We run an images gallery as part of our site, however we have over 8,000 images and every image has a separate HTML page of its own to display the image caption, related image and comments from users of the site.

This seems to be a problem especially with the Google Panda update because these pages are technically "thin content".

What would be the best way to tackle this? We'd love some feedback and advice regarding this scenario.

We have a few options we thought of already but can't decide:

  1. We could noindex the separate image pages and lose any image search listings we have for the image in favour of removing these thin pages from the index.
  2. We could 301 all of the individual image pages back to the image category listing and anchor each image (e.g. #img2122) and include all of the comments and description on the category listing page itself.

If we was to simply list all of the images and content on the category pages themself; what's the best method? We could add all of the content in the anchor tags and use jQuery to display them in a box when a user clicks on the image or we could use Ajax to retrieve the information. However, what's the best Ajax method for SEO?

Any ideas, suggestions, tips or advice is greatly appreciated and thank you in advance for any given.

2 Answers 2


I would only add a robots noindex to the page if there is no content but the image.

By counting the number of comments programmatically you can decide if the page must be indexed or not. For example you could automatically add robots noindex to all pages with 3 or less comments.

Adding a robots noindex to the page should be no problem regarding the indexing of the images on that page. Google would still index the image(s) on that page. To exclude images on the page you would use noimageindex. Noindex only affects the page itself.. google webmasters

Hope this gets you going? Bas...

  • Thank you for your comment. As far as I'm aware, adding the robots NOINDEX would disallow indexing ANY content on the page which includes ALT text on images and the surround text and comments for each image. I suppose that the image would be still indexed if it was hard linked using an anchor - but perhaps the valuable ALT text wouldn't? Perhaps Google would still take all of the signals into consideration on the NOINDEX'd page but actually keep it out of the index? Could you clarify? Thank you in advance. Sep 9, 2013 at 21:58
  • An example of this 'thin' content can be found here: flyawaysimulation.com/images/media/8139/il76 Would it be best to 301 back to the category page and display all of the information there and remove these thin pages completely or simply NOINDEX this page? Sep 9, 2013 at 22:13

You could block the gallery pages from being crawled by GoogleBot, but allow the Google Image bot to crawl everything using robots.txt:

User-agent: Googlebot
Disallow: /gallerypages/

User-agent: Googlebot-Image

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