I have a website that has some pages and then it has a folder that has the majority of the pages. All the pages that exist in this folder could only be accessed by using my website search engine, then I created HTML and XML sitemaps so the search engines could find the pages that are inside this folder. This worked well as search engines got very happy and indexed pretty much the entire website. BUT the html sitemap is appearing in SERPs and besides wanting search engines to crawl it and follow the links I do not want it to be in the SERPs.
What can I do so the links on my sitemap page are followed but it stops appearing in SERP's?
I saw some link rel no index meta tags and robots no index meta tags that seemed to be "designed" for this but some websites say they do one thing and other websites say they do other things. I don't want to screw this up and have my pages not being indexed again because it will be a pretty bad setback.
Besides this, when I made the sitemaps I made the XML and HTML and uploaded them to the server on the same day, it worked like a charm but if the xml sitemap is enough and i can remove the html sitemap with no negative impact to my number of indexed pages it would be a valid solution for me too because then i wouldn't have to bother with it appearing on SERP's so if anyone made this experience and has something to share it would be useful too.