How to block indexing of Blogger archive pages
Here is a quiz question for you: What is the difference between the top and the bottom Google search result of the one and the same Blogger hosted blog?
Answer: The top is the actual post, while the bottom is the monthly archive page.
It seems by default, Blogger will allow the Google crawler index the every post twice: once as the post itself, and once as part of a monthly archive. And what is worse, for one reason or the other, it looks to me like, as the post gets older, the less chance one will get to find an actual post, but get a link to a monthly archive. For reasons unknown, at least on my Blogger blog, Google seems to rank archive pages higher than single posts.
While Blogger is a Google product, it seems they don’t live up to the basic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) rules nor to basic usability guidelines: neither users nor search engines like archive pages. Why?
1. Users don’t like archive pages
When a user searches for a certain topic, and gets an archive page as a link, he/she will have to scroll through all posts you published for that month. If you have an active blog, this means a dozen blogposts.. What are the chances he/she will find what they are looking for between pages and pages of posts? Minimal… And IF they find it, they will have to click on the post link again, to see the actual post, and its comments. No good.
2. Search engines don’t like archive pages
… for the simple reason because they represent duplicate content: indexing both archive pages and single posts will have the same content show up in two indexed “entries”: the archive and the actual post. And search engines don’t like duplicate content. At least not on the same domain.
3. How to avoid indexing of your Blogger archive pages?
The remedy for this, is pretty simple: Tell the search engine crawler not to index archive pages. How to do this on Blogger? Not by dialing 1-800-SEO-HELP but by adding three lines to your blogger template:
- In your Blogger management dashboard, go to “Design” (or “Layout”) > “Edit HTML”
- Backup your template before making any changes: click “Download Full Template”
- Add the following three lines this just after <head> tag:
<b:if cond='data:blog.pageType == "archive"'>
<meta content='NOINDEX' name='ROBOTS'/>
- Your template will then look something like this:
- Click “Save Template”, sit back, relax and enjoy your flight.
Just let the crawlers do their work. After a while, your archives will disappear from the search indexes. You will be happy, and your SEO conscience will be happy too.
Update March 19 2011:
I implemented this tip on my personal blog (hosted on Blogger) and after two months not a single archive page showed up in the Google search anymore.