Let's have items I90, I89, ..., I2, I1 where I1 is the oldest and I100 is the newest. They are paginated and there are 30 items per page.

Which is better URL from SEO point of view?

1) /items?page=1 with items I90...I61; then /items?page=2 with items I60...I31 and /items?page=3 with I30...I1. So if the new item is created, items get shifted.

2) /items?page=3 with items I90..I61; ...; /items?page=1 for I30...I1.

Will option 1) look more "alive" to a search engine, so it will rank higher? Or will stable data (option 2) rank higher?

  • This has no effect on SEO. Do whatever is best for your users.
    – John Conde
    Feb 25, 2014 at 16:27
  • 1
    Do you have any resources regarding this? The thing is I've had a dispute about this with a colleague and he insists that content on every page in pagination has to stay the same forever (i.e. option 2), that is has great effect on SEO. Feb 25, 2014 at 16:42
  • Your colleague doesn't know what they are talking about which is quite common when it comes to SEO. Ask them for a source of their information. They won't find any.
    – John Conde
    Feb 25, 2014 at 16:43
  • @jakub Kulhan, how would that make sense?In usual pagination everything gets pushed back as soon as something new is added.
    – Max
    Feb 26, 2014 at 7:41
  • @Max Yes, it does. But is it right to do that? Feb 26, 2014 at 8:40

3 Answers 3


Neither. Not for SEO. However, I personally would chose option 1. That way your fist page is always 1 and not ?? The URI keywords item and page are not offering value from an SEO point of view. If you can change this to something more meaningful, then perhaps the answer would be different.

Clear as mud?

  • Yes, URI keywords don't add anything. The main question is whether content on each page should stay the same forever (option 2, i.e. even if I add 1M new items, there will always be I30...I1 located at /item?page=1), or not? Feb 25, 2014 at 16:24
  • That is a good point. There are two thoughts here that you need to consider. If some of the pages do not change, then they may not be seen as fresh. However, if all the pages change, then how does a user find something? It is a catch 22. If there is an easy way for a user who has found their way to a page that changed to find the right page that is a good thing. But then again, if a user gets to a page that does not have what they want, then they might just leave. As I understand it now, I would opt for the pages that remain consistent but freshen them up periodically with format changes.
    – closetnoc
    Feb 25, 2014 at 16:44
  • I tried to be abstract in the original questions. The use case is flash sales website. So even if user got to the paginated category page with the product relevant to his search, it wouldn't be relevant anymore, because the sale would be over. Feb 25, 2014 at 17:11
  • Wow. Tough decision then. If there is a way to remove older entries from the list, then your pages should remain fresh either way. If you have a development server, then I would try one then the other to see what you prefer. It sounds like one of those situations I model for myself then pick the one that makes sense. I assume there is no real harm if you try one way live then switch it later if it makes sense to. It may be that your users will decide in the end. Model one live and measure bounce rate. Then try the other way and again measure bounce rate. That should give you your answer.
    – closetnoc
    Feb 25, 2014 at 17:18

It is better to list the newest items in the first page, as your website will be more live, and most of the visitors will want to see the fresh arrivals. But it would be also good to provide an option for sorting items by popularity or better display some popular items at the sidebar (actually this is great usability + SEO).

To make better user friendly urls, I suggest:

example.com/cpu/  - For the first page. Lists the newest 30/50/100/1000 items
example.com/cpu/1 - Should redirect 301 to the first page
example.com/cpu/2 - For the second page
example.com/cpu/3 - For the third page

Some thoughts on the SEO:

Pages with pagination are archive pages, in which you have lists of items/posts that link to the full post (item page). These pages are low quality, with no distinct content, duplicate titles and meta tags. Search engines do not like archives pages, except from the first page of each archive, which is perfectly ranked.

Adding tags and more categories to improve your site, will be a great feature but you will end up having a lot of archive pages eg: for the tag a,b,c,d etc or the category a, b, c, d

For each tag page you will have 1 or more products and if you have lots of products matching a tag, you will may have 100 numbers in the pagination. So only for one tag, you will have 100 low quality pages. And if you have 10 tags x 100 pages this will add 1000 low quality pages on your index.

To avoid seo penalties with all these urls, but keeping them as it is a great feature, I suggest that you noindex all pages expect the first one for each archive page. For example:

example.com/cpu/ - This is the page we wish to rank in search engines
example.com/software/ - This is also a page we wish to rank in search engines
example.com/cpu/2 - This page should be noindexed
example.com/cpu/3 - This page should be noindexed
example.com/software/154 - This page should also be noindexed
  • "It is better to list the newest items in the first page, as your website will be more live, and most of the visitors will want to see the fresh arrivals." Yes, of course. Let's use your example - I have category located at example.com/cpu/ with 1000 items and pagination is 100/page. The question is what should be the second page's URL - example.com/cpu/2 (option 1 from original question), or example.com/cpu/999 (option 2)? What should be the last page's URL - exaple.com/cpu/1000, example.com/cpu/1? Feb 25, 2014 at 21:12
  • The first = the 100 newest items. Page 2 /cpu/2 is the 100 - 200 newest. Page 3 /cpu/3 is the 200 - 300 newest items. The last = the latest items 900 - 1000 should be /cpu/10
    – krokola
    Feb 25, 2014 at 22:22

If the paginated pages are useful (*) for searchers, your variant 2) offers the benefit of stable URLs. Thereby the ranking for each of those pages can (possibly) increase over time.

If you’d use variant 1) instead, the content will change radically, i.e., some time later the same URL has totally different content (not merely changed/updated content, but possibly even unrelated content). No sensible ranking algorithm would rank such pages permanently high, as soon all the keywords on the pages will change. So then there is nothing "old" to rank for anymore.
Also, this variant has the problem for searchers that search engines still might have old versions of your pages indexed, i.e., the link in the search result might no longer point to the relevant page where the searcher finds the content he was looking for. (Happens to me very often, and that’s my main reason to use the not-so-common reversed ordering.)

(* But note that many paginated pages are not very useful for searchers, especially when each item has a dedicated page and the content on the paginated pages is using only excerpts. For those cases, it probably doesn’t matter, as search engines are likely to pay little heed to them.)

  • As I commented on @closetnoc's answer: "The use case is flash sales website. So even if user got to the paginated category page with the product relevant to his search, it wouldn't be relevant anymore, because the sale would be over." The goal is to tell a search engine that there is a lot of content, but it should navigate searchers to the first page, because it should be the most relevant to them. Can using rel="prev", rel="next", rel="canonical" help to achieve this? As stated here - support.google.com/webmasters/answer/1663744 -, Google will most likely send people to the 1st page. Feb 26, 2014 at 8:33
  • @JakubKulhan: I think that this should be a separate question.
    – unor
    Feb 26, 2014 at 15:24
  • The original question is abstract, this is specific. I thought comments are there to provide extended/specific information :) Feb 26, 2014 at 16:38
  • @JakubKulhan: I can’t see how the question in your comment is related to the "abstract" question. In the comment you have a somewhat different use case: direct users to the first page (= which ever this might be, i.e., the page that contains the newest content) only + usage of link types. But how is this related to the question which pagination system you should choose?
    – unor
    Feb 26, 2014 at 20:04

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