What Is Pagination?
Pagination is a core feature and standard practice of WordPress blogs. It refers to any control system that lets users browse through search results, archives, or types of continued content. In the context of WordPress, it prevents users from having to load all posts at once when they click on your website. Usually, the numbering of pages is located at the bottom of a webpage.
WordPress pagination is important because it positively affects SEO as it reduces the likelihood of duplicate pages. In addition, good pagination allows search engine crawlers to better comprehend the structure of websites and rank them accordingly. A paginated structure also improves site readability for users, especially if they are scrolling through posts or products and services.
How Are Pagination and WordPress SEO Connected?
Pagination has to do with the architecture of your website’s links. Search engines crawl websites and rank them according to click depth, i.e., the number of clicks needed to get to specific pages. Homepages have a depth of 0, and any page linked from the homepage has a depth of 1, and so on.
If pagination is incorrectly implemented, it can expand the crawl depth of key website pages, increasing the number of clicks needed to reach these pages. This immediately diminishes as webpage’s visibility because pages with over three clicks from the home page are less likely to be crawled at all, regardless of their SEO.
What WordPress SEO Issues Can Pagination Cause?
Poor pagination affects WordPress SEO most visibly in URLs, page crawling, and duplicate and thin content. A massive amount of paginated content increases your website’s URLs and reduces page rank ability in search engines because link equity is diluted across many pages.
In turn, having many indexable URLs means that Google and any other search engine will likely not crawl all your pages. Therefore, key pages may not get indexed at all, lowering their search engine result page (SERP) rank.
Thirdly, pagination can cause duplicate content because several pages may be similar or have the same content. Duplicate content confuses search engines as they don’t know which one to preference and serve in SERPs.
Lastly, pagination can produce thin or meaningless content. This is when a page is of poor quality and has no value. For example, it frequently happens when a gallery is split into multiple pages merely to increase conversions through views. Thin content mostly arises when companies focus on generating banner ad revenue but can occur with poor pagination.
How to Improve WordPress Pagination SEO
WordPress pagination plug-ins like WP-PageNavi and WP-Paginate can rectify common pagination SEO issues by streamlining navigation. There are also other ways you can optimize your website for improved SEO and SERP ranking.
To start, all pages in a pagination series should have their own self-referencing canonical tag. A canonical tag tells search engines that a specific URL represents the master copy of a page. Thus, canonical URLs indicate which version of a URL should appear in search results and helps prevent duplicate content.
Additionally, if you have a huge e-commerce website with thousands of products, you should consider implementing faceted navigation. This type of navigation allows users to filter content using their preferred attributes. While you may need the help of a web developer to implement this, it can prevent common pagination issues.
Websites with high crawl depths can be fixed by using categories. They enable many articles to be categorized in one click and prevent crawl bots from randomly finding content. Categories can also be used directly to improve WordPress SEO, especially if the category label is a high-ranking long-tail keyword.
Another way to improve WordPress pagination SEO is to ensure you don’t include pagination in your XML sitemap. An XML sitemap is a list of your website’s URLs. Even though paginated URLs are technically indexable, they aren’t an SEO priority, so it’s not worthwhile as it increases crawl depth.
While WordPress plugins make pagination optimization easier, it is useful to have some technical know-how. If you have a WordPress eCommerce store and need to improve your pagination, we can help.
Catapult Revenue offers Search Engine Optimization for eCommerce. Our SEO strategies are some of the most effective and affordable ways to grow your store and boost your revenue as a full-service digital agency. So why not start with our free SEO audit?