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Old 05-20-2008   #1
VictorEdinian
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Cookied Pages (Robots.txt)

I have a good one for you:

One of my clients is serving an intro page to new visitors (non-cookied) to try and attain more customers (non-seo).

The problem is that I'm not 100% with this strategy as an SEO, since I fear that the engines may view this as dark-hat. Granted, NxxFlix also employs this strategy (hint, hint).

To avoid any SEO penalties, shall we program a no-follow/no-index command in the Robots.txt file? This, to not confuse the engine and avoid a drop in rankings/penalties? Also, what is the downside of employing such a strategy?

Thanks for your input.

-Victor

Last edited by VictorEdinian : 05-21-2008 at 01:26 AM.
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Old 05-20-2008   #2
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Re: Cookied Pages (Robots.txt)

Treat engines the same as other users. Let me guess, the intro page is Flash?
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Old 05-20-2008   #3
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Re: Cookied Pages (Robots.txt)

I agree with your analogy, and that's why I'm a little fearful.

The page is actually a 5 tabbed registration/product selection page for new customers. Exactly like the one NxxFlix uses.

For my client, If your cookied already (2nd visit), you will get to the home page (SEO friendly), bypassing the Intro-page.

NxxFlix always displays this 5 tabbed "welcome" page until you register, at which time you will begin to see another page (User Home page).

It looks like it's working for NxxFlix, and that's what management is arguing.

I dispute this strategy, since I believe that simplicity will bring you ultimate SEO success, and this "cookied" Intro-page strategy could even penalize our rankings.

I thought about the Robots.txt idea, but even that may hurt us, since the robots see the non-cookied Intro-page and will go away, not indexing anything, ultimately hurting our rankings even more.

If management does decide to stick with this IntroPage idea, could this kill our rankings, since it does appear dark-hat.

Any suggestions?
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Old 05-20-2008   #4
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Re: Cookied Pages (Robots.txt)

My apologies for the long post. I guess essentially wanted to know how much of a penalty serving two separate pages will bring my client.

That might help sell the Nay ;-)
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Old 05-20-2008   #5
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Re: Cookied Pages (Robots.txt)

Apparantly if you are a public company with 70k links and 9 years history you can get away with it. There are many other examples of the same situation. But I can pretty much guarantee the average site will not get away with it.
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Old 05-20-2008   #6
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Re: Cookied Pages (Robots.txt)

Quote:
Originally Posted by VictorEdinian View Post
My apologies for the long post. I guess essentially wanted to know how much of a penalty serving two separate pages will bring my client.

That might help sell the Nay ;-)
Any activities "off of the beaten path" could be a bad signals to engines. At the same time netfilx doesn't seem to be doing anything wrong.

When users arrive via Google they get the home page and aren't redirected. Users who arrive via the .com URL are redirected to the /Register page. When redirected a 302 is being used which is correct otherwise the /Register URL would appear in the SERPS instead of the .com URL. The key is that users from Google aren't being redirected and that two pages aren't being served at the same URL. Chances are, with JavaScript off there is no difference at all.

Nofollow and Noindex are independent but either way neither one would be placed in the robots.txt. Nofollow and noindex are robots meta data and belong in the head of the HTML page and not robots.txt.

Netflix is attempting to block the 302 /Register page via robots.tx but, using a robots.txt doesn't mean the page doesn't appear in the SERPs.

http://www.google.com/search?q=site%...x.com+register
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Old 05-21-2008   #7
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Re: Cookied Pages (Robots.txt)

Thanks for the Robots.txt correction.

Regarding the 302 redirect, that makes sense as to how the page loads differently on the two different queries (Google / Manual).

Now if one completes registration on NxxFlix, they receive a cookie, at which time the Member page is displayed with all of the movies and services, bypassing the registeration/welcome page altogether (Google and manual type).

I think this (Serving the member page)is what my client is wanting to replicate to get more sign ups. Except they have 2,500+ free unique articles that we rely on to propel the home page for my client's top keywords.

I just think the cookie idea may be a little to aggressive for SEO, and that link building and all other SEO efforts will come more into play, if we were to go this route.

My only fear is that I don't want to get my client penalized, and not work in vein, especially after months of link building and solid growth in rankings.

Don't know for sure.
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Old 05-21-2008   #8
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Re: Cookied Pages (Robots.txt)

I agree it may be aggressive for SEO but from a user and search engine standpoint it seems ok.

Honestly, hard to say without seeing the actual site.
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