Comment on WordPress SEO Tutorial by WordPress SEO Theme Author.
Here’s an extreme for you, you noindex but follow links from your home page. All those hard earned backlinks do ZERO SEO work on your home page, does that sound like a good SEO tip?
Is there much difference between your home page and a category page, do you not want all your link benefit as it flows through your site (through links) to work on every page it passes through?
I have plenty of SERPs from category pages, I’d never noindex them.
Each page link benefit passes through uses link benefit: if you are familiar with the PageRank formula it’s the dampening factor and it’s estimated 15% of the link benefit is ‘used’ on each page the link benefit passes through. If you noindex a page 15% of the link benefit passing though that page does no SEO work (that’s bad SEO wise).
From a link benefit perspective it makes no sense at all to ever use noindex, there’s no SEO benefit from a link benefit perspective to use noindex since it wastes a sites most valuable SEO resource.
There are arguments for not wanting some pages of a site indexed, the best way to achieve this is not create pages you don’t want indexed. Second best solution is don’t link to them as there’s no easy way to stop link benefit passing through a standard link without deleting (nofollow deletes it) or wasting it (noindex wastes it).
I’m working on a WordPress SEO plugin that will do what noindex does, but does not waste link benefit. The SEO plugin stops archive pages from being indexed (like noindex), but rather than waste the link benefit it redirects it back to the home page.
So far with the SEO plugin all archive types can be independently not indexed in their entirety (so all date archives, all categories, all tags, all search etc…) and working on the ability to have only the first page of an archive set (first page of category for example) indexed with the paged archives redirected back to the first page (currently have it working with it redirecting the link benefit back to home, want to redirect back to the first page of an archive set).
Also almost got it working with individual static pages and blog posts, you select a list of page/post IDs you don’t want indexing (got a problem to solve in the code to get it fully working).
In my tests (not with this exact plugin setup, but same concept: built into a part of Stallion) it works well. Surprised no one has thought of an SEO plugin like this before as noindex and nofollow are anti-SEO and should be avoided.
Currently plan to give the SEO plugin away for free to support Stallion sales (it will work with most WordPress themes).