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How to Implement a NoIndex Tag

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NoIndex Video Tutorial Transcript

The NoIndex tag is a great tool to have in your SEO arsenal. Today I’m going to explain how to implement it and when you should use it.

What Does a NoIndex Tag Do?

A NoIndex tag is an instruction to the search engines that you don’t want a page to be kept within their search results. You should use this when you believe you have a page that search engines might consider to be of poor quality.

Now that is a very subjective definition! However, if you have pages on your site that are very thin on content, but you want to keep them for your users, these might be good candidates for the NoIndex tag.

You should note that a NoIndex tag does not tell a search engine not to crawl a page. Over time, search engines may crawl the page less, but there is no guarantee that they will.

In addition, pages with a NoIndex tag can still accumulate PageRank, and then pass PageRank to other pages via links on them.

Related: Google’s Gary Illyes on How Google Responds to a Noindex tag on a page

How do you implement a NoIndex tag?

  1. Identify the pages on which you want to place a NoIndex tag.
  2. Place the tag in the header section of each of those pages.
  3. Write out the actual NoIndex tag as shown below.
  4. Update the source page on your live web site.
NoIndex Example
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”>

But Wait, There’s More!
There are other types of tags to consider depending on what you’re ultimately trying to accomplish. Remember that this tag does not prevent crawling. And, while it can pass PageRank through links, it may not be as effective for you as other tags. There are definitely other solutions to consider:

First would be Rel=Canonical tags, which are the best choice for dealing with duplicate content, alternate sort orders, or filters.

Then you have Rel=Prev and Rel=Next, which are your go-to tags for paginated content.

Rel=NoFollow tags are going to be your best bet for blocking passing PageRank through links.

And finally Robots.txt is the best way for preventing the crawling of web pages. Thank you.

More of Digital Marketing Classroom

For other tutorials in this series see: Digital Marketing Classroom.

Thoughts on “How to Implement a NoIndex Tag”

  1. Randall J. Currie

    “And finally Robots.txt is the best way for preventing the crawling of web pages. Thank you.”
    Can online PDF files be crawled? If so, can they still be crawled if they do not contain links because of the file’s metadata information? You can’t have visual elements in a text file.

  2. PDF files can be crawled, but in some cases the PDF file is implemented as image files, in which case Google can’t really see its contents. However, in other cases, the PDF is implemented as a text file, where Google can see its entire contents. However, Google does not love PDF files, even the text versions, and generally suggests that they may not rank as high in their results.

  3. Randall J. Currie

    So using a PDF image file to hide contents of a page from search engine crawlers, while it means you probably don’t want that particular page in results, could have a negative effect on other pages of the website that link to it, for example? Google saying “don’t be evil”?

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Eric Enge

Eric Enge is part of the Digital Marketing practice at Perficient. He designs studies and produces industry-related research to help prove, debunk, or evolve assumptions about digital marketing practices and their value. Eric is a writer, blogger, researcher, teacher, and keynote speaker and panelist at major industry conferences. Partnering with several other experts, Eric served as the lead author of The Art of SEO.

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