SEOs frustrated by Google’s belated pagination announcement


March 22, 2019 3:09 pm Published by

This week, SEOs learned that Google stopped supporting the rel=prev/next markup (that indicates a web page is part of a larger set of pages) within its indexing process years ago. Having factored rel=prev/next into their site design and investing time into maintaining those structures, site owners, web designers, and SEOs have some charged emotions about the lapsed announcement. 

Here’s how Google broke the news:

Just prior to that, Google’s John Mueller laid this detail on us:


Why you mad, though?
Notable SEOs like Alan Bleiweiss and Jenny Halasz are pushing back.

While Bleiweiss insists that Google needs reinforcing signals like link relationship tags to effectively index, Halasz points out that there are other search engines out there and (perhaps more importantly) that these tags may provide support for users who rely on technology such as screen readers to navigate.  


Others are highlighting the hypocrisy.


People aren’t just upset that Google stopped supporting these tags, they feel betrayed because they’ve invested resources into making this a part of their user interface on the belief that it’s a best practice.


And, of course, there are the memes.


Translation: the joke here is that the “hreflang” attribute (which tells Google which language a page uses) is next to get the axe. (It is just a joke.)

Why you should care. As search systems evolve, the ways they use or rely on markup changes, too. This won’t be the last subtraction or addition. Google apologized for the lapsed communication and expressed it would communicate markup changes when they happen going forward.

The reactions underscore that just because Google cuts support for something doesn’t mean it may not still be valuable for user experience or recognized by other platforms. Google apologized and maintains that webmasters should use it for reasons other than indexing. Just be sure to consider the broader impact the markup might have before deciding whether or not to stop using it themselves.