ll engage with the call to actions in the footer.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Pagination In SEO?

However, it’s worth noting that pagination does come with a few disadvantages:

  • Link Dilution: Google requires a page to contain a substantial amount of content in order for it to index and rank well. However, with pagination, the pages are spread out across multiple pages which could leave them quite ‘thin’ in content and therefore, not rank very well. This is often the case with slideshows where each page contains only one image which might prevent it from ranking highly.
  • Slow Cumulative Loading Times: With pagination, the user will be required to load each page individually every time they want to see the next section of content, which could take 1-2 seconds each to load. Over time, this could add up to a total of 8 – 12 seconds of loading time by the time they’ve got to the final page, incrementally frustrating the user. This can be seen in the image below as loading successive pages would accumulate to more load time overall when compared to just loading one page.
Pagination SEO - Page Load Time

To solve this, the web designer could ask Google to index only the ‘view all’ page to ensure the user loads all of the pieces of content first when entering the site to reduce the overall loading time.

How Does Pagination Compare To Infinite Scroll In SEO?

Based on these advantages and disadvantages, it’s worth considering a few other options before installing pagination onto your site. One of the more popular options is ‘infinite scroll’, where the user would be able to scroll down a single webpage and once they reach the bottom of the page, the new content loads automatically – similar to how the news feed works on social media platforms.

This scrolling feature is more intuitive for users on mobile devices, and given that almost 50% of all internet traffic is mobile, this can be quite useful. Infinite scroll might provide a better user experience and boost engagement, but it has serious implications for SEO as Google crawlers will only be able to take a snapshot of what’s initially loaded on the page and will struggle to see what lies beyond the bottom of the bottom of the page. This means that a large majority of your content on your article or product page might not get indexed by Google.

This is where pagination shines, as the more rigid structure and hierarchy helps Google to understand the page better, which often leads to increased search ranking positions.

Should You Use Pagination On Your Website?

The choice to use pagination on your website is dependent on what sort of website it is and what experience you’re trying to make your users have. For example, pagination is better suited for eCommerce stores as it provides a structure for displaying the vast amount of content and a wide range of products. 

However, if your site is based more around a ‘gallery’ format such as a wedding photographer, then infinite scroll would be more appropriate as it allows users to wander through your images without too much interruption.

You might also find that a CMF (Content Management Framework), such as Drupal, useful in the pagination of your content. This is because the CMF’s configurations allow your content to be split up in a structured, yet personalised way, therefore improving the Google SEO rankings for your webpages.

Overall, it depends on the objectives for your website, but it’s worth noting that pagination will be better optimised for Google search rankings. If you’re looking to boost your Google search engine rankings, find out more about our SEO services or get in touch today. We can also design and develop a professional website tailored to the needs of your small business, get a free quote today.

What Is Pagination In SEO?
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What Is Pagination In SEO?
In web design, pagination is the process of splitting up content into multiple pages in order to make a large piece of content more easily digestible to the end-user. These pieces of content are tied together using a button link for ‘next’ and ‘previous’ to allow the user to navigate through the content.
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BaseOne Digital
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Written By Alex Lever

I have a focus on providing digital marketing services to small businesses to help them get online and grow their brand.

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