This is my presentation from MozCon 2018. The topic is local pages for national or international businesses – primarily how to figure out whether you need them, and some things not to do if you do need them.
Original text (24th January)
This page is explicitly “noindex,follow”.
Here are some links to pages that (at the time of writing) are not and have never been linked to anywhere else:
- Here’s a link to a page that is blocked in robots.txt.
- Here’s a nofollowed link.
- Here’s a perfectly normal link.
In about a month I’ll remove that robots.txt rule, and see if Google crawls the previously blocked page. If it does, that means that this page is still being treated as “noindex,follow”. If it doesn’t, and that remains the case for a reasonable period of time, that indicates that this page is being treated as “noindex,nofollow”.
I’m using robots.txt to do this because it means I don’t have to update this page to change what it (follow) links to – so if this mechanic described by John Mueller refreshes when the page is updated, that won’t invalidate my methodology.
Here’s a link to the Screaming Frog output as it currently stands.
Update (29th January)
Here’s the site: search result on January 29th (I forgot to check sooner):
This is behaving as expected, with two of the pages linked to from here both found, but not the one that I’ve linked to with a “nofollow” attribute.
In addition, I decided to add this link, in case I need a 2nd robots.txt blocked URL to play with later:
- Here’s a second link to a page that is blocked in robots.txt (just in case).
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(Spoilers: We’re not done with them yet…)
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Back in Google’s early days, people navigated the web using links, and this made PageRank an excellent proxy for popularity and authority. The web is moving away from primarily link-based surfing, and Google no longer needs a proxy – so what, in 2017, is the point in links?
If you don’t have a physical presence, there are some situations where you can still rank for local queries. Learn whether you should, how to identify queries to compete for, and recommendations on how to optimize for them.