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Google Stopped Supporting Rel=prev/next in Search Indexing Years Ago

Google Stopped Supporting Rel=prev/next in Search Indexing Years Ago

Google finally decided to tell the search community that rel=”next” and rel=”prev” haven’t been used in years.

John Mueller from Google broke the news on Twitter earlier today:

Shortly after, the Google Webmasters account made an official announcement:

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Google has long recommended using rel=prev/next markup when publishing a paginated series of web pages.

The markup would communicate to Google that the individual pages are all part of the same series.

Rel=prev/next markup also sent signals to Google about which page in the series is first, second, third, and so on.

Now, Google doesn’t support the markup at all.

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For years (apparently) Google hasn’t been using signals from rel=prev/next when indexing content in search results.

What has Google been doing instead?

No More Rel=prev/next

Google has been indexing content as it’s found by Google’s crawlers, Mueller says.

In other words, web pages in a series are indexed the same as any other piece of single-page content.

As it turns out, publishers are good at sending the appropriate signals to Google without rel=prev/next.

Publishers can send signals to Google in other ways, such as linking to other pages of a series within the body content.

Think about how you would communicate to a searcher that the page they landed on is part 3 out of 5 in a series.

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When the pagination is obvious to a reader it should be obvious to Google as well.

Another option is to create more single-page content instead of paginated content. Google says users prefer it, although multi-page content is still acceptable for search.


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Matt Southern

Lead News Writer at Search Engine Journal

Matt Southern has been the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a degree in communications, Matt ... [Read full bio]

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