What Do I Do With Taxonomies?

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Lately, I noticed all of my categories and tags are getting indexed. I thought I read something here about no-indexing these things.

What should the Taxonomy page in Yoast look like so I can make these changes?
 

Ryuzaki

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I "noindex" all tags (actually I don't use them, but if I did I'd noindex them).

On my categories, I only allow page 1 to be indexed. Page 2+ are all noindex but dofollow so the juice flows. It's autogenerated and not valuable to search users, but Page 1 is useful and I added static content there so it's not only autogenerated.

I also tell Page 2, 3, 4.... to say that Page 1 is their canonical URL.

Dofollowing Page 2+, interlinking, the sitemap, and backlinks keep all of the pages crawled perfectly without me cluttering up the Google Index. Panda looks at these kind of things. Opinions may vary, and that's mine.
 
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I'm not sure how to do what you're saying using Yoast as the "Taxonomies" tab gives you strict options to either select index or no-index for tags and categories...along with enabling or disabling format based archives...whatever that is.
 

Sutra

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I "noindex" all tags (actually I don't use them, but if I did I'd noindex them).

On my categories, I only allow page 1 to be indexed. Page 2+ are all noindex but dofollow so the juice flows. It's autogenerated and not valuable to search users, but Page 1 is useful and I added static content there so it's not only autogenerated.

I also tell Page 2, 3, 4.... to say that Page 1 is their canonical URL.

Dofollowing Page 2+, interlinking, the sitemap, and backlinks keep all of the pages crawled perfectly without me cluttering up the Google Index. Panda looks at these kind of things. Opinions may vary, and that's mine.
@Ryuzaki Do you still do this with Category pages?

Alternately, what do you think about setting viewable posts in a category to something like 99999 posts, thus there is only 1 page in the category? Right now some of my categories have 75 - 100 posts, causing a bunch of category stuff to show in serps.

Oh, another thing, something it shows in the serps as "Archive". Any idea why that is?
 

Ryuzaki

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@Sutra, Yeah, I still do this. John Mueller later said that dofollowing links to noindex pages ultimately makes those nofollow links since they aren't in the index. I still do this in light of that information. I don't think he communicated clearly about it. I don't think actually become nofollow, it's just that the juice is wasted to some degree. I'm pretty sure it wasn't all that true, since Google likely maps all pages, not just the ones they include in the index, or they wouldn't have an accurate link graph.

I plan on doing something similar to what you've said. I don't think I'll boost up to 99999 (unlimited), but I definitely want to have many multiples from the 10 I have now. In retrospect that was way too low. I just haven't revisited it yet. But @turbin3 made a good point about crawling, crawl budget, etc. in this regard. I think it's a good idea. Like you said, you'll have a better chance to rank those pages if you want, too.

I'm not sure why it would say 'Archive.' Is it showing that in the title tag, the bread crumbs, where? I'm assuming it's Yoast overriding your title tags on archives. They keep changing stuff just for the sake of changing it, so yours might not say what you think it says. You can check the Search Appearance tab for Taxonomies and look for this kind of thing:

 

turbin3

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@Ryuzaki
Alternately, what do you think about setting viewable posts in a category to something like 99999 posts, thus there is only 1 page in the category? Right now some of my categories have 75 - 100 posts, causing a bunch of category stuff to show in serps.
That's what I've taken to doing lately. What I try to do is look at the big picture structure of my categories versus the post volume in each, in comparison to my content coverage of the niche. For example, if you're reaching over 50 posts in a category, I might start looking at whether it makes sense to create additional categories.

Here's an example. Say you have a "blue widgets" category with 75 posts. Based on keyword research, maybe you find that you have "enough" posts to justify splitting that in to 3-5 categories, each with a minimum of 10-15 posts. Maybe:
  • blue widget guides (e.g. /blue-widget-guides/)
  • blue widget reviews (e.g. /blue-widget-reviews/)
  • widget comparisons (e.g. /widget-comparisons/)
  • widget customization tips (e.g. /widget-customization-tips/)
Lots of people typically have their category pagination set around 10 posts per page or so. Sometimes more or less, but 10 is pretty common. So in the first case, you'd have this sort of breakdown:
  • 1 category (e.g. /blue-widgets/)
  • 1 indexed page
  • 7-10 noindexed, thin content pages
In my example scenario, you'd end up with something more like this:
  • 4 categories
  • 4 indexed pages (set pagination at 999 or whatever)
Now you have 4 separate categories, focused on different subjects. You now have opportunity to optimize for 4 different subjects. With a Wordpress site, you also have the ability to create custom category templates, so you can take that optimization to the next level.

For example, you could add supplemental content to an individual category page, so it's not just a listing of posts. Traditionally, this is where people would just use the Wordpress "Page" function to create an optimized page. The same can also be done with a category page. The Googles don't know no difference between the 2, if the content on them is the same, if you catch my drift? In that case, instead of having a paginated (pg2+ noindexed) category + separate Wordpress page, you end up aggregating everything to 1 category page and making a custom template. So much cleaner to keep track of IMO.

You could also add an in-page nav to jump around the page. In some cases, I'll create parent and child categories. Then on my custom category template, I'll loop over the child categories and output a list of child categories with maybe a few posts from each, and links to the individual child category pages (basically creating a silo).

Does that make sense where I'm going with that? It can go a long way towards eliminating a lot of wasted crawls on thin content, low quality, poorly optimized pages and allows you to focus things much better.

In cases where you just have so much content that even with a long tail category you still have tons of posts, there are still options. For example, going the route of my example, I might still display 50-100 posts on one page (GASP!). I'm not saying you should, I'm just saying I can think of examples where I could make that work.

In cases like that I'd probably look at UI/UX and turning it into an awesome user experience. One option might be firing up an Algolia account, indexing your posts, and creating a real time search for just that one category page. Feast your eyes on this Algolia react search demo. Type in some stuff to try and filter. Now imagine your user being able to just jump into a single category page, type a few words (e.g. "blue widget beginner guide") and get their solution in milliseconds!

I detailed quite a few other thoughts relevant to this over in this big site structure thread.