Wix, WordPress and Joomla make it simple to edit the head of a page using noindex robots meta tags; however it should only be done when appropriate.
John Mueller recently answered a query from one of his readers regarding adding noindex values to product pages that were no longer in stock, in order to prevent search engines from indexing these pages.
Used properly, noindex can be an invaluable asset in improving the SEO of your website. It allows you to exclude pages from search engine indexes without having to remove them entirely which makes noindex especially effective when used for lesser-used pages such as landing pages or archive listings.
There are two methods available to implement noindex on a website using either the meta tag or HTTP response headers. Both will achieve the same goal simply choose which best suits your site.
For WordPress sites, the meta tag is often the easiest and least complex solution available requiring no additional plugins or modifications to use effectively. When applicable (for instance when your product page is out-of-stock) using noindex meta tags to prevent their appearance in search results may be effective).
A noindex meta tag informs search engines not to index a given page on your website however, the page will still be accessible through internal links or navigational menus. It is a temporary solution and may be removed at any time.
Noindex can help to strengthen SEO by clearly communicating the hierarchy of your site to Google and preventing content cannibalization between pages on your site. This is especially helpful when two pages compete for similar keywords noindexing one will stop duplicate content being produced by both pages!
The noindex meta tag may not have the same impact as nofollow meta tags in telling search engines to avoid indexing links on a page and pass along link equity; however, it provides a quicker and simpler solution for discouraging indexation than manually recrawling each one individually.
Using <meta> Tag
The noindex value of the robots meta tag requests that automated Internet bots do not index a website page. It is part of an HTTP response header sent back to browsers and search engines as part of an HTTP response, informing them how they should handle pages on a website – also applicable for non-HTML pages such as PDF files; additionally it can be combined with follow/nofollow meta tags to alter how links on that web page are treated.
By default, all pages on a website are indexed, making it easier for users to locate what they need quickly. However, some pages may be unnecessary or have minimal content, making a noindex meta tag an easy and effective solution.
To use a noindex meta tag on your website, insert it into the head section and assign it to specific pages you wish to de-index. To test whether or not the noindex tag is working as intended paste a test URL into any web browser to see if the page appears in search results.
As well as using noindex meta tags to control search engine results other ways exist for altering how a page appears in search engine results. One option is using rel=”next”/”prev” meta tags to provide pagination for long editorial articles or image series, enabling readers to navigate between pages via clicking links rather than instantly reaching the end.
Other meta tags include the nofollow tag, which tells search engines not to follow links on a page particularly useful when handling user-generated content like comments or forums. Nofollow should be used alongside noindex meta tags to control how search engines treat a page; using both together could harm SEO rankings negatively if implemented incorrectly – to be safe it’s advisable to consult a technical SEO expert first before adding these metatags on your website.
HTTP Response Header
Digital marketers invest time and energy in crafting content designed to rank well in search engines. This type of page can drive traffic and build authority while at the same time providing value. Unfortunately, some pages shouldn’t appear in search results at all and mustn’t be indexed, which is where noindex meta tags come into play.
The noindex meta tag informs search engines that even though they can access and index a page, it should not be included in their index and will therefore not appear in search engine result pages (SERPs). However, it does not prevent web crawlers from following links within that page, even if there are nofollow tags placed there – meaning any links with nofollow tags still may be followed by bots.
Implementing the noindex meta tag requires careful consideration. If a page doesn’t bring any organic traffic, it may be wiser to keep it out of search results than trying to increase its ranking.
Also, when publishing pages that contain duplicated content – such as product listings on eCommerce websites – consider using noindex meta tags instead of canonical tags or redirects as this can help reduce maintenance.
Reducing search indexing requires more complex measures; one effective option is using HTTP response headers. While this approach might take longer to implement on large sites, this approach enables you to block single URLs without changing source code and is simple to debug.
Debugging “noindex” Issues
If your website’s Search Console Page Indexing report indicates a “noindex” error, the first step should be identifying how the noindex directive was added or inserted; this can be done either through using Search Console’s URL inspection tool or viewing its source code by right-clicking and choosing View page source; alternatively a CMS such as WordPress may add noindex meta tags directly onto pages or posts via plugins; you could also check if you have one by pressing F12 to open up Google Chrome Developer Tools, then looking at its Network Tab if available.
If your page was marked noindex by either a meta> tag or HTTP response header, removing its noindex directive may solve the issue. But be mindful that submitting another sitemap without first having removed noindex could mean your newly indexed pages being excluded from search results.
Check whether any posts and pages on your website contain noindex tags by going to Rank Math > Titles & Meta, then reviewing each section individually. If any posts or pages do contain this tag, they can be ignored, though it would be prudent to review their status to determine whether they’re necessary for your website.