What Tolkien can teach you about selective indexing

Posted on January 31, 2011


aragornJ.R.R. Tolkien was a brilliant man by anyone’s reckoning. A noted English and literary scholar, Tolkien left a lasting literary legacy with his numerous fantasy novels. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is possibly the most famous of them today, but there’s a reason that many fans of the story have never made it through the books. Each book is less a novel, more an encyclopaedia.

The most common criticism of Tolkien is that he writes about everything in his novels. He gives as much attention to a small group of plants as he does to Aragorn‘s love life. To modern readers, it’s a case of TMI – too much information. The books represent too much of a commitment to appeal to a wider audience.

Too much information can drag anything down, including your website. Just because you have 3,000 pages doesn’t mean you want every one of them indexed. Some of these pages contain information that’s useless for search purposes, such as terms and conditions pages, disclaimers and privacy policies.

The answer is to reduce the amount of information, sculpting the indexing process through your robots.txt during search engine optimisation. Selecting which pages the search engines focus on gives you more control over how your site is viewed, and ultimately gives your SEO plan more impact.

Tolkien’s works are still admired by millions worldwide, despite the criticisms. Unfortunately, your website doesn’t have as much clout. Save the search engines and your SEO plan much work by sculpting page indexing and assigning priority to the pages that matter most.

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