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:

4.12.5.13.1 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.

4.12.5.13.2 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 <body>.
  • 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.

Futher Facts

  • Searchers prefer the “view-all” page, because of the LATENCY.

This post is developing….