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Nightmare with categories and tags

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I've been optimizing SEO page indexing for months now. Today, suddenly, due to hundreds of tags and categories, there are hundreds of pages again that Google does not index because of duplicates and other reasons. First it were 404s because a bunch of tags should be deleted due content change. 302s are limited to 200 by squarespace and work emotionally just as Google likes. So captured again, now duplicate. With the Farro template, tags and categories cannot be set to noindex. That's unusable. A huge mess. Does anyone have the same problem? How to solve this?

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Because Squarespace automatically creates your sitemap, unfortunately, you can't fix a lot of the above. For example, the tag pages are created - you can't remove them from your sitemap, delete them or noindex them. The best you can do is 301 redirect them if you no longer need them.

Henry Purchase

Founder of SEOSpace - the SEO plugin for Squarespace.

Get a Free Squarespace SEO Audit: https://www.seospace.co/squarespace-seo-audit-score

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2 hours ago, SEOSpace_Henry said:

you can't fix a lot of the above

Since these pages don't get indexed in GSC do you find that they have a negative impact on the website SEO? Would you recommend avoiding or minimizing the use of tags and categories?

Please like and upvote if my comments were helpful to you. Cheers!

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@Ziggy - I'd say it's often more due to a lack of understanding when it's negative - I see some users who add tonnes of tags and categories, because they think they're just like giving a "topic" to their blogs.

This often ends up bloating websites - I try and keep mine as lean as possible, although, that's not to say they're necessarily more negative for SEO, probably more my OCD.

Henry Purchase

Founder of SEOSpace - the SEO plugin for Squarespace.

Get a Free Squarespace SEO Audit: https://www.seospace.co/squarespace-seo-audit-score

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16 minutes ago, SEOSpace_Henry said:

This often ends up bloating websites - I try and keep mine as lean as possible, although, that's not to say they're necessarily more negative for SEO, probably more my OCD.

Lean is a good approach, thanks for your insight.

Please like and upvote if my comments were helpful to you. Cheers!

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@smartmyway You can temporarily make another page Home, toggle the SEO settings on the blog page to your preferred setup, then set the blog back to Home. But based on your post above, it sounds like there is some confusion around tags/categories, redirects, etc. So proceed with caution. 

Have SEO questions? Chances are we've written about it! Try a quick Google search to find our advice. Or for personalized support, see our consulting and training sessions.  Official Squarespace Experts since 2014 

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Thank you for your valuable insights.

I have kept the number of categories manageable: There are currently 12 active categories. The website is active since 2018 and over this time I may have deleted or reorganized 10 more categories in the meantime. So categories are manageable and can be kept under control at least manually.

With the tags it looks different. In a blog you normally use as many relevant tags as possible to give the user the possibility to get good results with the internal search. There are about 50 well-founded and extensive articles in the blog now.

Are 10 tags per article too much? Today I say yes. Why? Because so 50 articles make about 500 tags, which each tag ist published by squarspace as a single page (!) in the sitemap indexable for SEO.

So I'm already above squarspace's recommended number of pages for a website. Now this doesn't worry me much, because they are only very small pages (only the link of the tag is in it). But Squarspace also talks about a page limit of 1000 pages for a website, which of course can be reached quickly with this weak tags SEO-concept. A little professional blogging and this limit is reached.

This actually leads to the fact that tags can practically not be used professionally. Or you have to choose a Squarespace template that can set categories and tags to noindex (there are such templates but the used Farro cannot).

As a workaround, I will now as recommended by Henry, minimize the tags as much as possible in the future. Deleting a larger number of already existing tags is a hopeless job, because every tag page would have to be announced to Google with a 301 redirect. But the number of such statements (example: /journal/[name] -> /blog/[name] 301) is limited to 200 by Squarespace as far as I know.

Well, the world is not coming to an end. But actually I can't systematically SEO optimize the site anymore, because the work of tags cleanup is just too much and way too complicated: currently Google has indexed 997 pages from the site and 850 (!) pages not indexed for 8 (!) different reasons. This certainly has a negative impact on the page's ranking on Google. For a professionally used site this is very negative.

It would be great if Squarspace could provide a workable solution to this: Specifically, tags with noindex-possebility in the sitemap would have to be disclosed to Google. Without a mess like the one on my site now is practically impossible to clean up. Even if all tags are deleted, the Google algorithm goes completely nuts and gets very angry because of the many 404s that result ...

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My point above, if desired you can noindex the tags. And as Google says: "In general, 404 errors won’t impact your site’s search performance, and you can safely ignore them if you’re certain that the URLs should not exist on your site."

Have SEO questions? Chances are we've written about it! Try a quick Google search to find our advice. Or for personalized support, see our consulting and training sessions.  Official Squarespace Experts since 2014 

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20 minutes ago, smartmyway said:

page limit of 1000 pages

Tag and category pages don't count towards this limit, they are pseudo pages. Blog items also don't count.

https://support.squarespace.com/hc/en-us/articles/206543087-Page-limits#toc-pages-that-count-toward-the-limit

You can do as @ChristineDarby suggests and hide the tag "pages" from Search:

image.thumb.png.16f2adebf4463addc51c284e136b8528.png

Don't toggle the top one! 

Please like and upvote if my comments were helpful to you. Cheers!

Zygmunt Spray
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https://squarefortytwo.com 
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  • Solution
2 hours ago, smartmyway said:

Unfortunately, with the Farro template, you can't make that setting for Google not to index tags. 

You can, but SEO settings are not available on your homepage. You should be able to get around this by setting a different page as your homepage, tweaking the SEO settings on your blog page, then changing the homepage back to the blog page.

Please like and upvote if my comments were helpful to you. Cheers!

Zygmunt Spray
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https://squarefortytwo.com 
Hire me on Upwork!

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Hmm, I have now also selected the Categories and after some time both, the Tags and Categories, disappeared in the Sitemap.xml. I think it worked. Thank you. You have helped me. I had not understood that it was not related to the Farro template, but to the start page of the website. Thanks again!

😁

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24 minutes ago, smartmyway said:

I had not understood that it was not related to the Farro template, but to the start page of the website. Thanks again!

Glad that's working for you!

Please like and upvote if my comments were helpful to you. Cheers!

Zygmunt Spray
Squarespace Website Designer
Contact me: 
https://squarefortytwo.com 
Hire me on Upwork!

🔌 Ghost Squarespace Plugins (Referral link)
📈 SEO Space (Referral link)
 SquareWebsites Plugins (Referral link)
 🔲 SQSP Themes (Referral link) 
Spark Plugin (Referral link) 

 Did I help? Buy me a coffee?

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