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Why You Need to Understand the Noindex SEO Tag – Here’s Why #72

If Google doesn’t index a page, it can’t show it as a search result. There may be times that you actually don’t want Google to index some of your pages. In this episode of “Here’s Why” from Perficient Digital, you’ll learn why that is and how to do it.

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Mark: Well, Eric, first off, what is a noindex tag?
Eric: A noindex tag is an instruction to search engines that you don’t want a page to be kept within their search results.
Mark: Why would I want a page on my site excluded from search results?
Eric: There are several situations where you might not want a search engine to index a page.
One obvious circumstance would be a page that is poor quality or not the best quality page on your site about the topic, but you still want to keep the page on your site for some reason.
However, there are other reasons you might want to noindex a page other than poor quality or thin content. For example, the page might be a landing page for an email campaign, or might be for internal use only. And some pages you only want to have seen after a visitor has been to your site and visited other pages on the site, such as a thank-you page after conversion.
Mark: Okay. So what actually happens when a search engine encounters a noindex tag on a page?
Eric: Well, I’m glad you asked that. As part of one of our Perficient Digital Virtual Keynote events, we asked Google webmaster trends analyst, Gary Illyes, to clarify what Google does when they encounter a noindex on a page.
Penguin Drawn by Gary Illyes
First, Gary told us that Google treats noindex as a directive, not a suggestion. In other words, Google will always respect and obey a noindex tag correctly implemented on a page.
Second, the page will be crawled by Google periodically even though it’s no longer indexed for search results. More about that in a moment.
And finally, a page with a noindex tag can still accumulate search ranking signals such as PageRank and pass on such other signals to other pages to which it links.
Mark: Okay. So you said that Google will still crawl the page, but does the frequency of that crawl change?
Eric: Yes. Gary confirmed that Googlebot will continue to visit the page from time to time in order to check if the noindex tag is still there. However, for a page blocked from indexing for any reason, the crawl frequency will decline over time until eventually, visits will occur only every two or three months, according to Gary.
Mark: Okay. Well, great. That’s all very helpful, Eric, but as we know bad things can happen when SEO tags are misused. So are there any cautions you have about noindex tags?
Eric: Oh yes, there sure are. Sometimes noindex is used to solve one problem such as preventing a Google penalty for thin content pages, but inadvertently they create a different problem. For example, even a though a noindex page still passes PageRank, if an important money link on your site links to the noindex page, some PageRank is wasted by that page. You can get more detail on that problem as well as other potential pitfalls of misusing noindex in my article “When Noindex Tags Go Bad.”
Mark: Great information, Eric. You’ll also want to check out Eric’s video on implementing a noindex tag from our Digital Marketing Classroom series.
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Thoughts on “Why You Need to Understand the Noindex SEO Tag – Here’s Why #72”

  1. Thanks for the clarification on this. I have often heard having your page a no index, but for life I me could not figure out why you would want this. Now I see things more clearly. As always, great information. Thanks!

  2. Wonderful, are these very important data with this source that directly relates to these new adaptations of the options, which he enjoys google, thank you, for this fabulous definition, which nourishes neurons by these sublime technological standards.

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Mark Traphagen

Mark Traphagen was our Content Strategy Director for Perficient Digital until February of 2019. He has been named one of the most influential content and social media authors in numerous industry listings.

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