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I made a change recently to my wordpress.org blog to make it so that every post is broken up into two pages, an introduction paragraph and then the rest of the post after a nextpage page break. I did this to prevent the high bounce rate my site was experiencing, which was close to 100%.

Unfortunately, Google appears to be indexing page 2 separately. If you search for something that only appears on page 2, the search result will link you to page 2. This actually makes it so my attempt to reduce a high bounce rate is circumvented, as they move straight to page 2 and will not click to read the rest. Additionally, they miss the introduction, which is also less than ideal.

I would prefer that the page 2 results show up in search engines with the page one URL.

Example: I would like www.example.com/2018/04/15/blog-post/2/ to show up in google search as www.example.com/2018/04/15/blog-post/ no matter which page contains the search query.

I would like to set it up to do this automatically if possible. Is there a way to fix this?

  • I'm curious why you thought that splitting an article across two pages (with just a small introductory paragraph on the first page) would help your (real world) "bounce rate"? (I guess you were hoping that the user would click through from page one to page two and thus lower the reported "bounce rate"? But if the user bounces after page two then there is no net gain from your point of view, except that the reported "bounce rate" might be less?) – MrWhite Apr 16 '18 at 8:14
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    @MrWhite That is correct. Some websites were suggesting that pagination was a way of cutting down the bounce rate that is reported to the search engines. They suggested the bounce rate triggers penalties to be applied to search rankings. I chose to only do one click (2 pages) because I don't like the idea of forcing clicks, but I don't want to be penalized for being a blog where they find the content they wanted to read then leave right after. – Colin P Apr 16 '18 at 18:00
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The way to make sure your pagination URLs aren't indexed as I understand it, is to create a parameter for your paginated URLs and then tell Google not to index pages with those parameters.

You can tell Google not to index pages with specific parameters here:

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/crawl-url-parameters?hl=en&authuser=1&siteUrl=

Click "Add Parameter", add your parameter and then tell Google not to index pages with that parameter.

So if your url is example.com/page/flowers.html?pagination=2 then you can instruct Google not to index pages with "pagination=" in the URL.

Make sure that you DO NOT add "NOINDEX" or "NOFOLLOW" to your paginated URLs. Because if you do, when your non-paginated page loads them, Googlebot may also deindex your non-paginated page. This is because the NOINDEX tag is appended to the original page, and when NOINDEX is detected anywhere on a page that page will be deindexed.

If you want a URL such as www.example.com/2018/04/15/blog-post/2/ to show up in the search results as www.example.com/2018/04/15/blog-post, then you can have rel="canonical" tags on /2/ pointing to the blog-post URL.

  • "... instruct Google not to index pages with "pagination=" in the URL" - If you do that then you will need to make sure that the entire article is available at the URL without the URL parameter - and that is the URL that must then be linked to in the site and the URL that Google will ultimately index. All this would seem to defeat the point of setting up pagination (across a two page article) in the first place? – MrWhite Apr 16 '18 at 10:09
  • @MrWhite - If you tell Google not to index pages with the pagination parameter, Google will likely still crawl the pagination pages through the Javascript on the first page (if it was doing this already). It will index the first page, but it won't index the paginated pages. It seems that the OP wants his initial page indexed but does not want the paginated page 2, 3, 4+ pages indexed. – Michael d Apr 16 '18 at 17:09
  • @Michaeld I think maybe what I asked in the subject wasn't exactly what I wanted. I apologize for that, perhaps I could have phrased the subject better by saying I would like to prevent page 2+ from being indexed with a different URL than the first page. Do you think that would be possible using this method? It sounds like page 2 wouldn't show up in search at all, which means any search query that would match page 2 would instead find no matches on my site. Am I understanding it wrong? – Colin P Apr 16 '18 at 18:09
  • If you want www.example.com/2018/04/15/blog-post/2/ to show up in the results as www.example.com/2018/04/15/blog-post, then you can try adding rel canonical tags to the /2/ URL, pointing to the initial post. – Michael d Apr 16 '18 at 19:15
  • @Michaeld Awesome, I will mark your answer correct as soon as I have had the chance to look into it more, but from skimming through, it sounds like it is exactly what I want. Thank you! – Colin P Apr 16 '18 at 19:29

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