Technical SEO Question – Does a high percentage of “nofollow, noindex” pages hurt your rankings or website?

Recently I was asked the following question:

Does a high percentage of “nofollow, noindex” pages hurt your rankings or website?

This is a great question and something which more webmaster should consider.

What is noindex, nofollow…

Firstly, lets look at what nofollow, noindex actually is:

  • NOINDEX tells Google not to index a page
  • NOFOLLOW tells Google not to follow the links on a page

The tag looks like this:

  • <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex,nofollow”>

And can be found within the <head></head> section within website code.

You would typically use the tag is you have duplicate content or internal duplicated pages on your site.

An example…

For example, you may have 1,000 cars for sale on your website that use the vehicle descriptions from Ford, Honda, BMW and so on.

This would be classed as duplicate content, and Google would ignore these pages or you would be punished as part of the Google Panda update.

Ideally the best case would be to rewrite the pages, but if you can’t – I’d advise that you tell Google to ignore the pages so the rest of the site doesn’t get punished.

Obviously, you are telling Google to ignore with noindex, nofollow – so these pages have no benefit in terms of rankings and content.

In terms of the number of pages that use the┬ánoindex, nofollow element, this doesn’t matter. I answered a similar question last year on Google+ and John Mueller of Google did +1 my comment, click here to see what I wrote.

What is Google Panda…

Google offers a great explanation around the panda update here, but in short they say the following:

Our site quality algorithms are aimed at helping people find “high-quality” sites by reducing the rankings of low-quality content.

Low quality content can also mean duplicated content and stitched content.

Handy video by Google…

Here is a videos by Matt Cutts of Google around noindex, nofollow and other scenarios:

Image Credit: Sign post image from SXC.hu

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