I have a website like Foursquare, where users search for business in a specific location. The users can click on markers inside the map to view details about the companies/stores, and these details are opened in a dedicated page to each business.

I don't want users to go to these detail pages from an index page with a bunch of links for each business names, but I need to make this pages visible to Googlebot. How can I do this? Can I create an index page visible to Google only?

  • As @JohnConde states, it isn't recommended to serve a different page to Google than humans. It's not even clear what you're trying to do though... Just don't link to them from the index page?
    – zigojacko
    Mar 13, 2014 at 8:48
  • I want Google to find these companies on my website, but I want users to find them only via search box. Google won't know how to get access to these pages if I don't create an index page, which I don't need/want users to see. Mar 13, 2014 at 10:33
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    Just allow your search result pages to be indexed in Google then, that way, everything will be found based on the search queries used. You could display a page with links to popular search queries or display something similar to a sitemap of listings (there's plenty of alternatives to achieve what you're after, it just requires some creative development and thinking). And yes, serving different content to search engines than humans is considered black-hat.
    – zigojacko
    Mar 13, 2014 at 10:53
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    @zigojacko Google will de-index sites that allow their site search results to be crawled and indexed. See: mattcutts.com/blog/search-results-in-search-results Mar 13, 2014 at 13:21
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    @zigojacko I also wouldn't use the word "search" in the URL. URLs that use the word "search" tend not to rank well in my experience. Google manual reviewers also tend to put spam terms into your search box and penalize your site if they get a crawlable page. So you need to ensure that you return 404 status for search results that don't have enough content. Mar 13, 2014 at 14:18

3 Answers 3


One way to do this would be with sitemap pages. These pages would have a list of links to all the business pages on your site. While you can't actually hide these pages from users, you can make them less prominent. For example you could link to them from the footer.

Another way to let Googlebot know about your deep content is through XML sitemaps. Your XML sitemap can be submitted to Google through Webmaster Tools and users will never know about it.

The problem with using either HTML sitemaps or XML sitemaps is that they don't do a great job of passing PageRank to your deep pages and getting those pages ranking well. While your sitemaps may get the pages indexed, for good rankings, you need some way of passing link juice to those pages as well. One way of doing so would be to link your business pages to other business pages. Some sort of "related businesses" list of links on those pages would be effective.


No, you can't do this. This is the very definition of black hat SEO. This is exactly what the search engines don't want websites to do. If you do this you will get penalized up to and including having your site banned from Google. This is a very bad idea.


It appears that you're missing the point of how Google works. If you want those pages to be found and crawled by Google, then you should want them found and crawled so that they can appear in the search results.

The logic then follows that if they display/appear in Google's search results then they are accessible to users, who will click on the links and land on those pages.

Now, you could "noindex,follow" those pages using the robots meta tag, so that they are crawled but don't get indexed. This may provide some internal link relevance that helps your site.

Any other method that provides content only for Google, and not for users, will be quickly acted on, either algorithmically or manually by Google, as it goes against their T's & C's.

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