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I am currently working on a website which has paginated content. It is a list of products. There are many categories, but for simplicity, let's assume that I have just one category with many pages.

I have implemented pagination in such a way that search engines can index it. Here is my implementation:

  1. prev/next meta tags.
  2. canonical URL pointing to itself (i.e. first page points to itself, and second page points to itself as well).
  3. there are no blocks on indexing of ?page= pages.
  4. Breadcrumbs for the first page are Main > Category, but for all other pages they are Main > Category > Page X.
  5. Breadcrumbs are also added to structured data, and I also have an ItemList structured data item representing the list of products which is displayed.

It all works as expected. However, currently, all my products have the following breadcrumbs: Main > Category > Product X regardless of whether my product appears on the first page or not. I was wondering whether there is any SEO benefit in changing these to Main > Category > Page X > Product for the products which do not appear on the first page of my category?

I think that this would be a welcome change from a UI point of view, but I am worried that it might negatively affect my SEO. Also, I am worried that it might make my structured data breadcrumbs somewhat worse. Google does show them in the search results, and I am not sure that Page X would be a great detail to put there for a product path :)

Does anyone have any thoughts/experience about this matter?

  • Google recently said they don't do anything with prev/next meta tag information. Not that it is bad to have it, but it shouldn't change your SEO. – Stephen Ostermiller Sep 14 at 12:28
  • As I've said in other answers here, "Pagination is Bad for SEO." I almost always recommend removing pagination and replacing it with search and faceted navigation. – Stephen Ostermiller Sep 14 at 12:29
  • @StephenOstermiller thanks for your suggestion. At the moment it will be hard to migrate to a structure without pagination. It is a lengthy project which will required considerable amount of time. So, for now, I am going to stick to having paginated content and I still am interested in making the most out of it. – Andriy Gordiychuk Sep 14 at 13:09
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There are always two different purposes breadcrumb is in use:

  1. it is for the Google, to offer the possibility of gap-less, continuous relation between page types.
  2. it is for users, to provide an optimal navigation possibility.

About the first: to relate a content piece to the corresponding category is fully enough without to expose the category page. It will not harm, but, for my personal gusto, it is too much detailed.

About the second: i don't know, what your site is offering. But from my experience i can't imagine a case, where it would be important for user to navigate exactly to the category page, where current article is published. I think, to navigate to the beginning of the category would be enough. I could be wrong - if your site offer something, where it could be the case.

About structured data: specially if you make use of it, you will don't want to markup the category pagination. Imagine, how will look the rich snippet for it: Home→Category→Page-3→Article-Title - for my taste a bit ugly:)

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