Why it’s ok that Google does not index some of your pages

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Most of your blog shouldn’t be hidden from Google. It should be indexed so anyone can find it. In some cases, it’s a good idea to hide pages from Google. And they won’t penalise you for doing it. You need to avoid doing it in most circumstances as Google perceives hidden pages as danger. They think you’re up to something nefarious, and so they’ll lower the ranking of your blog.

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We’ve decided to go through each of the scenarios where it’s acceptable to hide parts of your blog. Some have been personally okayed by Google, whereas others have been shown to work but haven’t been approved by Google.

Secret Sign-Ins

A secret sign-in page is a page only blog contributors can access. Essentially, it’s the admin area of your website. By hiding the page, hackers have a harder time finding an access route into the bowels of your site. Google sees this as perfectly acceptable as it’s improving your security.

Preferred Viewers

Some blogs provide additional content for certain groups of people. These pages should only be accessible by this group. Since it isn’t a page designed for everyone, Google sees it as perfectly acceptable to keep this hidden from the search engines as everyone isn’t supposed to have access to it.

Sensitive Information

Sensitive information includes figures from sales and refunds. It could also include a long list of account information for users, including payment data. Keeping this hidden from the search engines is another approved security measure. After all, you don’t want to potentially let an invader in on the secret of where you store all of your sensitive information.

Checkout Pages

Have you ever noticed how you’ll never see any sort of checkout page when you go online?

This isn’t an accident. Most of them are made from JavaScript. The JavaScript language isn’t recognised by Google and therefore isn’t indexed. If you sell anything on your blog, make sure your checkout page isn’t indexed.

Google sees checkout pages as pointless as they only add value if you’ve actually bought something. For the average user, it serves absolutely no purpose for them to see it. You should carefully monitor your SEO value if you have a checkout page on your blog.

Search engines generally don’t expect blogs to sell items, so a checkout page can actually cause a drag effect. Use an add-on or a Firefox plugin to check your page ranking over time. If it suddenly goes down, it could be something to do with your checkout page.

Link Solicitation

It’s not uncommon to see blogs attempting to solicit links. They’ll attempt to ask you to link back to their blog from another website. It’s against the rules and Google might see it as an attempt to promote black hat SEO. They’ll completely ruin your blog by knocking it down the search engine rankings, or even removing it completely.

If you’re submitting an XML sitemap to Google, don’t include these pages. And don’t inadvertently reveal the existence of these pages by talking about them on social media or in your blog posts.

Unfinished Pages and Google

Unfinished pages are acceptable, but it’s usually better if you remove them from your sitemap for now. If a Google admin finds it, they might assume it adds no value, and thus they’ll declare your site as a site with little value. There are no official rules on what to do about unfinished pages.

What users have noticed is if you write on the page it’s under construction Google usually won’t penalise you for it. You shouldn’t have more than one unfinished page published on your site.

Offensive Content

If you absolutely must have offensive content on your website, hide it. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t have some offensive content. It could include anything like a controversial view or a hotly contested political opinion. If you do have content which might upset someone, keeping it hidden and leaving a warning on your blog prevents your blog from taking a hit to its traffic.

Non-Public Pages

Some bloggers prefer to release pages at a certain time. For example, you might have created a page for an upcoming holiday which you don’t want releasing until closer to the time.

Whilst keeping these pages hidden for too long will cause problems for your blog, a few weeks won’t harm you. Avoid uploading it for a while, even if you’ve already finished all the code. Alternatively, don’t hide it at all and just upload it at the right time.

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