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How To Take Advantage Of A Result Page?

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8 replies to this topic

#1 philippeb


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Posted 22 April 2013 - 07:51 AM

Hi all,


To makes things easy, my site basically has two pages:

  • A form page. This is the page where the users come first, and this is the page Google is supposed to consider... and like.
  • A result page. This page is reached after the form page has bee validated. Because this page is hidden behind a POST, Google is not supposed to take it into account. It's not listed in the sitemap or whatever.

However, Google does take the result page into account, because, for some reasons, the result page is linked by some other sites. This wasn't really an expected scenario, but it happened. This causes an issue: as the form and result pages speak more or less of the same topic, they compete for the same search terms. Whereas the form page should stand alone in Google's mind.


The solutions I envisioned:


Blacklist the result page


I could prevent Google from looking at the result page via the robot.txt file, or from the Webmaster tools. However, I don't want to throw the baby with the bathwater: the result page is somehow popular for the search terms I target. So even if I don't want the result page to fight against the form page, I still want my site to get all the external links credits. I'm afraid that, by excluding the result page, I will also loose the benefits of the result page's popularity.


Substitute redirect code: 302 for users, 301 for Google - Is it cloaking?


Accessing the result page directly (not through the form page) does not make sense. So any user who types the URL of the result page is redirected to the form page with a 302. Here, 302 is suitable because the redirection is temporary. In a minute, the user may be back because he now uses the form page first.


I thought about exposing a 301 status code to Google in that situation. It makes sense because, as Google cannot do a POST, there is no way for it to access the result page correctly. So for it, the redirection is permanent. Let's make is clear: this is not regular cloaking, ie. exposing a different content to Google and users. The code basically says:

If Google
  Code = 301
  Code = 302
Redirect with Code

At that point, I have a question: is it cloaking of not? Apparently, this does not match the regular definition of cloaking, because content and links are not affected by this behavior. Yet, I suspect Google to consider all "If Google" as cloaking. Any advice?


Keeping 302 for everyone


I could just stick to the 302 status code for everyone. No cloaking ambiguity here. But I know that 302 is less effective than a hard 301 when you want to say to Google "give all the credits to this page".



What is the best option? Which solutions do I overlook?






#2 torka


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Posted 22 April 2013 - 09:02 AM

You're going to have to do some scripting to avoid a redirect loop for people who fill out the form (which would send them to the results page -- you don't want them to then be redirected back to the form page). But I assume you had realized that already. :)


So in your script, use a 301 for everybody. It is a permanent redirect, in that you always want people (and Google) to start out on the form page, right? You only want people to be able to access the results page after they've completed the form. Unless you're planning to change things at some point in the future so that people will directly access the results page without going through the form page first, your redirect is permanent.


"Permanent" versus "temporary" refers to how long you plan to keep the redirect active, not what happens after the redirect fires off. In this case, it seems you'll be keeping that redirect in place for a long time, so it would be "permanent." ("A long time" is the closest you'll get to "permanent" In Real Life on the Web.)


It doesn't matter that they will see the results "in a minute" -- they only get there as a result of an action they've taken, which is a separate issue from a redirect.


--Torka :propeller:

#3 Jill


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Posted 22 April 2013 - 10:33 AM

Block the results page via noindex. 

#4 Michael Martinez

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Posted 22 April 2013 - 10:34 AM

I would just embed a "Noindex" robots directive on the results page.


ON EDIT:  Hah!  Jill beat me to it!  :)

Edited by Michael Martinez, 22 April 2013 - 10:35 AM.

#5 philippeb


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Posted 23 April 2013 - 03:51 PM

Thank you all for your help! Noindex seems to be the guy. 

#6 ElvisH


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Posted 28 April 2013 - 08:43 AM

fmo noindex seems to be the wrong thing to do!

as you wrote, both form page and result page gain some relevancy with different keywords.


I would have take advantage of it and split the keywords to the two pages, and add the right key phrases / words to each.

#7 Jill


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Posted 28 April 2013 - 10:34 AM

@Elvis that doesn't really make sense. A thank you form is not a page one would generally expect or want to receive from the search engines. Not to mention how it would completely ruin your conversion data.

#8 philippeb


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Posted 05 June 2013 - 04:54 PM

Thank you all for your messages.


Just to follow up: before posting the initial message, I setup a 302 redirect (the "Keeping 302 for everyone" solution) and decided to give it a try before testing the suggested solutions.


Apparently, it worked. The form page now ranks better, and I have good confidence that the 302 thing was the reason for this.

#9 Jill


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Posted 05 June 2013 - 10:41 PM

How can that work? Then nobody will get the thank you page. 

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