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I have a site that lists offers, promotions from other websites.

Since the offers expire rather quickly I don't save them into my database. I see no point in having a page from 2010 about 30% discount on a certain brand of shoes which isn't availabe anymore.

  1. A visitor enters my website;

  2. He clicks on the "shoes" category: http://www.mysite.com/shoes/

Here he sees 20 available promotions from different online stores.

  1. He clicks on a promotion and gets to a page like this: http://www.mysite.com/shoes/promotions/prada

Questions:

I use the template promotions.php and list all the promotions.

/promotions/prada/ /promotions/otherbrand/ ....

What I do is use "noindex, follow" for the links.

Is that a good idea? Or should I use rel="canonical" for the promotion page?

How do you advise me to handle this from the SEO point of view?

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1 Answer

Or should I use rel="canonical" for the promotion page?

No, only use canonical for pages with (almost) identical content. Your promotion list page and an individual promotion are clearly different pages.

What I do is use "noindex, follow" for the links. Is that a good idea?

I think you shouldn't disallow the indexing. Search engines can be very fast, some web pages are indexed only minutes after they were published (thanks to feeds). I think your content is valuable for users of search engines: many search engines allow their users to limit results to only pages that were published/indexed x hours ago.

So if you really don't want to keep old promotions online, you should still allow search engines to index the pages. After you delete them, you should set the HTTP headers to 404 (deleted or was never existent) or better 410 (Gone = deleted and won't come back). But you should use "unique" URLs for that, e.g. by including the publication date: example.com/shoes/promotions/2012-10-06-otherbrand/.

Or don't give each individual promotion an own page, but list all promotions on the brand page (example.com/shoes/promotions/otherbrand/), which never gets deleted. If there are currently no promotions for "shoes" by "otherbrand", you would simply tell this to your visitors on that page.


I think the best structure would be the following:

  • example.com/shoes/promotions: a list of links to all brands (you could include the count of current promotions in parentheses, e.g.: "Otherbrand (1)")
  • example.com/shoes/promotions/otherbrand: a list of links to all current promotions for "otherbrand"
  • example.com/shoes/promotions/otherbrand/2012-10-06_discount-and-free-shipping: an individual promotion (could be deleted when it's over)
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Great answer! Ty! From your SEO experience, having 404 or 410 pages appearing again and again does not say to google - there is something wrong with this site, it keeps deleting its pages, thus the content might be rubbish? –  webmasters Oct 6 '12 at 14:02
    
I have no experience with sites that frequently delete pages. I wouldn't do it. Simply let all pages live, no matter how old they are. It may give you a bonus (all the links leading to old promotions may boost your ranking). Also, you could display an info box at the top of old promotions, linking to current promotions (if any). –  unor Oct 6 '12 at 17:01
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