Shimon Sandler

How to Handle Tag Pages

Tag pages are usually just a collection of posts in a given topic. They can be especially harmful in light of the Google Farmer Algorithm Update. The Farmer update affected sites with auto-generated or low-quality content. Also affected sites with UGC content, and sites with inbound links from the above sites. Page “Quality” has became an important SEO signal.

So, what makes tag pages potentially harmful?

Here’s an example of a Tag page, taken from this Engadget post:

Example of Tag Page

Official From Google: Low Quality Content On a Part of a Site Can Impact a Site’s Ranking As A Whole

Now, think about Tag pages. Think about all the thin and/or empty tag pages from User Generated Content, and UGC tags. Think about all the additional textlinks on a webpage due to tagging… (FYI, It’s a best practice to try to stay at around 100 links per page). Google can crawl over 100 links per page, but every outgoing link bleeds Pagerank of the page, so choose links carefully, from both a value and user experience perspective.

Tag pages are shallow, low quality pages that could lower the overall quality of your entire site. And, that could affect your keyword rankings.

Google has said publically (and privately) that they don’t like tag pages. They think of them as Search Results pages. And, we all know that Google doesn’t like to index Search Results pages. Google can identify Tag pages easily because the URL usually contains /tag/. When Google bought Youtube, they used robots.txt to exclude all their tag pages.

The Solutions:

  • Use the noindex meta tag to block these pages from being indexed.
  • Use robots.txt to fully exclude them from being crawled & indexed.
  • Remove them from the XML sitemap
  • Place them in Javascript. document.write them out. Place Tags in Ajax so they don’t get crawled by the Search Engines.
  • Change the URL structure. Use Category or Topic Pages instead of “Tag” Pages. Change the URL to say /category/ or something else. Perhaps /topic/ or /collections/.
  • If you must use tags, then limit tag volume, or tier tags based on usage.
  • Add unique content to tag pages. Fill the page with evergreen content. Use all types of content. Eg: images, video, text.
  • Optimize the Title tag, and H1 tag.
  • Link to tag pages contextually.
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Comments

  1. I thought that tag pages can get more visits as they have long tail keywords in the url. Now, i realize that those tag pages may not be of much worth. I followed your steps to deindex tag pages.

    Thank you very much for such a useful post :)

  2. So many sites still getting very high ranking with “tag pages”.

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