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Does adding rel="next" and rel="prev" in the links for pagination help SEO or rank? An example would be:
Google loves it when a user can go to a website and easily find pages. This is the main reason Google loves sitemaps, mainly for themeselves, but they can easily index all your pages since they can crawl everything without having to actually look.
As for pagination tags, I would say there's a definite need for them if you have multiple pages trying to explain something in a step by step process or you just want to have it at the bottom of your blog so someone can cycle through your pages. And just like your sitemap, it helps the spider crawl all of your pages extremely easey.
So by having this along with an updated sitemap, you will definitely see a benefit to your SEO/Rankings.
And not only will Google, Yahoo! and Bing love your site a little more, you'll reduce your bounce rate because everyone wants to click "Next" in order to read something else. Well, as long as your content is engaging ;)
Ok, I found the answer to my second question (adding the rel tags on << and >>). Instead of adding the "rel" tag to the links (<a href>), you add a link tag in the header: