Large websites tend to have many useless pages associated with them. They may be caused by any of the following
- poorly structured or poorly formatted user generated content
- content duplication due to content management issues
- canonical related issues
- dangling nodes which act as PageRank sinks
- navigational pages which are heavily duplicated and soak up link authority and do not provide a clean site structure
I recently have had a couple SEOs show me various navigational techniques which made thousands of thousands of somewhat similar mid level navigational pages.
Some pages make sense to be indexed and provide a great user experience if searchers land on them. Others provide a poor user experience.
Search engines do not like indexing search results from other engines, so if your navigational scheme has an element which acts similar to an internal search engine you probably do not want all those search pages getting indexed if they are heavily duplicates of one another.
I was talking to Stuntdubl the other day, and he stated one of the main things he likes to look at to get a general indication of the health of a site is to look at the ratio of quality pages indexed to total pages indexed from your site.
If lots of your indexed pages are heavily duplicated and/or of low value that may cause search engines to crawl or index your site less deeply and not index all your individual product level pages.
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