WordPress is right. The category page has all the posts for that category, and the posts themselves have the post. This is a clear duplication of content so WordPress advises to block the category and promote the posts instead.
In your case what you can do is vice-versa i.e... block the spiders from accessing the posts and let them access the categories.
Please do post the results here!
Here's how I structured my website: domain.com/HotKeyword/PostRelatedToHotKeyword/
HotKeyword is a WordPress Page but its slug exactly matches the slug of a category. So now when someone accesses domain.com/HotKeyword/ they see a WordPress Page that is full of content and that links to PostRelatedToHotKeywords.
So now I no longer have the traditional WordPress category pages. I got rid of those completely. Instead, I have manual category pages that I write myself. When I write a Post (not a Page), I file it under the category HotKeyword, so that the URL looks like domain.com/HotKeyword/PostRelatedToHotKeyword/
I used a plug-in to remove the "category" word from the URL and I used another plug-in that is called SEO siloing (I'm not sure if its functionality is a factor in this setup though).
I feel that the internal linking structure of my website is much cleaner now and makes more sense.
[edited by: caveman at 12:36 am (utc) on Nov. 2, 2008]
Not many people are using this technique; I suggest you stick with the masses. Though what you are saying technically sounds good as far as SEO is concerned, but like they say – make site for the people and not for the search engines. I suggest you stick to the basics.
DilipShaw, people are not using this technique simply because it requires extra work to implement.
It simply boils down to this...Which is better (from a human surfer's point of view):
I do the first scenario, WordPress does the second, and that's only when you fix the permalinks!
You mean just using a plug-in is extra work?
We are all very hard working and will go all way to test new things. Anything that gives traffic is good. I feel somehow this plug-in must have not given desired results, and so bloggers are not using.
But please do post the outcome here!
You can customize the archive/category pages any way you want to. They don't have to have the posts themselves; they can have just the post title as anchor text, linking to the individual pages with the posts.
DilipShaw, did you read the news about a WordPress blog that sold for $15mil to a bank? Part of the reason that blog sold for this much is because it's very well SEO'd. It uses page structure similar to what I did.
I can't give you before-and-after analysis of my results as I didn't have enough content when I got started, but from the few increased rankings that I saw, I guess I'm better off with this new structure.
Marcia, thanks for the tip. I was just not sure if I should try to rank the category page higher than the post pages. Now I'm happy with the clean structure that I have.
msafi I was not against whatever you were trying - its just that I think for a starter its better to stick to the basics and not get carried away. At a later stage you can try and test whatever you want.
Of course if you are seeing good results you must use them.
And any blog is better off if its posts are ranked well rather than categories.