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I have a gallery-type website that has about 20k of pages and naturally it uses pagination. However, sometimes /page/2 appears higher in search results than /post/201339 for example.

I'd like to give emphasis to the actual content (posts, videos, whatever the site is about) and not on pages that merely list this content in a paginated matter.

What is the best way to avoid this issue? Maybe a NOINDEX,FOLLOW meta tag on the paginated pages?

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    You call this an issue, not me! Keep current. – Zistoloen Aug 19 '14 at 9:42
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    Are you using rel=canonical links? – Simon Hayter Aug 19 '14 at 9:46
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    Are you specifying a relative priority in your XML sitemap? (Although, admittedly, this is unlikely to have much of an impact.) – MrWhite Aug 19 '14 at 9:48
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    You should be able to sort the problem by using rel=canonical links on the actual pages. Canonical links do more than just prevent duplicate, it informs the search engines what pages are master. By adding canonical it should give more weight to the pages and less to the index pages... Also you should never use noindex to attempt Google to flow more juice to one page and less to another, if its used by users and not private then it should also be indexable by search engines. – Simon Hayter Aug 19 '14 at 10:12
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    Normally caonical links will solve this issue but you should also note that a pagination can become more powerful than a page(s), this is because Google believes it's more relevant. If your blog contains 10 articles about how to fix a lamp, and in the pagination you have 10 links with snippets of the article on how to fix a lamp then this being returned as a result would be better for the user!, so that would likely beat a single article. But if they drift from topic to topic, then absolutely yes the articles should come first! but remember page freshness play a important role here too. – Simon Hayter Aug 19 '14 at 10:19
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The bottom line is that Google chooses what it thinks is best for search results.

If you don't want the paginated pages to be returned in search results, then noindex is the right way, but it is not optimal regarding SEO, especially if you want to attract as much traffic as possible. Google does a good job at serving the best stuff at to the best people over time. One needs to be patient.

Setting a canonical link in your pagined pages will not help promote actual content. However, you could set some rel="next" and rel="prev" pagination meta tags to help Google sort out your pagination pages from actual content.

If you actual content pages do not contain much information (i.e., they could be considered as thin content) then beef up those pages with specific content. If they contain a lot of image, use the alt tag etc... Google will find about it and have more options to server them first to visitors.

For the records: Bybe says that putting canonical on actual content pages (even if there is no duplicate or near duplicate issue) will help in your case.

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  • Setting a canonical link in your pagined pages will not help promote actual content. it will however if used on actual pages. – Simon Hayter Aug 19 '14 at 12:02
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    OP does not mention duplicate content issues. Your remark is unrelated to the issue raised in the OP. – Jérôme Verstrynge Aug 19 '14 at 12:10
  • Your mistaken how canonical works, it's more than just telling Google what's not duplicate. Google uses it to associate original pages therefor it puts emphasis to the actual content. Without canonical links Google can associate whole or snippets as master. And next and prev does not increase emphasis on actual content which is clearly stated by the OP. – Simon Hayter Aug 19 '14 at 15:29
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    Where would you set the canonical and what URL would you use? – Jérôme Verstrynge Aug 19 '14 at 15:33
  • You only need to set the canonical link on the actual content, then pages like tags, index pagination, categories and so on... do not need to use canonical. Many SEO plugins for various content management systems work this way (Yoast SH404SEF Etc) Good example is Stack Exchange. If you check tagged seo Your see no usage of canonical in the source, then looking at this page, You can see it has been used. – Simon Hayter Aug 19 '14 at 15:41

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