Google introduced the rel=prev/next markup in 2011 but supporting it years ago without telling anybody about it. If you’re like many other marketers, you’ve been using rel=prev/next for its SEO benefits and to identify the previous and next articles in a complete series.
While the markup was useful for blogs, it was also ideal for ecommerce sites that wanted to highlight products that belonged in the same category.
Now that Google is no longer supporting the markup, should you adapt your code?
The answer is no. If you have rel=prev/next in your code, there’s no reason to remove it. Google will not penalise you for leaving it there and there are other search engines that still use it to discover pages and understand site structures anyway.
Now that rel=prev/next is a thing of the past, there are a few things you can do to optimise your category pages:
Overall, there’s no need to get rid of rel=prev/next. Many marketers are keeping it in place to have it work like a rel canonical. Whatever you do, just make sure that Google knows which page is Page One.