These days, many bloggers make the archive links (category, tag, author, custom post & taxonomies etc.) nofollow. Many WordPress themes also do so by some coding. The reasons are unwanted link-juice flow and duplicate content issues. But is this a proper solution to these problems? Let’s see in details.
Most of the bloggers want the link juice to flow only from posts to posts. They don’t want it to be passed on any other pages. Usually posts have category link, author link and tags. Link juice, obviously, is passed to these links. So to avoid this, they make the links nofollow. Also, there are many links on these pages, making these pages look unusual.
Another reason is, duplicate content issues. Some blogs still show full post content on archive pages. Or, even the excerpt is shown, the archive pages may look duplicate. They can also be considered as paragraph spun pages. So, again, the links are no-followed.
But is NOFOLLOW a proper solution?
In old days, if you nofollow a link, the link juice was not passed to that link. And also, no page rank used to get flushed.
For example, suppose you had “X” amount of link juice on a page and 5 links on it. If only 3 out of them were dofollow, “X/3” amount of link juice was passed to these dofollow links. So, pagerank and link juice were preserved.
But nowadays, it is not like that. These days, nofollow links neither pass any link juice nor preserve it; they flush it.
So, in the above example, only “X/5” amount of link juice will get passed to the 3 links and “X/2” link juice will get flushed. That means you lose the “X/2” link juice.
You can refer the image below to get a clear idea about the new pagerank flow.
(Image by – moz.com)
This clearly shows that there is no any point in making the links nofollow. It is better to preserve the link juice and pagerank than lose them.
If you think, you are denying the access to search engines to these archive pages with nofollow, you are wrong. You are only dis-endorsing the links on that particular post page. You have’t made the archive pages “noindex,nofollow”.
Search engines can still find the category, tags and author pages from sitemaps, navigations and widgets. So, these pages are crawled on regular basis and indexed.
Hence, the duplicate content issue is not yet resolved.
What is the proper solution then?
There is a solution by which you can preserve the pagerank and solve the duplicate content issues. And it is adding
rel="NOINDEX, FOLLOW" to the archive pages. It tells search engines not to index a particular page, but crawl it. No link juice gets flushed at all. So, the pagerank is preserved.
Also, the duplicate and spun content issues are solved. Because your duplicate pages are no more indexed. Also,
rel="NOINDEX, FOLLOW" is very effective when a page has so many links inside.
If you are a Self-Hosted WordPress user, the task is very simple for you. You simply need to install WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin.
Go to Yoast Menu -> Titles & Metas -> “Taxonomies” tab. Check the option “Meta Robots: noindex, follow”.
For other CMS, you need to do some extra efforts. You should ask your CMS developer for that.
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