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WordPress as many of us know creates an archive loop of old posts.

From an SEO POV, some of my categories are now at 100+ pages which is a lot of bloat...

Sure, I can set each of these paginated pages a canonical link but still, feels like it is a bit unnecessary for all these indexed pages that just contain a title and an excerpt (which is basically duplicate content..)

Is one approach to simply switch off archive loops or does Google ignore these archived pages?

Thanks

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While paginated pages aren't necessarily problamatic and Google handles pagination quite well in most cases, you are right to point out that they cause "a lot of bloat". The main issues here, from an SEO POV, is crawl budget. Rather than wasting your crawl budget on a paginated archive you'd be better off directing crawl activity towards more meaningful pages. There are a lot of different approaches to dealing with content archives. For example:

  • rather than creating an ever-increasing paginated archive of old posts, think about organizing your old posts my publication date, Year/Month. You can create an HTML sitemap that directs Google to crawl posts according to their respective publication year and month. This also gives you additional crawl control. For example you can choose to allow or disallow crawling of certain archives via the robots.txt file.
  • instead of organizing old posts by Year/Month perhaps think about organizing them by Topic or some other attribute which you deem important.
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  • I think I'm going to kill off the pagination, it just doesn't have value..... – henry Jul 15 at 9:26
  • That's fine. But I would just be careful before you do that. Make sure you have a good sense for how Google crawls your site. For example if pagination is the only way Google is able to discover "older" pages on your site, then by killing off the pagination links you risk tanking your rankings. So just be mindful of that. – Nina Dubovich Jul 16 at 14:09

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