Tackling Pagination Issues for SEO

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There is always a tug of war between the user experience of a website and the requirements of SEO. Better planning of website often requires that SEO requirements do not come in the way of achieving good user experience. Pagination is one such issue which shall be tackled appropriately for better search engine optimization.

What Is Pagination?

Let us first understand what is pagination and why is this needed? Pagination refers to the existence of a number of web pages which contain listed or numbered items. This is a common occurrence in e-commerce websites which have a number of products listed and which can not be shown in one page. For listing or showing these, a number of pages are required. For theses types of pages, there are two main issues which are often faced by the webmasters. One is related to the problem faced by the users to reach to the product in the shortest possible time. The second is related to determining which of these pages shall be chosen for SEO purposes so that only that page shows up.

For the first issue, there are a number of ways in which the users can jump ahead to pages without following the numbered sequence. Numbering of the pages and giving hyperlinks on these to enable users to move to the page which they want is one of the ways. But, if the users do not know which category of products is listed on a particular page, which is the case in most of situations, then there is a need to modify the approach. So, mentioning the different categories of products which can be found on the subsequent pages is helpful in making the users to jump directly to that category of products.

Paginations and SEO

While these measures make the user experience better, the SEO services providers have to define which pages are required to be promoted.

A typical ecommerce site might be showing different product images on two different categories. This means that while the web pages are different, the content might remain same (since the difference is in the images which can not be read by the search engines). Search Engines will read these as different web pages but the content will be taken as a duplicate one. So, the search engines have to be told which pages shall actually be read or not read. This is achieved in following ways:

1. Robots.txt file: The robots.txt file tells the search engine which of the pages shall not be read. By putting certain URLs in this file, you can direct the robots not to read these.

2. Canonical redirection: This is the most often used method by SEO operators to wriggle out of the situation. What they do is that they keep only one page where the search engine robots can be directed by tagging the others with canonical redirection to that page.

(for a complete guide on how to solve the pagination issues, please refer to: http://searchengineland.com/five-step-strategy-for-solving-seo-pagination-problems-95494)

User Experience Holds Supreme

The way the paginations problems are resolved by canonical redirection indicates to the fact that user experience holds supreme even in SEO considerations. By facilitating easy and logical navigation of pages and applying the redirection tags to avoid duplicate content issue, the SEO services providers ensure that the SEO fixings are kept secondary to the user experience, which is in line with what the current Panda update highlights.

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