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The Ultimate Guide To On-page Search Engine Optimization

On-page SEOIf you’re running any kind of website, you should know that Search Engine Optimization is one of the key elements to lots and lots of traffic.

Really, there are two sides to Search Engine Optimization. There’s on-page SEO and off-page SEO. Off-page SEO is a much broader subject in my opinion and it’s all about externally promoting your site.

…But that’s something completely different to on-page SEO. Today I wanted to talk about on-page SEO and how you can use it to boost search engine rankings and dominate your competition. I’m not going to cover everything to do with on-page SEO as you can read about it elsewhere. I wanted to explain how you can use no-follow/no-index tags to conserve Page Rank, boost internal SEO and stop duplicate content issues once & for all.

Some experts say you shouldn’t touch no-follow/index settings… But after recent experiments I’ve discovered by controlling indexation and follow settings, you can dramatically boost rankings & traffic. Now before I give you exact instructions for best results, here’s a little information about No-index/No-follow:

For some reason, most people use a “noindex, nofollow” tag as the default “noindex” tag when just using the “noindex” tag alone would be more appropriate. When you add the “nofollow” tag to a meta robots tag on a page, it causes all links on that page to be tagged as “nofollow”.

Sometimes you want to tag all links on a page as “nofollow” (page level nofollow by meta robots tag). Typically this is the case when the page links to only pages that are causing you SEO problems (e.g. serious duplicate content issues) or you are trying to stop the page from passing any page rank for some strategic reason.

That said, most of the time when you want to noindex a page, you still want it to pass page rank (link level nofollow to specific link, not to all by meta robots nofollow tag). For example if you have a page 2 of a list you may want to noindex it to avoid a duplication issue with page 1, but you still may want it to pass page rank through the links in the list.

Setting the value of the “rel” attribute of a link to “nofollow” will tell Google that certain links on your site shouldn’t be followed or pass your page’s reputation to the pages linked to. Nofollowing a link is adding rel=”nofollow” inside of the link’s anchor tag. Remember, the nofollow link attribute is at the link level which means it only has effect on the particular link that has the tag

Nofollow link attribute has a big brother, which is nofollow in meta robots tag. It has same effect as nofollow link attribute but at the higher level which is page level. What it mean is search engines should not crawl all the links on the page which has nofollow meta robots tag. That’s why I call it big brother because it applies to all the links on the page while little brother only affects 1 particular link.

Hopefully you understood at least some of that. Basically follow/no-follow tags allow you to choose where you distribute your site’s Page Rank. They allow you to stop giving away your precious Page Rank to external sites as well as your own. Then using no-index tags you can restrict search engine access to certain parts of your site. Doing so has countless SEO benefits and fixes lots of duplicate content issues. So here are the exact tips/instructions:

  1. Noindex nofollow the comment RSS feeds
  2. Noindex nofollow the search result pages
  3. Noindex nofollow the login and register pages
  4. Noindex nofollow all admin pages
  5. Noindex nofollow the sub pages of homepage
  6. noindex nofollow author archives
  7. Noindex nofollow date based archives (weekly/monthly/yearly archives)
  8. Noindex nofollow tag archives. (I would recommend to keep categories index, follow and not to put same category description as meta tags for all category sub pages, let Google choose it by its own )
  9. Add noodp, noydir tags to prevent using Dmoz & Yahoo directory description for the site.
  10. Internal nofollow settings (Though Google is not very much bothered about internal nofollow now, if you keep free flow of page juice within own links, there is no harm;  but still my preference is as below:) – a) Nofollow category listing on pages  b) nofollow category listings on single posts  c) nofollow outbound

That just about sums up no-index/no-follow and how they work.

  1. Nofollow ‘Home’ link
  2. Nofollow feed link
  3. In your robots.txt Disallow: /*/trackback/$, Disallow: /*/*/trackback/$, Disallow: /*/*/*/trackback/$
  4. Don’t break comments to many other pages ( in your wordpress discussions settings uncheck the box “Break comments….)
  5. Put canonical link relevance on site
  6. In Google XML sitemap include only static pages and single posts
  7. Don’t use identical meta or title tags in posts or category subpages
  8. Use post excerpts in category pages & other archive pages
  9. Redirect 301 for non www version of your website to www version of website or vice versa (you can do it from cPanel or manual editing your .htaccess file)
  10. By default, WordPress places several tags in your document. Most of these tags are completely unnecessary, and provide no SEO value whatsoever. They just make your site slower to load. Choose which tags you would like included in your document (example – Index rel link tag, Parent Post rel link tag, Start Post rel link tag, Adjacent Posts rel link tag)
  11. Lower the % of boilerplate content on site (the same fixed content on every page)
  12. Redirect attachment pages to post pages

That just about covers all of the no-index/no-follow settings and tips I’ve used to increase my Page Rank and boost search engine rankings. If you don’t know anything about SEO you might want to look into it further before you completely change the structure of your site using my instructions. However if you do know a lot about SEO and all of the above makes total sense, use the information as you wish!

In Prosperity,

David Wood

P.S. Put your name and email in the form on the right for more cool tips tricks and SEO secrets. Also feel free to leave me your thoughts, comments and questions in the box below.

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Thanks for the tips. Can you help me in noindexing my category subpages - Please note that I don't want to use SEO by Yoast in this case.


Thanks for the tutorial, that's why I went with the Thesis theme for my blog because it takes care of almost everything you explained in this blog post.


 @TyronneRatcliff I am not using Thesis theme. However I found a solution by inserting a php code in my header, that checks, if the loading page is a category and it is paginized, then it will insert a noindex tag.

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