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My site includes a Portfolio, and one category is Web Development. There, I have pages for some sites that I developed.

The question is, should I allow those pages to be indexed by search engines?

By doing so, one of my pages could end up competing for ranking against my customer pages. I don't know if there is a standard behaviour for this cases.

Should I use <meta name="robots" content="noindex"/> or not?

Update: portfolio pages only include a description, an image gallery and a link to the customer site

  • It seems to me that you are way overthinking this. Why worry about something that has not happened?? Wait and see. – closetnoc Oct 24 '15 at 23:34
  • Actually, it kind of happened. For one site, Google results show the original site in the first and second position and my page is in the forth position. – IvanRF Oct 25 '15 at 0:20
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    If the pages are duplicates of client pages, the right thing to do would be to create a canonical tag pointing to the original (client) page. – closetnoc Oct 25 '15 at 1:43
  • No, they are not duplicate pages. I'll update the question – IvanRF Oct 25 '15 at 18:39
  • Oh! You should be okay. I had originally misread your question a bit and then the answer forced me to read it again. Now I get it. You do what dang near anyone would do. I would limit the use of brand names somewhat, but you should be okay (I would think). – closetnoc Oct 25 '15 at 21:05
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I don't know if there is a standard [behavior] for this case[].

I don't think there is. I have seen both screenshot galleries and full-page duplication, as well as simply links to the original pages.

The question is, should I allow those pages to be indexed by search engines?

If you use screenshot galleries or link to the original domain, this shouldn't be an issue.

If you do host a duplicate of the content, did you get permission from the client? Depending your agreement with them, you may risk violating a given countries copyright law. Personally, I would suggest introducing in a clause for all your contracts which clearly indicates what content will be used in your Portfolio and how. Google specifically may remove duplicate content if it runs afoul of US DMCA provisions or Google determines it might be for ranking manipulation.

That said, it is a pretty hard scrabble sometimes in design, so the choice is yours. I would at the very least be putting links back to your own domain in each applicable page footer (as a "design by" credit) unless you agree with a client to do otherwise.

Should I use [noindex] or not?

Each search engine may handle the tag differently, but I would not unless you really don't want that page indexed. It basically indicates a "no go, humans only" for respectful bots. You would likely only want to use this tag if you want to ensure that the duplicate page NEVER appears in Google and is unlikely to appear in other search engines.

Addendum

Regarding the whole concept of archiving web page "snapshots", this is the entire premise of the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.

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  • Thanks for your answer. Indeed, I just use screenshot galleries and a link to the original domain. – IvanRF Oct 25 '15 at 18:44
  • I see no issue with this. I might still put in a "Portfolio" clause stating you are doing this to be "safe" in the future, but otherwise I think your fine. This is a common practice on a variety of websites. – Anaksunaman Oct 25 '15 at 23:31

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