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What to do with pages that have a 24 hr life span

3:35 pm on Aug 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

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On a website I work on, we create 100's of new pages a day. These urls are unique and have a life span of a few hours. There’s very little content and it's gone 24 hours later. Pages become custom 404 error pages.

Although they get a bit of traffic on long tail phrases, it's quite insignificant and that's unlikely to change.

I'm considering placing a no follow tag on the links to these pages. I believe the other pages on the site will get a bump up. On one particular category page we’ve got 300 unique links; 200 of which will be gone tomorrow and the other 100 will have a longer life span.

Would you "PR Sculpt" on this site? Unfortunately I can't change the site architecture.

Any comments would be appreciated.

5:55 pm on Aug 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Placing a nofollow tag on the incoming links won't help the ranking of the other pages in Google. When the nofollow tag was first introduced that was the case, but after webmasters started to use the nofollow tag for page rank sculpting, Google changed their link juice distribution algorithm. Link juice floating over a nofollow link is now totally discarded, rather than reassigned to other links.

What you may try to do is adding the temporary links in JavaScript, rather than in plain HTML. The search engines may not be able to interpret the JavaScript code--especially if the .js file is stored in a directory which is excluded in robots.txt--but the downside is that visitors without JavaScript enabled won't see the links to the fast changing pages.
10:43 am on Aug 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Thanks lammert. That was very helpful. I did hear that before but there seems to be a lot of confusion with No Follow Tags.

Long term plan is to put these links in JS.

Short term, I may still no follow these links. I'd rather if Google didn't waste resources crawling these pages when there are higher value pages they could be going to.

3:06 pm on Aug 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I am just curious why you haven't chosen to update content of 100 pages with stable URLs instead of creating 100 new and killing 100 old pages every day. What kind of application is it?
4:50 pm on Aug 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Long term plan is to put these links in JS.

That may not help the PageRank situation. Consensus is that JavaScript links create PageRank black holes, the same as nofollowed links do. See this discussion...

Is This Javascript Link SEO Friendly?
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4189095.htm [webmasterworld.com]

Nofollowing the links will not give the other pages on the site "a bump up."

Several options that occur, if you have any dynamic control of the page code (which I'm assuming you might, as how else would you nofollow the links?)....

- Removing the expired pages would be my preferred approach, as it would help by search engines and users.

- Archiving the expired pages, so there aren't multiple links to them taking a large share of available PageRank on a page, would be another approach.

- Adding the noindex,follow meta robots tag to each of the expired pages and linking back either to the parent page or home would be yet another approach. While this would recirculate PR and take the pages out of the index, it would not help the user experience.

For some further detail on robots.txt vs meta robots noindex vs rel="nofollow", see this discussion....

Robots.txt vs. meta robots noindex?


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