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Canonical'ed Pages with noindex getting indexed

8:49 am on Oct 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Hey all,
since yesterday the amount of indexed pages jumped from 20k to 100k with the site: query. I hacked around a little and found that tons of pages got indexed where the following pattern occurs:
the page itself is noindex, follow and it has a canonical-url that points to a page that is index,follow.
Can it be that Google attempts to index pages too, that point (via canonical) to an indexed page?

The situation at hand are listing pages on an ecommerce site, where we've indexed the default sorting and have put the other sortings on noindex + canonical to the default sorting.

Anyone else seeing this issue?
5:17 pm on Oct 18, 2011 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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This sounds like a technical bug - either at Google or possibly something you haven't yet noticed on your site. I certainly hope that these estblished standards haven't been completely thrown out.
12:45 am on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I always thought one should use either noindex or canonical link element, but not both as it does not make sense.

If both (canonical and noindex) are used on the same page, and especially if the noindex is coupled with "follow" (implicitly or explicitly), then should Google follow the links or not? Canonical link element sends the message "do not bother with this page, there is another one I want you to use instead". But then the explicit "follow" contradicts canonical link element.

I can see how Google can get confused although Google should be handle it better.
8:27 am on Oct 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Interesting thought on both noindex and canonical. I always thought two are better than one. Seems to be the opposite here. I'll give it a spin and see how it goes. Thanks for the moment!
9:17 pm on Nov 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I know I am taking this a little off topic, I am making a new site at the moment and all this talk of thin content has made me want to do things right from the start. My Contact Us page, would this be considered thin content, and should I put a meta noindex tag on it?
10:02 am on Dec 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

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nah, I'd say it's legit content that could be indexed nor would it be considered thin (what the heck shall else be on a contact us page? This type of page is well known to Google).

For the purpose of optimizing the number of pages you have in the index you might want to set it to noindex, but the effect will be little because one more page in the index doesn't change the game. Also, people might want to search for it, i.e. "phone number (Your Company)".