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I'm trying to understand if/how I can benefit from people linking to pages on my site which are with pages that have a noindex meta tag.

2 actions I'm considering to perform:

  • Remove the robots.txt disallow to these pages, to make sure inner links get the propagated link juice.
  • Adding a canonical tag to the most similar page that doesn't have a noindex meta tag

Are these valid approaches that might help? Any others I should consider?

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If you previously disallowed these "noindex" pages in robots.txt then Google would not have been able to crawl these pages to see the "noindex" meta tag. –  w3d Jun 12 at 12:16
    
@w3d That's why I'm considering to remove the robots.txt so that Google will be able to crawl, read the noindex and/or the canonical tag. I'm not sure how much it's legit to add a canonical to a page that isn't 95% the same as the one I'm linking to. More like 30-50%. –  Noam Jun 14 at 8:30
    
A canonical tag is an advisory indicator for Google. If Google doesn't think it is appropriate then it will simply ignore it. However, I can't see there being any search engine benefit of including a canonical tag on a page that is not indexed. –  w3d Jun 14 at 9:05
    
@w3d isn't putting a canonical tag a bit like noindexing the current page and instead referring to the canonical page? –  Noam Jun 15 at 6:29
    
Well, the way I see the canonical tag is... Assume pageA has a canonical tag pointing to pageB. If pageA would ordinarily be returned in the SERPs then you would prefer pageB to be returned instead. However, if pageA is not indexed then it could never be returned in the results and so pageB would never be returned in its place. –  w3d Jun 15 at 10:44

2 Answers 2

If you have NOINDEX meta tag on your page it is not good idea to put inner page links to it, because this link juice will be lost.

Search engines are disabled to index the pages, so neither canonical, nor robots.txt disallow removing will help there, if you have NOINDEX meta tag.

The best way I see here it is to ask people to link to your main pages, that are opened for indexing, or to open the pages for indexing and pour the link juice to the pages you need to be ranked well.

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If people link to some pages of your site, it probably mean these pages can be useful for users and thus they may be indexed by search engines to be find by everyone. That's why I think you should consider to remove the noindex tag for these pages and using an other method to fix the problem for what you put the noindex tag for these pages.

With two methods you quoted, you're trying to manipulate the link juice and it can be a bad indicator for search engines.

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