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Ref: Do noindex,follow pages pass pagerank / link juice?

I have a requirement wherein I want to create an HTML sitemap to help users navigate to deep pages. This sitemap page will be linked from several top-ranking pages on the website. I do not want the page to show in search results but would want the outgoing links to be followed. The linked (see the first line) old thread has two answers. One refers to a video by Matt Cutts in 2011 and another by John Mueller in 2017.

Matt Cutts' Video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjRGkc__FwQ

John Mueller's Video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GNg8R-X8LQ&t=54m51s

Matt Cutts says use cases like HTML sitemaps can have noindex and follow. Those pages will be processed and the links will be followed by Google. However, John Mueller says the links will be ignored in the long run.

Which answer holds today (in 2021)? Since John Mueller answered in 2017, should that answer be taken as the correct one?

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Generally speaking, Mueller is correct here. I regularly monitor log files for different websites and in going through those log files, it does seem like Google crawls pages with a noindex increasingly less over time as Mueller explained. Cutts isn't wrong in that the pages with noindex will be crawled for a while but eventually that will decrease. This isn't always the case. I've definitely seen websites where Google keeps crawling pages with a noindex but those sites tend to be the exception. When you think about it, this makes sense...Google wants to prioritize crawling pages that are going to rank in search results. You can monitor this yourself by watching Googlebot hits by URL in your website's log file.

It seems like your concern is you want Googlebot to find the links contains on the pages with the noindex. Is that correct? If that is the case, I would make sure those links are contained elsewhere on pages that are indexable so that there is a greater chance of Google's bots finding those.

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  • Thanks. Having links contained on the pages seems to be a sensible idea and a better solution for discovery and page rank transfer.
    – Kannan
    Jul 19 at 15:28

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