Episode 18: How to Publish Hidden Web Pages


If you own a website, you should be aware of the dangers of having your secret pages indexed by Google. You might have some pages on your site that are not meant to be indexed by search engines. And it is important that you know how to deal with these pages in order to avoid problems with Google.

Listen to Episode 18

In today’s episode, we will guide you on the right ways to deal with your secret pages. We will also dive into how you own your images and content without compromise.


[01:00] How to deal with "hidden pages"
[02:46] Why you need a password for hidden pages
[03:37] The dangers of having your secret pages indexed
[05:16] Why you shouldn’t have your secret page indexed by google
[09:15] The importance of posting your images and content on your blog first

"If you don’t want pages to appear in Google, you need to use a password."
"When you create new pages, Google knows it- even if they're not linked from other pages."
"When secret pages are indexed, it can raise red flags with Google."

Episode Transcript
Meredith's Husband: [00:19]

Meredith: [00:24]

Meredith's Husband: [00:25]
How are you?

Meredith: [00:26]
I'm great, thanks. How are you doing?

Meredith's Husband: [00:27]
I'm pretty good

Meredith: [00:28]
Listener. I hope you're doing wonderfully. Thank you again for coming back for more. I hope. I also wanted to say this that I have never known. I never have any idea what my husband is going to ask, so I literally am just showing up. So if I if I don't sound like a the brilliant genius that I'm usually unprepared. Yes, that's exactly just to. I just wanted to get that.

Meredith's Husband: [00:55]
That's that's how I like it. I'm like the crazy director. I want to keep my actors in the dark and get their their their true response. It's more real that way.

Meredith: [01:05]
Good, director.

Meredith's Husband: [01:06]
No, actually. I mean, it does help. Like if I'm saying something and you're giving me a look like, what the hell are you talking about? I'm like, OK. People probably don't get this right. And if you're like, Oh yes, oh, I see, then I'm like, OK, I'm connecting with at least one person. Yes, yes. Ok, so today, yes, this is something. I've gotten this question a bunch of times from photographers, and it's something that is not. It's very common in among photographers. It's not exclusive to the photography industry. This is something that any website can deal with. But for photographers, it's especially common. And that is, how do you deal with your hidden pages, what you probably refer to as your hidden pages? Yeah. So whatever these are, these could be your client. Whatever a page on your website that know that if somebody if I go to your website and there's no link to it, so it's kind of secret.

Meredith: [01:56]
Sometimes it's when photographers, when they do online galleries, then that's what they...

Meredith's Husband: [02:04]
Yes. Like if you

Meredith: [02:06]
If you do it

Meredith's Husband: [02:07]
Right, if you have your online client gallery that you send, that's probably on a what we call a subdomain like what are they, Zen folio and peak time and those. So it would be like clients dot your domain. Yeah, that's a subdomain. And those are all so hidden. This is what I'm going to say applies to those as well. But this also would be pages like, Oh, I have a, you know, a blog post or something or a page or website on my website that I don't link to. But once somebody signs up and they book a session, then I send them the link and it, OK, right? There's kind of privileged information there. That's what I have found is that's pretty common. And so what are the SEO implications of those pages? What should you do with them, et cetera? There's a very specific answer, and they need to have a password. They need to have a password. Yeah. And this is kind of the question I get like passwords. Setting passwords are kind of tricky. It's it takes extra time. It's a pain in the ass, I know, but you've got to put a password on there.

Meredith: [03:08]
And why?

Meredith's Husband: [03:09]
Because even if you don't, when you don't link to your to these secret hidden pages. Mm hmm. Google's going to find them anyway, because what happened? There's a number of ways that can happen, but what happens the most often if you're on WordPress, if you're on Squarespace, if you're on probably Wix or any of these others when you create a page? On your website, you don't need to link to it, there's what they call a site map and WordPress and Squarespace, they automatically generate this site map and that site map is submitted to Google. Google knows the site map, so when you create a new page, Google knows about it. It has the site map, it's going to index it. So that's one way that those pages are going to get indexed immediately. Got it. So if you don't want those pages indexed, they're going to need a password, and the danger of having those pages indexed is twofold. I mean, I suppose people could enter your just random people. The public could enter your website through those pages, and you probably you might not want that. The other danger is this starts to look like an old Black Hat SEO technique called doorway pages and immediately is going to raise a red flag to Google that you're trying some underhanded tactic that CEOs really have kind of stopped using. But it used to be we would use these doorway pages and we would try to attract attention from Google with these doorway pages, and they might not.

Meredith's Husband: [04:33]
They probably have content that's not really relevant to our website, so we don't link to it from our website. It's a secret page. We just want people coming in through that door. We don't want to actually, we don't want our website visitors to actually see that because for some reason it's not really relevant. We're just using it like a magnet to try to trick Google and get organic traffic. That's what used to happen. So you don't want to make it look to Google like you're trying to do that and that's what you're doing if you have these secret pages and they don't have a password. Ok, now the good news is it doesn't need to be a it can be the easiest password in the world. It can be the same password for everybody. It can be. It can be moose. It could be password. It can be one two three. It can be. I like to use. Remember just the word. Remember, it's easy to remember. Yeah, you can be anything. All it needs to do is stop the Google Bot from following a link to that page and in indexing it and then sending the info back to Google headquarters and say, Here's this page I found so and.

Meredith: [05:36]
Why don't we why do we not want it index

Meredith's Husband: [05:39]
If it is indexed, it's going to look to Google like a doorway page? Ok, that's what you're going to look. Your website is going to appear start to appear suspicious to Google if you have these pages that are not linked. They're also what we would call orphaned pages. There are pages that are not linked. They've been and this happens a lot with WordPress. You know, people take a page off of their site, but it's actually still live and Google still knows about it. Some people can still be visiting. It just is it's an orphan now. It's kind of separate from your website. So this isn't actually an error that as an SEO, we come in and we evaluate a site and we need to fix. So I'm sorry, but you got to put a password on this.

Meredith: [06:22]

Meredith's Husband: [06:23]
But to now just make it as easy as possible to robots? Very yes. Whatever, whatever it is, or it can be separate, you know, it doesn't matter. They have all individual keywords. No, I meant to say passwords there. I know that can be a little bit of a pain for your clients as well. Yeah, but the thing and I spoke with someone recently, you know, when you send these pages to your clients, you are giving them kind of a little bit of inside accent access. It's kind of like a VIP type thing, like, Oh, here's your special page. And you know what? I don't think that a client is really going to be that bothered if there's a password. In fact, I think they would. I think they would feel even more so like there now they've signed up, now they're getting access to some the good stuff, the real, you know, whatever that is, you know, you get your website, it's for the public. Here's the secret

Meredith: [07:18]
Here the goody special new dimension.

Meredith's Husband: [07:21]
So in that, I mean, so you could make it their name that makes them feel very special, but then you get to create a new password like I would. I would just keep the password the same and just give it to people that way. Yeah.

Meredith: [07:33]
Yeah. Good to know.

Meredith's Husband: [07:35]
Ok. So do that. Number two, there's two things today I saw some, but I saw a photographer who was taking their, you know, they would take their they have a shoot, get some images they want to put online, and they would put them on Instagram first. And then they would get they. Then they put them on their blog or when they got to it or whatever. And I need to say, good god, don't do that.

Meredith: [08:02]
So don't put any social media before you put it, not your

Meredith's Husband: [08:05]
First, not first. Remember, there was an episode we had where you got to own your content. This is kind of along those lines. If you take your image and you put it in the first place that you publish it on the internet is on Instagram. Yeah, that's it. That's Instagram's image now. Oh, OK, so Google sees it. Google a Google can know when a when the same image is repeated, it can find it. And it does that. Not by looking at it with eyeballs like we would do, but the coding of an image is like thousands and thousands of characters. Google just reads those and says, Oh, this image is the same as this one. So when Google first sees an image on Instagram, it attributes that image to Instagram. It's on Instagram. First, please put it on your own blog.

Meredith: [08:51]
Oh man, I've been putting I've been posting things on Instagram that I have not even put on a blog.

Meredith's Husband: [08:56]
Oh yeah. If it's an image that you want to, you know, maintain, you know, ownership of, I don't know legally. I don't know what the implications are. Although I think whenever you put an image on Instagram, technically, I think they own the rights to do whatever.

Meredith: [09:11]
Yeah, I thought they changed it, but I doubt that they did.

Meredith's Husband: [09:14]
I don't know. To be honest, I don't know. I'm not. I have no idea. All I know is that when Google sees an image. And it seems that published on Site A and then later, it's also published on Site B, C and D. Yeah, that image belongs to Site A, B, C and D. So this this this has a storied past, not with images, but with content. So when you think about content, if you have a blog article, let's say you're an author. You write, you write something, you put it on. I don't know the New York Times and then you put it on your blog a week later. Mm-hmm. When somebody is searching for that content, Google thinks that the owner of that content is the New York Times. No, and maybe and honestly, to be honest, if you're writing for The New York Times, that's why. Yeah, legally, you have to do that, right? But you know, this came into play because what happened is, you know, I had a client who did this and they got it did not end well, but they just took other people's content so they would find content online. They would take it, they'd put it on their own site and they would do this in bulk. So they had thousands and thousands of pages of content and they ranked really, really well. And I kept telling them, You can't do this, you can't do this, you can't do this. And his response was, Well, it's always worked before. It'll always. No, no,

Meredith: [10:31]
No, it doesn't. Yeah.

