Google has just announced the use of rel=”next” and rel=”prev”. Similar to rel=”canonical” which essentially acts as a strong hint for duplicate content, you can now use the HTML link elements rel=”next” and rel=”prev” to indicate the relationship between relevant URLs in a paginated series of pages.
What are “next” and “prev”?
According to HTML Living Standard updated on14 September 2011, here are the definition of “next” and “prev” link types:
22.214.171.124.1 Link type “next”
- The next keyword may be used with link, a, and area elements. This keyword creates a hyperlink.
- The next keyword indicates that the document is part of a sequence, and that the link is leading to the document that is the next logical document in the sequence.
126.96.36.199.2 Link type “prev”
- The prev keyword may be used with link, a, and area elements. This keyword creates a hyperlink.
- The prev keyword indicates that the document is part of a sequence, and that the link is leading to the document that is the previous logical document in the sequence.
- Synonyms: For historical reasons, user agents must also treat the keyword “previous” like the prev keyword.
If you choose to include rel=”next” and rel=”prev” markup on the component pages within a series, you’re giving Google a strong hint that you’d like to:
- Consolidate indexing properties, such as links, from the component pages/URLs to the series as a whole (i.e., links should not remain dispersed between page-1.html, page-2.html, etc., but be grouped with the sequence).
- Send users to the most relevant page/URL—typically the first page of the series.
Things you should consider:
- The first page only contains rel=”next” and no rel=”prev” markup.
- Pages two to the second-to-last page should be doubly-linked with both rel=”next” and rel=”prev” markup.
- The last page only contains markup for rel=”prev”, not rel=”next”.
- rel=”next” and rel=”prev” values can be either relative or absolute URLs (as allowed by the
<link>tag). And, if you include a
<base>link in your document, relative paths will resolve according to the base URL.
- rel=”next” and rel=”prev” only need to be declared within the
<head>section, not within the document
- Google allows rel=”previous” as a syntactic variant of rel=”prev” links.
- rel=”next” and rel=”previous” on the one hand and rel=”canonical” on the other constitute independent concepts. Both declarations can be included in the same page
- rel=”prev” and rel=”next” act as hints to Google, not absolute directives.
- When implemented incorrectly, such as omitting an expected rel=”prev” or rel=”next” designation in the series, Google will continue to index the page(s), and rely on their own heuristics to understand your content.
- Searchers prefer the “view-all” page, because of the LATENCY.