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Does "noindex" avoid duplicate content penalty

9:22 pm on Apr 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Google says the best website design for visitors is the best design for Google but it isn't necessarily so.

I have a non-commercial legacy website for a recently deceased opera singer which includes audio files. When the links to the audio files were organized on about a dozen separate pages google gave the pages good ranks but visitors ignored the content on lower level pages. When I put everything on one large page the visitors loved it but Google drastically lowered the ranking of the combined content.

I'd like to have the smaller pages to please google and the combined page for the convenience of visitors.

If I link the small pages via the site index and put noindex and nofollow on the combined page, will google ignore the big page so there is no penalty for duplicate content or suspicion of "doorway" pages?

Thanks in advance for any help with this.


9:37 pm on Apr 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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If you put a noindex tag on all but one version of a page, then all those versions are not considered by the search engine.

This is especially important in forum software, for example, see this older discussion [webmasterworld.com] for more information.

6:24 am on Apr 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I have basically the same question, only mine is concerning pages with links to a printable version of the page ...

Googlebot is currently going thru new content on one of my sites big time (YEA!). However, my logs are showing that Googlebot is hitting a lot of my "print page" links ...

For example, my site has the following structure:


The above would be the url to the main page for cheap blue widgets. Visitors will get the normal page, with regular html formatting, etc. However, if the visitor wishes to print this page out (without the html formatting), I provide a link (on the main page) to do so as follows:


This page is specially formatted to print on a standard 8.5 x 11 page.

From my log reviews, Googlebot is really liking the printable page links, but I am worried about the dup content issue.

Should I include the "noindex" meta tag to the printable page?

Thanks in advance :)

7:54 am on Apr 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Yes Catch2948, you should use "noindex" in your print pages to avoid duplicate content.
2:58 pm on Apr 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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There's really no "duplicate content" penalty. What happens is two things. Number one, Google won't list two pages with similar content near each other in the SERPs, so one of the duplicate pages gets pushed down. Number two, if there are two pages on your site with similar content, some people may link to one and other people link to the other. So PR is split between the pages.

So the answer to the OP's question is ... no. It won't make any difference, though getting rid of the "duplicate" page (with a 301 redirect to the other page) may help.

-- Roger


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