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What is Pagination and Why to Use Them?

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Websites are required to use multiple pages for simple navigation, more reliable, better user experience and buyer’s journey; for example, an e-commerce site. It would be impossible for a site like Amazon to list all the products on one single page. 

If you have a lot of data on your site, like a blog, showing the information then it’s necessary to split your graphs over pages for readability.

What is Pagination?

Pagination is a series of pages that are correlated and have related content. In simple words, pagination means an ordinal count of pages and it involves dividing website content and arranging it on separate subpages. Each page has its URL and is seen as a unique subpage on the site. 

Pagination is performed mainly to optimize the website’s loading time. Thus, it has a large influence on the usability of the site and consequently on its conversion. The higher potential customers need to wait for the graphics to load, the higher the chance that they’ll leave the site.

Why use pagination?

  • Improve user experience

If too much data or information is distributed on one page, the user may get confused. Pagination lets webmasters work on information in tiny and manageable parts.  E-commerce sites display the product’s image description and price on the home page. If a user is engaged and is willing to see more features about the product, he/she can click on the link to see the image, and price including a call to action. Pagination also makes it easier to find information that users seek.

  • Effortless navigation

It helps make the website traveling easier for the user who wishes to go through the course. Pagination assists in navigation even when CTAs are not present. When the user arrives at the end of the page on a particular category, it is natural that they wish to see further results. Wherever numbering is applied, the user can decide how many more additional pages they are willing to look at. This also gives them an idea of the data set. A large data set will be engaging to a user seeking variety.

How does pagination influence SEO?

Pagination helps create great user experiences. But does it have a positive or negative impact on SEO?

When it comes to sites with numerous pages, bot crawlers have to define what content they have to crawl, how regularly they need to crawl the site, and the support the site’s server can allot to the crawling process. Here comes the crawl budget theory.

If your site has a huge amount of data, search engine bots use their crawl budget carefully. This means there is a possibility that some of your content will not be crawled nor indexed. Also, there is a probability that the crawl budget can be consumed on the pages that the pagination guides to, and other important pages might never be crawled or indexed.

Hence, after executing pagination on the site, it’s necessary to prioritize the most valuable pages on your home page, or on the page where pagination starts. With this approach, the crawl budget will be used on your best content. Once users land on your site, they have the chance to communicate with other pages as structured by pagination.

Best Practices For Implementing Pagination:

  • Canonical URLs

Creating canonical URLs serve as a solution excluding duplicate content caused by publishing the same texts on a few subpages. Canonical URLs notifies Google robots which URLs on the site are canonical links. Executing them will let the bots know which subpages shouldn’t be crawled.

  • The “no index” Tag

Individual subpages can be prevented from being crawled by applying the “no index” meta tag. Fixing it in the <head> of the code of a particular subpage will tell Google robots that they don’t analyse this page and show in the search results. Similar to the robots.txt file, the no-index tag is performed on the following paginated pages, except on the first page.

  • rel=”prev” And rel=”next” Attributes

This tip concerns mainly websites without internal duplicate content. If your website comprises sections that can be classified in a way that assures that each page has unique content and products, you have to implement the rel=”prev” and rel=”next” attributes. 

In this case, you shouldn’t stop Google robots from crawling your subpages because these attributes notify particular subpages. Consequently, the search results give users the first page and the start of the text. 

If required, use canonical URLs and the rel=”prev” and rel=”next” attributes simultaneously.Add them in the HTML or HTTP headers of individual subpages. So, the HTML code of a typical clothing store and the crop tops category will look like this:

The attribute on the first page that shows the next subpage:

<link rel=”next” href=”clothing.store.com/crop-tops-2″/>

The attributes on the second and each subsequent page that indicate the previous and next subpage:

<link rel=”prev” href=”clothing.store.com/crop-tops-1″/>

<link rel=”next” href=”clothing.store.com/crop-tops-3″/>

The attribute on the last page that indicates the previous subpage:

<link rel=”prev” href=”clothing.store/crop-tops-9″/>

  • Usability

You also need to focus on pagination which is user-friendly and convenient. Focus on components such as:

  1. The size of links – Nowadays, old and visually weakened people also browse the Internet. Besides, various users visit websites via mobile devices, and pages with numbers that are extremely small will be counted useless.
  2. The space between links to page numbers – Not able to click on a specific page you want to browse, due to the small space between the links, may push users up the wall. Make sure that both mobile and desktop users can effortlessly operate your site.
  3. Highlighting the page number the user is currently browsing – This notifies the visitor about the number of product pages they’ve already seen and how many more are left.
  4. Navigation bars – Provide navigation bars such as the “next”, “previous”, “first” and “last” page. It’ll be much simpler for users to smoothly navigate the site as they’ll be able to open another subpage or go to the start or end of the list whenever they want.

Conclusion

Pagination means the numbering of pages which is very helpful not only for users but also for search engine robots. It also means that website owners can operate web crawlers and potential customers visiting their site. Becoming informed with all the above suggested methods will allow you to correctly perform pagination. This, in turn, enhances the usability of your site without causing glitches that could negatively affect your ranking in the search results.

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