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Will NOINDEX hurt me because of fewer total pages?

 8:19 pm on Aug 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

I have a site with about 1200 pages. About 1000 or so are almost identical as they are product pages for different types of t shirts. So the title and image are different but the descriptions are the same. Most of my site was supplemental, I am guessing because most of it was dup content. So I put a NOINDEX tag on all those pages and only kept the INDEX tag on the 80 or so main product pages, which are optimized nicely and have unique content. Those 80 pages are now indexed fine and show up OK in searches. But they do not do as well as I would like (They have decent links and are all at least a PR3) and I am wondering if it is because Google thinks my site is only 80 pages TOTAL.
Does it help to have a big site with more pages, even though many would be considered dup content or does Google recognize that my site is larger than the 80 pages it has indexed?
Basically, what I am asking is do you think the NOINDEX tag on 90% of my site is hurting it and I should take the tags off?
Thanks in advance


natural number

 8:29 pm on Aug 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

Keep me posted on how you handle all of this and the effects because I'm in the same position as you.


 3:09 am on Aug 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

My opinion is that, yes, indeed you might hurt yourself. This sounds to me like an over-reaction to seeing "Supplemental Result" by your urls, exactly th kind of thing that Google is hoping to avoid by removing the tag altogether.

I say let Google deal with your honest pages however they choose. Removing 1200 out of 1280 from the index is quite extreme, and I would not advise it. So what if Google chooses, for now, to put the bulk of them in the side cupboard and only haul them out for special occasions? Let them have access to the whole site so that as you grow, they can fold more pages into the main index, at whatever pace they see fit.

I know of PR4 pages that were marked as Supplemental. Still, there's no way I'm going to remove those urls. All it means is that the site should continue to grow the business. And, yes, removing 95% of all your urls from the Google index might well hurt you. There is a kind of PR circulation that occurs internally - and having many unique pages in the index only helps that.

Supplemental Results were tagged in green letters, not "Scarlet Letters" like the mark of some awful sin.

...the title and image are different but the descriptions are the same.

So, in addition to getting more links over time, you also need to make sure each url has a unique description. Tht alone won't do it, but it will help.


 12:07 pm on Aug 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

I was under the impression that duplicate content was only a small part of the "supplemental" algorithm/tagging?


 2:04 pm on Aug 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

Thanks very much for your reply! That was very helpful.
The reason I added the noindex in the first place was because G was even adding my 'good' pages to the supplemental in many cases -it seemed like they considered everything dup content. And after I added the noindex, the good pages came out of supp. There is no practical way to change the descriptions on the 1100 or so pages to make them unique. The products on them are exactly the same except for the title/image, so even if I had a free 10 weeks to change the descriptions, I would have nothing to say differently 1100 times, or even 10 times for that matter- they are describing the exact same products (t shirts).
I will remove the noindex and see if it helps or hurts- if the indexed pages just stayed there and a couple others were added every now and then, that would be great, but I just am scared that the indexed pages will get put into supp also...
Does anyone else have any thoughts?


 3:33 pm on Aug 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

Does each t-shirt really need to have a dedicated page to itself then?


 3:39 pm on Aug 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yes, its just the product page, and each product needs to have its own. But according to the previous posts having those extra dup pages should not hurt at all and might help...


 4:02 pm on Aug 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

I was under the impression that duplicate content was only a small part of the "supplemental" algorithm/tagging?

About the only thing somewhat semi-official that we know about the supplemental index was from Matt Cutts Big Daddy update post where he mentioned links being a factor. I think the dupe content talk started as speculation, but has been repeated so very often -- without any basis as far as I can see -- that it's become accepted among some folks.


 4:22 pm on Aug 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well I have removed the NOINDEX tag from all pages. I am just praying that my 90 or so category pages, which are all indexed and showing OK in searches, do not now get bumped into suplemental...It will be interesting and scary to see if adding all these mostly dup pages helps, hurts or has no effect.


 9:13 pm on Aug 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

"Removing 1200 out of 1280 from the index is quite extreme"

It's far from extreme if 1200 pages of his site are near-duplicate stub pages with little content. Ideally, I would say write unique descriptions for those pages, but what if you don't have the time?

If you got paper thin stub pages with weak backlinks (assume since they're supplemental) they will not rank anyway.

Another option is to build more backlinks. With a TBPR 5~6 home page (assuming that's where most of your IBL/internal links point at) you can probably get a good percentage of 1280 pages in the main index. 80 pages out of 1280 in the main index sounds to me like a site with a TBPR 3-4 home page? Just be careful not to leave obvious footprints when building artificial links, else PageRanks flowing into your site may get devalued.

Duplicate text, btw, has nothing to do with supplemental results. Several Googlers has repeated that time after time.

Other non-PageRank-related factors confirmed by Google are page staleness and URL complexity. I'm sure there are other minor factors Google hasn't bothered to mention yet.

Shedding pages means higher PageRank for the remainder of your site and at the end of the day less pages in the supplemental index. I wouldn't worry about every supplemental page, but IMO its important to structure your site so that at least your key landing pages aren't supplemental.

[edited by: Halfdeck at 9:17 pm (utc) on Aug. 4, 2007]


 9:30 pm on Aug 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

Thanks- none of my key landing pages are supplemental. Only the individual product pages. (well now those are not indexed, but since I just removed the noindex tag, we will see)...
I really do not care if they remain supplemental as long as they do not cause the other pages to go supplemental. I am just wondering if having them not indexed is hurting my other pages...thats all.

Robert Charlton

 10:42 pm on Aug 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

they are describing the exact same products (t shirts).

I think the solution to this kind of problem lies in site architecture rather than in noindex.

Eg, if the variants for any different t-shirt style are merely different colors, have one core page for your style and then the pages for different color branching off of this core page only... maybe linking back only to the site home, the core page, and to other colors within the style.

This is top of my head, without seeing your site. It may also be that you simply have too many pages, that you can consolidate some of your subtle variants and actually help your site.

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