Meredith's Husband: [10:33]
And he was very upset with me. Why when it didn't go well, why didn't he told them? I'm like, Here are 10 emails where I very specifically said,

Meredith: [10:42]
Yeah, if people, you know, this is one thing as a wife of you that I can say the number of times, and I'm sure I've said this on this podcast before, but the number of times that you tell people just do this just and don't do that and they don't and they don't listen to you and then doesn't go, which shit that happens when they don't listen to you. So listeners, listen, there

Meredith's Husband: [11:08]
Are, you know, and obviously, I'm not going to tell you about the times where I fuck up and I do something stupid. No, it takes me. Although that's not to be honest, to be honest, that doesn't happen all that often. I know because I don't tell people very specifically do this unless it's super concrete like you really need to do that. Like, this is not my opinion. This is like a well-known industry in my industry. Yeah. You know, so that's when I am very specific and I tell people, you need to do this. And sometimes they don't. They don't think they think it's just, I don't know, blowing smoke. I don't know.

Meredith: [11:46]
I don't know. I don't know. But, but

Meredith's Husband: [11:48]
But of course,

Meredith: [11:49]
Of course

Meredith's Husband: [11:50]
Of you know, of course, they're going to blame me for that. They're not going to blame themselves. No, no. People rarely blame themselves. So even if I told them they were going to, they'll say something. You didn't make it clear enough or something, whatever. Anyway, I don't want to turn this podcast into a rant.

Meredith: [12:06]
So no, no, no. It's just I'm merely saying that. Yeah, it's best to listen to you. You know what you're talking about

Meredith's Husband: [12:15]
On some,

Meredith: [12:16]
Some and I'm not paid to say that.

Meredith's Husband: [12:19]
Right. I don't pay her anything,

Meredith: [12:22]
Nothing but

Meredith's Husband: [12:25]
Love. Ok, so so yeah, so. So you know, and maybe you have images where you where it's fine, you don't care if they go on Instagram first. What if these selfies, you know, whatever, what if you

Meredith: [12:37]
Put your watermark on it?

Meredith's Husband: [12:40]
Yeah, well, still, you know, Google is going to see that image and be like that image was published on Instagram a week ago, and now Meredith is putting it on her site.

Meredith: [12:51]
Oh. Now, what if I re-edited it? Would that change that

Meredith's Husband: [12:58]
Would that change it? Yeah, OK. But but but the same thing if it is if it is like one of your if it's a photo that you value at all and maybe you think, Hey, if people, I want my potential customers, my potential clients to see this image, I want this image to appear in Google. When somebody does a search and I want them to see this like then put it on your blog first. And maybe, you know, maybe if that's just not going to fit in your workflow, like, you know, I understand it's harder to put an image on your blog than it is on Instagram. I get that. Maybe you can have like a private Instagram account and embed images from your from that private account on your blog. I don't know. Try, try to find a workflow where this is easy. It doesn't need, you know, maybe you can have some blog pages that are just photos, just shoots from photos. Or, you know, maybe you can have some photos. Yeah, if you have a photo, you can take a shoot from it.

Meredith: [13:59]
Yeah, put it on you as photographers

Meredith's Husband: [14:02]
Maybe have a blog post that's just like, here's, you know, sort of duplicate what's on your Instagram page and just have it be images and just load images on there. Just say, Hey, here's my Instagram feed. It's essentially the same thing. You can do that. That's really good to try. Try to try to do that. Try. Yeah, especially like I said if it's an image that you want potential clients to see and come to your website as a result, yeah, then put them on on your blog first. So what? You should send me your workflow if you're listening to this and you're like, I don't know how this is going to work, just tag me on Instagram. Meredith's husband says, here's my workflow. Tell me what your workflow is. I will tell you all the things wrong with it, you know, because I'm curious because there's I'm sure everybody has a different workflow. Some things work. Some things don't. Some things are easy. Some things are not.

Meredith: [14:56]
So things flow. Some things,

Meredith's Husband: [14:58]
No. So please do those two things.

Meredith: [15:02]
Ok, thank you. That's it. Those are good to know. Those are two very important buttons that are important.

Meredith's Husband: [15:10]
All right. I'll see everyone. Actually, I won't see anyone. You'll hear from us soon.

Meredith: [15:16]
Yes, we look forward to your tuning in. We look forward to your ideas and thoughts and comments. And thank you for listening.

Meredith's Husband: [15:24]
Thank you, everybody. Bye.

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