June 30, 2023

Is Webflow's Pagination an SEO Problem?

UPDATE: As of 28-Jan-2024, the pagination query params are showing in the canonicals. Is it a bug? Is it intentional? Will it stay or will it go?
I'm uncertain, but it's not on the updates list.

I often see forum posts and wishlist items where designers worry about how Webflow handles pagination from an SEO perspective.

To recap, here's how it works.

When a page contains a paginated collection list, and you navigate to page 2 of that list, the URL changes to include a querystring part that looks something like this;


That querystring param tells Webflow's server which page of content you want for that specific list- which is indicated by the internal collection list ID kl2j343.

If you have 20 collection lists on your page, and all of them are paginated, it's possible to have 20 of these pagination params on your querystring.

But when it comes to SEO, all of these pages are given the same canonical URL by Webflow's publishing system, and none of them are added to the sitemap.xml.

Why Designers Worry

Designers seem to worry because AHREFS throws some "orphaned page" errors in its SEO reports- but I really don't think they need to.

These paginated URLs do not serve any useful SEO purpose.

In my view, and in watching the stats of over 100 Webflow sites, I think Webflow has taken exactly the right approach to this.

Here's why designers don't need to worry.

Why This Isn't a Problem

Google Sees this as Correct Behavior

In Google Search Console you may have seen a warning "Alternate Page with Proper Canonical Tag".

From RankMath-

[When] there are two versions of a page on your website having the same canonical URL, Google will simply exclude the duplicate version and index the main version of the page. This ideally means Google recognizes these canonicalized URLs correctly, and there is nothing you need to do on your part.

Indexing is Impossible- the Math Simply Doesn't Work

Webflow's pagination querystring params are a navigation mechanic- not an SEO mechanic or content organization strategy.

Trying to index these pages doesn't add up.

Let’s say you have 20 paginated collection lists on your homepage, each set to show 1 item per page. Each of these lists points to a collection containing only 100 items.

The number of pagination URL permutations you have is;
100^20 = 1×10^40



That's a lot of pages.

Want to know how many pages in total Google has indexed in the whole World?


Yep. A measly 50 billion.

Google couldn't even index your site. To index your homepage alone, you'd need 200 octillion Googles.

The math just doesn't work.

But, most sites don't have 20 paginated collection lists, so let's look at some other aspects of indexing paginated URLs.

The Duplicate Content Problem

Let’s say you have a blog post page, but that page has a “more articles” section at the bottom, which is a paginated collection list.

You set pagination to 10 items, but you have 500 blog articles on your site. That’s 50 paginated pages.

If you give those pages distinct canonicals, then from Google’s perspective, you are asking them to index 51 copies of the exact same blog post, with some irrelevant content variations at the bottom of the page.

That's probably more likely to harm your SEO, than benefit it.

Webflow’s approach mitigates that, because all of your paginated pages indicate the same canonical URL, which points search engines to Page 1.

Simple, and awesome.

Too Much Noise, Not Enough Sygnal 😆

In most sites, I focus on content generation, which that new content is continually being added to my sites.

That means that if Google indexes ?kl2j343_page=3 of some page, the content there will likely have changed by the time someone clicks that link. And if you've sorted that list randomly, how does that even work?

They came looking for something, and now they can't find it.

Congratulations, you've just annoyed your brand new prospect on their very first click.

I’d much rather visitors see and click the Collection Page search result instead, which actually contains the full version of the content they are looking for.

That’s a far better customer experience and it results in higher conversions too.

Why Webflow Chose this Approach

Understanding Google's Guidance

Have a read through Google’s SEO guidance on pagination. It contains guidance for how to index the paginated pages themselves.

Indexing those pages makes sense in a situation where;

  • You have paginated set of unique items, like a comment feed
  • That content doesn’t exist anywhere else except in the paginated list
  • The entire page is solely about that content, e.g. page 1 and page 2 have no duplicate content

That’s not the feature Webflow has built.

Webflow supports paginated collection lists rather than pages. You cannot take a long-form article page, and tell Webflow to make it 3 pages. However, you can have up to 20 collection lists on the page each of which can be filtered to show a different paging.

This is a filtered-view feature- you stay on the same page, with only one part changed.

If you’re Webflow, how do you give designers flexible pagination support at the collection list level, without nuking the system with a million useless pages and a 5GB sitemap?

You design it as a filter query.

Webflow's pagination is a UX and navigation convenience, not a content delivery mechanism. Use your collection pages for the content delivery and you’ll get much better SEO results.

Querystrings & Technical SEO

Querystrings are an interesting corner of SEO. In some platform architectures, the querystring is essential to finding the right content, e.g. articleId=1290. In other platforms like Webflow's, the querystring is used to communicate filter settings such as collection list pagination.

Finsweet's CMS filter does the same- you'll see you filter settings on the querystring, but the canonical is not adjusted to include them, because they are just filter settings.

Best Practices

Here’s the approach I use with Webflow;

  1. Design your SEO value into the collection pages, not paginated collection lists. That means that any SEO-rich content, even things like CMS-stored customer testimonials get their own collection pages.
  2. Use Webflow’s canonical URL feature to direct all attention to the page containing the collection list(s), and do not worry about the pagination of those lists.
  3. Avoid trying to SEO paginated collection list pages - they are not where the value is, and you do not want noise in your SERPs. Let Webflow's auto-generated sitemap do its job and direct all attention to the individual item collection pages where the SEO value is.
  4. Keep generating content. Blog posts, news & press releases, customer testimonials, new products and variants…

This strategy results in excellent SEO, and all-green in Google Search Console.


We’ve had great SEO success with this approach for the past 6 years on WF, and even though I can easily change those canonicals and sitemap using our reverse proxy layer, there’s never been a reason to. It works great as-designed.

All of the other SEO experts we've worked with agree. A lot of the work Sygnal does is specialized for dedicated SEO agencies, and none of them want to change how Webflow's pagination works.

Not even one.

We focus instead on things like core web vitals and flexible semantic paths for collection hierarchies.


Don’t stress about SEO reports like AHREFs. They are designed to worry about every possible anomaly with no understanding of your site platform architecture or content structure. Your time can be much better invested in useful SEO improvements, like better content.


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