On my site I have a pagination of variable length and random result order. Every page is defined by index, that is order of the page and seed, that is the random seed (it's necessary to generate consistent random results for one user).

Search engines keep indexing these pages and they also randomly try to access pages that don't exist.

Should I prevent them to index all pages except the main page?

If so, where exactly should I put the directives (NOINDEX, FOLLOW)? Can the be put in HTML link tags?


Pagination markup might be more appropriate here. Using the <link> element in <head>, we specify next and previous pages as follows:

On page 1

<link rel="next" href="http://www.example.com/article-part2.html">

On page 2

<link rel="next" href="http://www.example.com/article-part3.html">
<link rel="prev" href="http://www.example.com/article-part1.html">


In Google, this has the effect of the search engine treating the sequence as a whole rather than individual pages. Thus no loss from noindexing, and you don't have users landing at some odd place in a sequence.

If the pagination sequence is random - and it sounds like it might be - this may be hard or impossible to implement. In that case, an alternative may be to use parameter filters in Google/Bing Webmaster Tools.

The problem with simply applying noindex to paginated content is that you lose potential SEO value from it. You don't say what the content is, so it's hard to judge, but it could be that those pages attract links, and therefore value. For that reason, the options outlined above are better.

If you must use noindex, use noindex and not nofollow, so that bots still follow links on those pages and are thus better able to discover other content on your site.

  • I'm upvoting your answer, since you provide many useful information. But do you know the answer on my actual question? I don't need to index the pagination pages - only the links that lead from them. So I just want google to go through and forget the pages. May 19 '14 at 17:44
  • You're not clear about exactly what the circumstances are – for example, your question doesn't say that you want the links from the pages to be followed. So I've done my best to provide what I think may be a solution that works for you. I've added some points above that may clarify.
    – GDVS
    May 19 '14 at 17:59

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