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I'm finishing up development on a tourist information website that lists hotels, restaurants, bars, among other things for an up-and-coming tourist area in Cambodia: http://www.gosihanoukville.com/dining/index.html

Sections of the site that have listings are listed in a default order, and the visitor can choose to sort these listings on demand. There is also a section on the left of these pages that allow "filtering" of the results on the page. For a better example, on the restaurant page, there are filters for type of cuisine, location and budget. The cuisine filters at the top are the only ones that I want indexed - in case people search for "indian food in sihanoukville". The location and budget filters are just there for convenience, and could have been displayed with AJAX, but I wanted people to be able to bookmark them.

What I've done is set the meta robots tags on the pages I don't want indexed as "noindex, follow", and "index, follow" on all other pages. I have, however seen people use rel="nofollow" in their anchor tags. Which is the better practice? Or is it better to have them indexed anyway despite having duplicate content?

Thanks.

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Using rel="nofollow" on links has no effect on whether certain pages get indexed. It simply stops search engines taking that specific link into account. If a page is linked anywhere else without nofollow then the page will be indexed as normal.

Generally the best way to stop pages being indexed is to use robots.txt. For dynamic content, however, it may be difficult to block specific patterns so "noindex" is fine.

Regarding whether to block at all, take a look at the pages and decide how useful they are individually and if users might search for that content. For example, I would suggest that people are likely to search for "Chinese restaurants in Victory Hill", so it makes sense to have one page dedicated to that appearing in search results.

Small UI note: instead of having the "remove filter" link, I would instead keep all the Locations listed and linked, with the current filter unlinked. Then users can switch to another location easily.

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