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First of all, this is not a question of 'how to remove', it's a question of 'should I remove'.

I've just noticed rel next and prev links on our single WordPress blogs. I'm not sure if they are new from an update, or if I have just never noticed them before.

Our blogs do not relate to each other in the way of a large blog written over many pages. They are all individual, with the first not having anything to do with the next.

My understanding of the rel next/prev tag is that they are used to link grouped pages together - like if you spread a single big blog over many pages. Or pagination on the WordPress archive pages.

As this is not the case in any of our single blogs, I want to know if I should remove the rel next/prev as I fear it could be sending the wrong message to search engines.

From my experience I would say it shouldn't be there, but as WordPress is the one adding it in, I thought I'd get some second opinions first.

4

Your understanding is correct. The sequential link types are for documents that are "part of a sequence".

I would only use it for blog posts that belong together ("… Part 1", "… Part 2"), for a blog post that is paginated, or for blogs where the order of the posts matters (e.g., in a diary, where each day has its own post). Or in other words, only in cases where it can be expected that users want to read the next post.

But there is no objective definition what would/wouldn’t count as "sequence". Using it for blog posts that aren’t really related (i.e., they just happen to be posted in that chronological order) doesn’t seem too far off. As far as the semantics are concerned, I wouldn’t expect any negative effect resulting from this.

However, WHATWG’s HTML Living Standard changed the next link type recently (this change might become part of W3C’s HTML 5.2, too). If it gets used with a link element, user agents should use a Resource Hint. This means that user agents should act as if the author also specified one of these link types: dns-prefetch, preconnect, prefetch, prerender. So depending on which resource hint a user agent chooses, it can cost bandwith, battery life, affect the performance, etc.

So this would be one more reason to use the sequential link types only in cases where users can be expected to want to visit the next page. Using them for posts that don’t really belong together could waste resources.

  • Thanks unor - it's the negative effect that I'm worried about. I've had a look at a page that was archived in October 2015 - and it also had the tag on it, so perhaps it's safer to leave it there. I just want to make sure I make the right decision long term. I didn't choose to add them, so I imagine almost all Wordpress installations would be using the same code. – user55478 Jun 28 '16 at 0:29
  • @bhtech In case you missed it, I just updated my answer to include another reason to use next (and prev because, well, they belong together ;)) only for "real" sequences. – unor Jun 28 '16 at 0:32
  • appreciate the update. I've also had a quick look at some big SEO sites, and their use of the tags in articles/blogs. 3 out of 4 didn't use the rel next/prev tags at all - which would indicate to me that they aren't seen to be required on a single page. After all - they should be leading by example I would have thought. I looked at 'moz' and 'search engine land'. I think I will remove the tags, and see what/if any effect it has. – user55478 Jun 28 '16 at 0:41
  • Just an FYI - removing the tags also reduced the number of queries on the page by three. – user55478 Jun 28 '16 at 1:11
0

Rel="prev" and rel="next" is used to group related pages together. Since you say your article is a single article (that fits all on one page without requiring the user to click a link), you can remove rel="prev" and rel="next".

If in the future, you split your long article into pages, then you need to use rel="prev" and rel="next" to connect those pages together.

For example, in a 3-page article, the first page (lets call it page1.htm) could have the following code in the HTML body section:

<h1>Page one</h1>
<p>bla bla bla bla bla bla bla blabla bla bla blabla bla bla blabla bla bla bla</p>
<a href="page2.htm" rel="next">Next page</a>

The second page (page2.htm) could have this code:

<h1>Page two</h1>
<p>bla bla bla bla bla bla bla blabla bla bla blabla bla bla blabla bla bla bla</p>
<a href="page1.htm" rel="prev">Last page</a>
<a href="page3.htm" rel="next">Next page</a>

The final page (page3.htm) could have this code:

<h1>Page three</h1>
<p>bla bla bla bla bla bla bla blabla bla bla blabla bla bla blabla bla bla bla</p>
<p>THE END</p>
<a href="page2.htm" rel="prev">Last page</a>

The rel values help google understand how any two pages are related to each other, and they should be used where appropriate to lower the chances of being caught for duplicate content and to increase chances of ranking higher in search engines.

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