Archive lists are cool. They provide your readers with 'at-a-glance' idea about the content you have and can help your readers to choose your next article to read. There are cons though, and these cons are... huge.
If your archive lists are generated on server-side (that is done in Blogger, Wordpress, and basically every blogging platform), and if you have archive list as a widget, your every page will contain the titles of your blog posts. Is that good or bad?
If you are a smart guy and write extensive keyword-filled titles for your posts, that is great. You will appear in more search result pages, you have a bigger chance to be spotted for referring to the specific topic - writing good, extensive titles is a must-do for any good blogger. But. If you have an open blog archive in your blog template, then your link-baiting titles will appear on your every page.
Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz has written a great article about keyword cannibalization. While his article is great, Rand's illustrations are even more fabulous, they are a piece of art and SEO history. I can't help but to post it here - I will never be able to create such a ingenious illustration:
To check it, I have run an experiment. I have unwrapped the "blog archive" widget and let it run for quite some time, checking Google Analytics for "inconsistencies".
The results? They didn't ask me to wait long. I have started to receive hits for 'gemcraft' keyword into my Sonny page instead of dedicated GemCraft page. And even one hit to my X-Com page by "gemcraft walkthrough" keyword.
The reason? They all are about games. And they all contain the keyword-filled "GemCraft by ArmorGames - walkthrough, hints, tips and tricks" phrase from unwrapped blog archive.
The solution? wrap your blog archive. Easy as that. This way, Google will have no problem deciding which of your pages is the most relevant for a specific keyword, and your visitors will be happy to receive exactly what they were looking for, instead of marking you as a "evil spammer who used black-hat SEO technologies to fool Google into showing his (probably malware-ridden) content in response to valid keywords."
Be nice to your readers and visitors. Wrap your blog archive.
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