News Courtesy of Yoast.com:
Sometimes you wonder if Google even knows how Google works. Search is getting more complex by the day and there comes a point where it’s anybody’s guess. Yesterday, Google ‘announced’ that its search engine doesn’t use the pagination markup
rel=prev/nextat all and hasn’t for years. That’s curious because they have been advocating using it until very recently.
So what are we talking about here?
The web standard
rel=prev/nextwas introduced many, many years ago to help determine relations between part of URLs or different pages. In 2011, Google started using those links as a strong hint to discover pages that were related. Almost every site now uses these links to provide these hints. Yoast SEO automatically adds these links for our users. Now, it turns out Googlebot is deemed so ‘smart’ by Google that it doesn’t need help anymore.
I’m noticing that some SEO’s are starting to panic about this. There is some thought that removing the next and prev tags should be implemented on a site-wide scale. I think this is a bit of an overreaction and would say don’t waste your time. I doubt any benefits would be gained from doing this.
Personally, I would love to see Google penalize sites that abuse topical pagination. Hear me out. I’m not talking about when it makes sense to do so. For example, my Niche Dreams blog series consists of several posts currently. Each post is anywhere from 1500 to 3500 words. It would be insane to combine them all into one mega post. Especially, since different sub-topics are the focal point.
What I’m advocating a penalty for are those media/social websites that force you to navigate through a slideshow. Usually, this is clickbait material such as “Top 25 Romantic Movies”. Instead of putting the list with commentary on one page, 25 separate pages are created. It’s an annoying way to generate more impressions for ads as well as decrease bounce rate and increase user engagement. I typically don’t feed into these things and bail out after I notice this format.
It’s interesting to read that many SEO professionals aren’t buying the claim that Googlebot doesn’t make use of rel/prev tags. It’s sort of akin to my belief that backlinks are a huge priority as a ranking factor even though Google has stated otherwise. There is just too much evidence and studies to believe otherwise. Additionally, other search engines like Bing and DuckDuckGo might rely on the next/prev tags. So my advice would be to continue using (or not using them) as you normally would but try to contain primary topics on one page if possible.