Google's rel=prev/next Messaging: Nothing Has Changed

Mar 25, 2019 - 8:38 am 0 by

Google Nothing Changed

Google keeps saying the same thing over and over again regarding their communication around the rel=prev/next blunder. Simply that nothing has changed, to do pagination just like you always have been doing and that is it.

To catch you all up, Google last week shocked the SEO and developer community when they said that they haven't supported rel=prev/next for years. It turns out that Gary Illyes from Google discovered it and Google had to quickly tell the community that they don't support it the way they have been telling SEOs for the past several years.

To be clear, Google did apologize saying "We apologize for any confusion. This was an oversight and something that we should have communicated proactively before taking down the documentation. As our systems improve over time, there may be instances where specific types of markup is not as critical as it once was, and we’re committed to providing guidance when changes are made."

But their webmaster trends analyst team keep echoing the same message - and that is - "nothing has changed." We posted the advice post rel=prev/next change and that basically says don't change anything, keep doing what you are doing.

A new Reddit thread has the same story from John Mueller of Google. Here are some quotes:

There are other reasons to use link rel next/prev, it's not just for Google; some browsers may use it, and it makes sense for accessibility reasons too. Definitely no need to take it out of pages.

No need to change anything in your pagination. If it's worked for you in the last years, it'll continue to work like that. Not supporting link-rel-next/prev doesn't mean you need to remove pagination. Pagination existed before, and it'll continue to exist going forward.

It doesn't change anything, because it's already been working like that for your site. If the site has been crawlable/indexable in the last year, it's already shown that it's crawlable/indexable without those link elements. Another nice part is that there's less vagueness involved (what does the link element do here?), so you can also use a crawler of your own to check how the site is crawlable.

Definitely keep pagination.

Yep - the pages need to be able to stand on their own. There's no change in that regard - if you want something indexed, put content on it so that it's worthy of indexing, and useful for users who go there.

You can see - he keeps saying the same thing.

(1) Nothing has changed.

(2) Keep pagination the way you've been doing it.

(3) Keep rel=next/prev there.

(4) Make your content on each page stand on their own.

Nothing has changed but yet it feels like everything has changed. I know the community is still trying to figure out what to tell their clients. Do they implement a different strategy for paginated content? If so, which strategy. Do they keep it the same since Google said "nothing's changed." Can we trust Google on their other published advice? If so, when and when not?

Forum discussion at Reddit.


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