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News Section Overview: Noindex, Follow Or Canonical?


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8 replies to this topic

#1 seobarry

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 10:46 AM

On a website I have a news section with several sub sections, so I have for example these pages:

/news/ > containing an overview of titles and first part of text (20 or 30 words or so) of the last 10 news articles
/news/subsection/ > same as above but now for this particular subsection

The subsections have pagination so that also the older articles remain linked on the site, so:
/news/subsection/2/
/news/subsection/3/

etc. etc.

I have now 2 questions:

- From a SEO perspective, is it ok to have a few pages like /news/ and /news/subsection/ which are indexed by Google but which don't contain any unique content? I don't have an introduction text at the top of these pages so far because I believe that they would not in any way benefit the user. The user is looking for the latest articles which are featured on the page.

- For the /news/subsection/2/ and /news/subsection/3/ etc. pages, I assume that it is best to not have these indexed as it would mean having a high number of not very interesting pages with no unique content. My idea would be to use a meta tag on these pages with "noindex, follow" so that the pages are not indexed but the links on it are followed.
Is this the best approach?
Or are there different solutions? Maybe something with rel=canonical ?







#2 Jill

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 11:00 AM

QUOTE
From a SEO perspective, is it ok to have a few pages like /news/ and /news/subsection/ which are indexed by Google but which don't contain any unique content?


No, it's not okay. Doesn't really sound good for your users either.

rel=canonical would be your best bet though, if you do believe there's a good user reason to have them.

#3 seobarry

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 10:18 AM

QUOTE(Jill @ Nov 8 2011, 05:00 PM) View Post
No, it's not okay. Doesn't really sound good for your users either.

rel=canonical would be your best bet though, if you do believe there's a good user reason to have them.


Thanks but why would having a few pages like this not be good for the users?
It is simply an overview of the latest news posts, I think that is quite common?


#4 Jill

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 04:24 PM

Well, let's just say you won't get any SEO value out of it. If it's good for your users, then have at it.


#5 Michael Martinez

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 08:24 PM

If you're just linking to the article titles with excerpts, Google should not mind. You are reducing the chance of showing any duplicate content.

If your sub-sections show basically the same content/listings as the main sections, you might have a duplicate content issue. I would not use tags on a site with sub-sections that are replicating parent section content.

Unfortunately this is a default behavior of Wordpress and a real deficiency in my opinion, but I have not sought any workarounds for the problem. I am living with it for now. I do consider it to be a user-unfriendly practice, however, because I'm basically showing the same content 2 or 3 times over (some of my sub-sections go 2 levels deep).

I may have to redesign my site at some point.

Category/section pages make great site links and people love to browse them, but I am sure that most people don't want to see the same listings over and over again. I find that annoying.


ON EDIT: I do not NoIndex secondary pages in my category archives. I see no reason to do that.

#6 Webnauts

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 07:23 PM

QUOTE(Michael%20Martinez @ Nov 11 2011, 09:24 PM) View Post
ON EDIT: I do not NoIndex secondary pages in my category archives. I see no reason to do that.

Michael can you explain why don't you see a reason for NoIndex secondary pages in your category archives?

QUOTE(Jill @ Nov 8 2011, 12:00 PM) View Post
No, it's not okay. Doesn't really sound good for your users either.

rel=canonical would be your best bet though, if you do believe there's a good user reason to have them.

rel=canonical is a directive for search engines and not for users. And even if you use rel=canonical on a page with a destination link to another page, if that page has plenty of PageRank, the PR juice can pass through the links of that page. Exactly the same thing like if you used NoIndex.

In my opinion the most effective way to go is to implement the rel=canonical AND the robots directives "noindex,noarchive,nosnippet,follow".

Anyway, if pages are useless for users, they are also useless for search engines and also for the site owner himself. Just pissing users off and for i.e Google wasting PageRank which can cause a decrease of the overall site crawl rate.

#7 Michael Martinez

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 05:53 AM

QUOTE(Webnauts @ Jan 24 2012, 04:23 PM) View Post
Michael can you explain why don't you see a reason for NoIndex secondary pages in your category archives?


They don't cause any problems for the main pages?

The pages I want found in search are found in search, so there is no reason to go dumping pages out of the index.

#8 Jill

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 09:02 AM

QUOTE
Anyway, if pages are useless for users, they are also useless for search engines and also for the site owner himself. Just pissing users off and for i.e Google wasting PageRank which can cause a decrease of the overall site crawl rate.


The discussion was based on pages that were presumably useful to the users.

#9 Michael Martinez

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 04:38 PM

QUOTE(Michael Martinez @ Jan 25 2012, 02:53 AM) View Post
They don't cause any problems for the main pages?


I struggled with finding a response to your question because I tend to look at these things a little differently from most people. When I say something like "I see no reason to ..." that means that if someone were to offer me a reason I would consider it.

With respect to de-indexing secondary pages in blog categories and such, I have read the reasons several people cite, most often having to do with concerns about duplicate content.

My feeling is that it's not a universally applicable response to blog underperformance. This is a decision that should be made on a site-by-site basis as duplication of content can be also reduced by using themes that allow you to include only article excerpts on the index pages. Some people don't want to create a lot if index pages with article excerpts -- but that's a BUSINESS decision, not an SEO decision.

The SEO strategy should always support the business decision, in my book.




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