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Canonical tag used for pagination – is it right?

rel-canonical-tag

Apologies for the lack of posting, although I have a decent excuse as I broke my arm playing football two weeks ago! One handed typing does take its toll! I should have posted this earlier, but I did a blog for Intelligent Positioning on “Who is winning the early Christmas race?” and I noticed that Firebox had ignored the pagination rules and placed a canonical tag from all archived page to an “all” page. I’ll explain the methodology a little more and then you can have your say on whether this works or not.


I will be using some of the excellent SEO tools that are available to me and extract some images from the blog post I created in December 2012. Here is the setup behind Firebox’s ‘Gifts for her page’:

overview of canonical tag setup for firebox

Have you ever set anything up like this before? I know it seems to go against everything, for example – pagination is suppose to aid the journey and break up the content (what if a company had over 1,000 similar products). Firebox have decided to consolidate all value and authority to one URL, which has helped their rankings:

firebox-improvement-in-google

So, have you ever setup your product pages this way? Would you set your pages up this way? All product pages are accessible via the ‘all’ URL, but imagine you had over one thousand products? Surely this would be a poor user experience. Would be great to hear your comments below.

3 Responses to Canonical tag used for pagination – is it right?

  1. Andrea Moro says:

    Hey Andy,
    I believe your blog title is a bit misleading.

    Anyway, I haven’t personally used it as my content is “short” enough to fit into a page, but I’ve actively supported a Google Webmaster Forum’s user with that implementation, although it was a more legitimate usage.
    Canonical to redirect to a “view all” page should be in theory used when rel prev and rel next are implemented as well, and when you want to override the chain favouring the return of the “big page” which is normally preferred from a users experience prospective. This is because users are quite often bothered to see paginated content, especially when content is fragmented just for advertising sake.

    After all, by implementing the canonical, what you want is to index the content of just one canonical URL, ignoring the other pages, thus consolidating their linking properties and usually sending searchers to the most efficient page.

    So anything wrong my friend. What I would probably shift my attention to is the page load time. High latency can make the view-all less preferred hence Firebox should balance out the number of products to display. If they are offering a limited dataset like the one I saw on their site, I’m confident they will be ok.

  2. seotrench says:

    Hi Andrea.

    What if you have over 1,000 products? Is that a good user experience? I do think the title fits with the subject, I guess it is how you interpret it.

    I might do some testing. Will keep you posted.

  3. Andrea Moro says:

    In any way I will propose over 50 products in the same page … to me that is bad experience at all. As far as I saw, Firebox is not too bad, but the more the product, the more the load time and the confusion amongst users.

    I’m confident even Google will be reluctant in accepting that view-all page as the best scenario ever, and in fact, I will be surprised if they won’t decide to ignore the canonical (which I remember is a recommendation and nothing else) to abide for the first page of the chain.

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