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Managing necessary duplicate content. What tags to use?

 4:06 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

This is a long post, but it is a question, not a rant.

I have a section on a website that features a number of simple quizzes.

For each quiz, I have created an individual pre-test study page. Each study page simply shows the quiz's graphic(s) and then lists the questions and answers that are tested about.

Due to the simple nature of the quizzes, the amount of text content on each study page is often very sparse (even less than than 150 words).

I fear that Google devalues these pages because of thin content and the fact that some quizzes are about the same topic (just intended for different age groups). (I could, possibly, beef the word count on these pages but I would still have similar/duplicate content issues with them.)

I've decided to combine same-topic study pages into a single jumbo page, so to minimize duplicate content and beef up the word count.

The problem is, in this jumbo format, the content looses funtionality.
1) It will be way too long for teachers to conveniently print (due to the large number of test graphics).
2)When printing it, you'll be printing out the study materials for more than one quiz, intended for more than one age group.

I thought I could create the jumbo page (for Google), yet still allow link access to the old (small) study pages for teacher convenience. Leaving the small pages in place will create a situation of exact duplicate content.

I'm afraid teachers will be more incline to link to the small study pages (which they may do for their student's online reference) rather than the jumbo one, because it's more on-target for what their purposes are.

Of course I don't want to loose out on this link juice.

So my question involves how to manage this situation in relation to Google.

I assume I want to -
<meta name="robots" content="noindex,follow">
the small study pages. This way there are no duplicate content issues and link juice flows to the jumbo page.

I'm unclear about the use of -
<link rel="canonical" href="">
in this case. Should I use it on the small pages, and for the URL put the jumbo page's url (since the same content is found on that page)? How should this tag be used, if at all?

I've also seen some information about the tags rel="prev" and am unclear if that's appropriate here (Is this a pagination issue?).




 10:49 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

I don't know for sure, but it seems to me that the "noindex,follow" metatag should be sufficient by itself to avoid any problems.


 11:20 pm on May 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

...it seems to me that the "noindex,follow" metatag should be sufficient by itself to avoid any problems.



 12:07 am on May 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

It might be a good idea to add the "noindex,follow" tag to the small pages and then make sure they get crawled, before adding the jumbo page to the website. This would avoid a possible initial time overlap when both small and jumbo pages are indexed.

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