I have a website. Users can subscribe to this website and create their own profiles. The pages created by users are as follows:


There is no content on these pages. It's just profile photos, social media accounts, and a few more.

According to an article I read, having search engines index unnecessary pages can cause SEO issues. Should I noindex these pages? Do I need to add these pages to sitemap.xml?


The article you read is correct. If you give pages that have little content on them to Google to index, it can hurt the overall SEO of your site.

Pages with so little content are what Google calls "thin content." If they appear in Google search results and users click on them, they are likely to be disappointed. Users like to land on pages with enough content to answer whatever question they had when they searched. It is unlikely that a profile photo and social media links are going to answer any questions. Users would probably be better served by visiting the social media sites directly.

This would hurt your site most if a user created a profile name that is a common search term and you site has little to do with that. For example, somebody searching for "stackexchange" would be very confused when they land on a user profile page on your site and would quickly leave unsatisfied.

Google has algorithms that detect when a site has lots of thin content and more algorithms to detect when users are particularly unhappy with search results on which they click. Allowing these pages to get indexed is likely to hurt the SEO of your entire site, including your pages that have lots of good content.

Your XML sitemap is meant for pages that you want to have indexed. Since these pages shouldn't be indexed, they should not be included in your XML sitemap.

  • 2
    Thank you for your answer. Should I give these pages a rel="nofollow" tag?
    – ardacar
    Aug 22 at 8:56
  • 2
    You should either give them a rel="nofollow" tag or disallow them in robots.txt. Disallowing them would be hard if your example URLs are accurate. If they have a common prefix like /user/ardacar then you could Disallow: /user/ which would prevent Google from even crawling all of them. With the noindex, Googlebot is going to do a lot of unnecessary crawling. On the other hand Google occasionally indexes disallowed pages that it can't crawl based on the links to them, so nofollow will do better at preventing them from being indexed. Aug 22 at 9:04

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.