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We have a site which has a sidebar with sections (or "widgets" if you like) showing stuff like "Recent Articles", "Other Articles by this User", "Similar Articles" etc.

The issue is, Google seems to take these links very seriously. In fact, if I have only a single article which is closely related to a certain phrase (and several other pages link to it in their sidebars), when I do a Google search, it lists all those other pages highlighting that one link to the page that should actually be the most relevant one. And these pages don't even mention the phrase anywhere else.

It there a common approach with adding these sidebar links? For example, I might add them through ajax after the page is loaded, but then crawlers will have harder time finding them?

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If you want those links read by search engines, then they will appear on search results. Adding them through ajax or javascript will prevent search engines from seeing them and they should gradually disappear from search engines. Adding a nofollow won't help.

Since the content on those widgets are variable, it should not be a big deal I think, as the pages that may get listed in search results will vary with time.

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Thanks. So, I should have a sitemap which would allow crawlers to find these pages, but individual content pages should load them lazily through javascript? My concern is always with non-js users, but I guess these are becoming pretty rare? –  Groo Dec 26 '13 at 14:48
    
Adding them with javascript may prevent some mobile users from viewing it properly, but there is no other real way. You may try adding it in an iframe and putting a rule in robots.txt to disallow that iframe. There is also an added trouble with using javascript, as Google sometimes looks into Javascript files. In that case, it will be safer to use the javascript in an external file and adding a rule in robots.txt. Both the above mentioned methods assume that you have a sitemap file built with links to that content. –  Rana Prathap Dec 26 '13 at 15:39

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