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Noindex and sculpting in 2015

6:32 pm on Feb 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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There's always a lot of discussion about noindex, nofollow and how to really maximize the power of our "strong" pages and don't waste any link juice in those "classical" pages we need to include (privacy, policy, whatever) but we're not really interested in.

I usually try to:

1) Noindex,follow those "useless" pages
2) Put them, if possible, only in the footer

So, I'd like to know your ideas:

a) About 2) and 1) (I often read that noindex could actually be ineffective because link/links are still there)
b) Best practices when you have to put one of these pages in the main menu
c)In general

8:21 pm on Feb 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Hi DanK and welcome to the forums. That looks like the normal way to handle those links. The confusion is that the "link/links are still there" but they are supposed to be there, your site is expected to have those pages normally.

Some confusion exists about noindex preventing crawling and that is not the purpose or result of a noindex metatag. It only tells robots that this page should not be shown in the search results, "Do Not Index This Page" and that is all it does.

On a page with no footer there is nothing wrong with including a link to the privacy page in other navigation, such as a sidebar especially if that privacy page has a footer showing the other links. I would not add the whole list unless these pages have no footers. In the Main Navigation? I would try to avoid that.

I have no evidence (maybe others here do) but I'd say that those pages don't serve any purpose in the algorithms other than
and don't contribute to "link juice" in positive or negative ways.
11:26 pm on Feb 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I'm counter on many things, this being one of them.

The PR bleed on 2 or 3 pages has to be minimal. I'd be surprised if doing this made any real difference on a strong site, particularly in terms of ranking other pages.

And assuming the PR bleed is small to insignificant, there's a counterpoint. Google is looking for all sorts of quality signals. I absolutely want Google to see my privacy pages on the off chance it's a current or future quality signal. No idea if it is or not, but again, wouldn't be surprised if it made a tiny bit of difference (perhaps in conjunction with other signals).

Best guess is that neither the existence of those pages nor the sculpting make any real difference, but I err on the side of 'quality' on this one.

So in response, my best practices are, no pr sculpting, put all pages where they need to be and let Google figure it out.
12:23 am on Feb 22, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I don't block a lot of pages. I don't care about PR and usually don't even think about "link juice". But overall, I'd rather have more full content high quality pages in the index than the opposite. You can get away with some low quality or thin stuff, as long as it's not the majority.

I usually block with NOINDEX unless I don't have technical access to the site to do that.

I always block search results pages, and I usually block all account and shopping cart pages (if I can) on an ecommerce site. As wheel mentions, I leave in my privacy and disclosure pages. I block things like tags, empty taxonomy pages, and PPC or email landing pages.

That's pretty much it.
11:40 pm on Feb 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Thank you for your responses and thank you not2easy for welcoming.

A couple of questions again:

1) So, do you all agree there's no really big influence in "noindex" when it comes to sculpting? Nothing like "if something is noindexed it has to be less important"?

2) Now, a specific and different case. Let's say we start a blog with 6 categories (random number) which represent our menu and the way we're dividing our contents. After 1 year our blog takes some "specific roads": a couple of those categories are almost never updated while the others become the main ones.

We want to inform Google it should really emphasize those ones and give less credit to the others. At the same time, we want to keep those "minor" categories in our menu because they still offer some interesting content to our users.

Whay would you do? Can we "teach" Google which ones to give more credit to or just waiting is the best option?

Hope everything is clear.
11:49 pm on Feb 23, 2015 (gmt 0)

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There's at least one PR sculpting technique that still seems to work. Create empty <divs> (or whatever container) and load the content that has the links you don't want google to know about in the containers with ajax, via $('document').ready or similar.

Not saying that's a good idea, but it does appear to work. Links loaded that way don't seem to show up in GWT (looking at, for example, "internal links").