crobb305 - 9:52 pm on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)
I've recently been seeing, beginning roughly Thursday (April 14), that, for a given query, Google appears to be shifting the entry page it returns for a site to pages that it's deciding are more useful. It could have been happening sooner.
I have observed this on my site. Hard-hit by Panda overall (-60% traffic), I have one inner page that improved in ranking, and consistently shows up in the top 10 for some queries. Occasionally, Google will display my homepage there instead of that inner page -- in the exact same ranking. I've seen this happen a few times in the past 2 weeks.
What should we do with PHP pages where the main purpose of these are to redirect to another site depending on the parameter passed. Should these links be put in a directory that is blocked by robots? I can see that the spiders are indexing all the variations of these pages. Several hundred to be exact. Do these count as thin pages?
This has been one of my biggest questions. For years, I have housed my affiliate links in a php redirect file. I have always blocked that file via robots.txt, but because Google couldn't follow the links, it was indexing them (with no description). My guess is that they are/were being classified as "thin".
I have often changed out affiliate links. When I deleted links out of the redirect file, Google wasn't able to discover the 404, and continued to index them. Over the years, dozens were accumulating. At the time of Panda, 30 redirect links were indexed in Google and 90% of them were 404 (and have been for over a year, but Google didn't know it). I have since removed the robots.txt denial and the dead redirect links have been deleted from the index. Only 2 valid links remain, but I am trying to figure out the best way to handle this in the future. If I were to add the deny back into robots.txt, those links would simply reappear in the index because Googlebot keeps requesting them from memory...if it can't encounter a 404, then it will reindex them.
Can a noindex, nofollow be added into a php redirect file above the script?