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While I was doing an audit of my website SEO, I found a warning for a page that is most of the time blank.

Basically, this page serves for storing articles for visitors who would like to read their favorite selections later.

This is what the link looks like: https://example.com/?read-it-later

The problem with this is that the URL is the same as the homepage and as you can see it has next to it the parameter "read-it-later".

So I want to be very careful on how to prevent this URL from being indexed by google without compromising the indexing of the homepage.

Do you have any suggestions on the best approach through .htaccess or WordPress?

  • "a page that is most of the time blank" - Do you have to do anything? Google won't index a "blank page" (which for Google is presumably always blank) - or at least it won't rank. – DocRoot Jan 1 at 19:35
  • "The same as the home page" -- No it isn't. Using a parameter makes it a completely different URL. It could have totally different content from the home page. It could be powered by entirely different files. – Stephen Ostermiller Jan 1 at 20:36
  • Well when i say that the page is blank, it has at least a header, footer and a title, so there is something there and it's been detected as a page with a very few content ! – marouane91 Jan 2 at 9:33
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As the content of the page is user-specific, it would likely be always blank for spiders (which probably won't trigger the conditions required to have anything other than the blank version of the page).

Ergo, you're probably better blocking spiders from accessing the page entirely. Just add the following to your robots.txt file.

Disallow: /?read-it-later

Alternatively, you could change the "blank" version of the page to make it entirely clear what the purpose of the page is, so if someone sees that page in their search results, they know what the page is for and therefore understand that your website offers a "read it later" functionality.

  • Great, thank you for your help ! I'll wait about a day and do another site audit and see if the page still appears or not, i'll keep you posted ! Thanks – marouane91 Jan 2 at 9:45

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