Experiment 3

The purpose of this latest experiment is to combine the noindex robots metatag with the canonical link element, in order to find out whether there is any strange behaviour when these two are combined.

It's another fishing expedition...

Google has recently deprecated the use of robots.txt as a prophylactic against duplicate content. It was never a very good idea to use robots.txt for this purpose, but now they have made this express. What's interesting about the post is that they recommend various techniques that you would expect - site structure design, 301 redirects, canonical URLs etc, but they make absolutely no mention of page-level robots metatags. 

This is a little bit surprising in one way: there are plenty of circumstances in which a "noindex, follow" tag would be an excellent way of dealing with content that is useful to the user, but probably superfluous from an SEO or search engine point of view - multiply paginated results on a specific search, for example, or differently sorted views of the same content.

The question that this leaves open then, is how and whether the canonical link element can be combined with a noindex robots metatag. 

In order to explore this further, I'm creating two pages with very similar content: the first of which, this one, will be given a robots noindex metatag and will also carry a canonical tag pointing to the other version of the page. The second will have no page-level robots metatags and no canonical link element will be specified.

The results will be reported in the blog.



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