“I am running a WordPress website. To avoid the risk of duplicate content, should I use a noindex tag on Categories and Archives Pages? Will this impact my overall traffic?
Thanks Steve”

This is a great question, thank you. It’s important for every SEO professional to fundamentally understand how Google works.

So to begin with, the answer is probably not. Most websites don’t need to be concerned about Google crawling some pages that they find no value in.

Pages like tag pages, category pages, and search results that are included “out of the box” in popular CMS like Drupal and WordPress are generally not prevalent enough to matter. If Google sees value in them, they will crawl them and index them. If they don’t, they won’t.

If you have a large ecommerce site, with hundreds of thousands of products, this may become a bigger issue, because you want to focus Google’s crawlers on the pages that matter, and remove things that don’t have any value.

To fully answer this question, you also must understand the difference between robots.txt blocking and a meta noindex tag, as well as how 404s and soft 404s work.

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