Recently we had a dilemma with Schema markup on a website we were working on that was caught using Google Webmaster Tools – it was a sudden search in errors that definitely caught our attention:
We were in the process of working on this structured data (where the former SEO company had implemented it every which way possible, resulting in weird anomalies every way you can think of it), and were making progress until the spike today. Now structured data hasn’t been overly documented for harming SEO efforts, but we certainly aren’t going to just leave around these errors if we can correct them.
After further inspection, we noticed what was becoming the root of these new-found errors:
Basically, all of the errors were spawning from the use of “tags” on the website – normally used to further categorize posts (or blogs) in the website for easier navigation for visitors. While we definitely condone the use of categories and tags for making a blog highly searchable for someone looking into more posts on your website, there are definitely some repercussions in their usage, and here are two examples:
1.) These tags have their own “slugs”, effectively creating completely new URLs and in turn completely new pages of the website. This problem is fairly unique to WordPress (and I’d imagine a lot of CMS’s) because of the “on the fly” component of how pages are created on the website. These kinds of pages don’t have as easily accessible PHP/editors to implement structured data and make further adjustments, and if there isn’t a tag.php or something comparable, you may be finding yourself with a lot of pages with Schema markup you can’t reach.
2.) Not only is the inability to edit Schema markup a problem, but the sheer number of actual pages that are almost always (by default) indexed poses the very real problem of duplicate content. For example, let’s say you have a website that currently indexes /tag and you create a new blog with a tag. Your blog is called “5 Reasons Why Tags Annoy Me” and the URL is www.domain.com/blog/five-reasons-why-tags-annoy-me. You tag it as a “rant” and now you also have a URL www.domain.com/tag/rant that was JUST created simultaneously and has EXACTLY the same content. Yikes.
So what do we do? From quite a bit of online research we did to corroborate our suspicions, we would want to NO INDEX NO FOLLOW every tag page we have.
We use Yoast SEO for this situation – if you have that installed on your WordPress blog already, go to the dropdown and select “Titles & Metas”. Then follow the image:
This may be helpful for categories as well if you have a lot. Again, this gives you the opportunity to avoid duplicate content and reduce the likelihood of weird Schema information if you’ve been making an effort to implement it.
Now we’ll have to see what the impact is! If you have any further questions about what this all means and how it can really affect you, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.