Updated: December 27, 2023.

As a professional in the field, I’ve learned the importance of auditing pagination, especially for larger websites like e-commerce platforms.

Issues with pagination can lead to crawl budget waste, crawling problems, and indexation and ranking issues.

In this article, I’ll share insights on how to effectively audit pagination using tools like JetOctopus.

SEO pagination

How to audit paginated pages

Here is all you need to know to be able to audit pagination on your website. If you don’t feel like reading, here is the video walking you through the entire process.

To be able to audit pagination, you need JetOctopus which fortunately offers free trial (with no credit card required).

If you are analyzing a huge website (like an ecommerce website), you definitely need to take a very deep look at pagination.

SEO pagination audit in JetOctopus in 5 steps

This is super easy.

1. Set up the crawl

2. Configure pagination settings

Navigate to Crawler > Indexation > Pagination and click on “Configure” to set up the reuls for pagination on your website.

SEO pagination in JetOctopus

3. Review paginated pages for details and issues

Paginated pages in JetOctopus

4. Analyze the first page in the paginated series

SEO pagination analysis in JetOctopus

To be able to audit pagination, you need JetOctopus which fortunately offers free trial (with no credit card required).

Best practices for SEO pagination audit

Here are the best practices that will ensure your pagination audit is comprehensive.

Understand your pagination structure

First, it’s essential to understand the pagination rules of your site. Different sites have different rules, and these must be configured correctly in your auditing tool.

The default setting might be “rel=prev” and “rel=next”, but there are other configurations depending on your site’s setup.

Auditing website pagination in JetOctopus

Analyze paginated vs. non-paginated pages

Analyze the proportion of paginated versus non-paginated pages on your site. This helps in understanding the scale of pagination and its impact on your site’s SEO.

For example, you might find a small number of paginated pages in a blog or category section.

Detail pagination by depth and segment

Check the depth of your paginated pages. Are there pages that are orphaned or unreachable?

By doing that you will know if deep paginated pages are being ignored or not crawled effectively.

Indexation management of paginated pages

Review how your paginated pages are indexed. Are they non-indexable or canonicalized to the first page?

This is crucial, as improper indexation can lead to ranking problems. Each paginated page’s indexation status needs to be verified.

Indexation of paginated pages

Review canonical tags of paginated pages

Examine the canonical tags on paginated pages. Incorrectly set canonicals can lead to issues like duplicate content or missed pages. Ensure that each page is canonicalized correctly, often to itself.

Asses user experience of your pagination

Consider the user experience. Pagination should be intuitive and user-friendly. If it’s hard for users to navigate through paginated content, it might be time to rethink your approach.

Make data-driven decisions

Use the data gathered to make informed decisions. Are there issues with how pagination is implemented that could be affecting your site’s performance? If so, plan out the necessary changes.

Take action on large sites

For larger sites, especially e-commerce, it’s vital to take a deeper look. Improper pagination can lead to significant issues like lost revenue. Use the auditing tool to view all paginated pages and gather essential information for decision-making.

Use your human brain and SEO experience

Here’s where the human element comes in. You need to decide if the observed pagination structure poses an issue or not. For example, canonicalizing to the first page might be okay for certain categories where you don’t want the subsequent pages to rank.

SEO pagination FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is pagination in SEO?

Pagination in SEO refers to the practice of dividing content across multiple pages, commonly seen in e-commerce sites, blogs, and forums, to organize content and improve user experience.

Why is auditing pagination important for SEO?

Auditing pagination helps ensure that search engines correctly index multiple pages and that users can easily navigate through your site, thereby improving site visibility and user experience.

How do I identify pagination issues on my website?

Use SEO tools like Screaming Frog or JetOctopus to crawl your site and identify pagination patterns and potential issues like broken links or improper indexation.

What are “rel=prev” and “rel=next” tags, and why are they important?

These HTML tags help search engines understand the relationship between paginated pages. They indicate the order of content across multiple pages, which is important for proper content indexing.

How does incorrect pagination affect my website’s SEO?

Incorrect pagination can lead to problems like duplicate content, poor user experience, and issues with page indexing, which negatively impact your site’s search engine rankings.

Should paginated pages have unique meta titles and descriptions?

Yes, each paginated page should ideally have unique meta titles and descriptions to avoid duplication and clearly indicate the content of each page.

How can I tell if my paginated pages are indexed properly?

Use Google Search Console or other SEO tools to check if your paginated pages appear in search engine results and are indexed correctly.

Can pagination impact website loading speed?

Yes, poorly implemented pagination can increase page load times, especially if there are too many links or heavy content on each paginated page.

Should I use a ‘Load More’ button or traditional pagination?

It depends on your content and user experience goals. ‘Load More’ buttons can be more user-friendly for certain content types but may have different implications for SEO.

Is it better to canonicalize paginated pages to the first page?

Not always. It’s important to assess whether each page provides unique value. Canonicalizing to the first page can sometimes lead to loss of valuable content in search results.

How do I handle pagination for mobile users?

Ensure your pagination is mobile-friendly, with easily clickable buttons and a responsive design that accommodates smaller screens.

What’s the best way to structure URLs for paginated content?

Use a clear and consistent structure, like adding a page number parameter at the end of the URL, to help users and search engines understand the pagination sequence.

How often should I audit pagination on my website?

Regular audits are recommended, especially after major content updates or website redesigns, to ensure ongoing SEO effectiveness.

Can AJAX-based pagination be problematic for SEO?

Yes, AJAX pagination can sometimes be difficult for search engines to crawl and index. Ensure that such implementation is search engine friendly.

Olga Zarr is an SEO consultant with 10+ years of experience. She has been doing SEO for both the biggest brands in the world and small businesses. She has done 200+ SEO audits so far. Olga has completed SEO courses and degrees at universities, such as UC Davis, University of Michigan, and Johns Hopkins University. She also completed Moz Academy! And, of course, has Google certifications. She keeps learning SEO and loves it. Olga is also a Google Product Expert specializing in areas, such as Google Search and Google Webmasters.