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It's fairly simple to change the titles or meta tags with php. The question is, which one to change? Is it better to have:
widgets-blue.html-price-ASC<title>Blue Widgets by Price</title>
widgets-blue.html-size-ASC<title>Blue Bidgets by Size</title>
or, just add a robots="no index" in the mete tags for anything other than widgets-blue.html?
The first method will obviously give me three times as many pages but what good is it if they cause a duplicate content problem? But than again, it's not really duplicate content, or is it? I find it strange this hasn't been covered in here before.
www.blue-widgets.html <title>Buy Blue Widgets
www.blue-widgets-price.html <title>Buy Blue Widgets
www.blue-widgets-size.html <title>Buy Blue Widgets
www.blue-widgets-style.html <title>Buy Blue Widgets
Question is, is it better to change the titles and descriptions for each or to just put in a noindex tag for anything other then just blue-widgets.html?
For a site that is just now instituting sort pages, I agree that restricting which urls get indexed can be wise, especially if the site doesn't have really strong PR. However, your site already has the sort pages in place, correct? I've seen lots of people try to 'fix' something because of something they read, and they end up hurting their business.
So I was wondering if you see some signs that your sort pages are in some way problematic. In other words, Google may already be handing your urls quite nicely for you. If so, you might cause a problem when you're just trying to make something better.
On the other hand, if there are symptoms of trouble -- then yes, I agree that a simple title change is probably not enough to fix things and you will want to exclude the sort pages from being indexed to see if that helps.
[edited by: tedster at 11:24 pm (utc) on Dec. 20, 2006]
If you have a page with 100 items and 10 words each you have 1,000 words. Now if you sort it a different way then you have 1,000 of the same words, but in a completely different order. I would think G would be hard pressed to view that as duplicate content.
Maybe if all 1000 words in a completely different order. But you wouldn't have that- you'd have 100 groups of 10 words in a different order. It's not that difficult to match 10 words.
If G is going to start penalizing two pages for having 10 words in the same order then there's not going to be very many pages in it's index ;)
I do see what you're saying though.
[edited by: ALbino at 11:29 pm (utc) on Dec. 20, 2006]