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Make Search Engines NOT Index a Page

Gisele Blair

June 2019

Did you know you can block Google and other search engines from displaying specific pages of your website in search results? Camouflage your page like a sculpin and prevent a page from appearing in search engines by including a noindex tag in the page’s head.

What does noindex mean?

Automatically, your webpage is set to “index,” which means that you give Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and other search engines permission to crawl your page and index it for their search engine. The noindex meta tag is the opposite. By adding it to the head of a page, you’re telling search engines they cannot index that page to display in search results.

To prevent most search engines from indexing a page, use this meta tag into the <head> section of your page:

<meta name="robots" content="noindex">

To prevent only Google from indexing a page, you can use:

<meta name="googlebot" content="noindex">

What does nofollow mean?

The nofollow tag is very different from noindex. One major component of SEO is external links: the more links a domain gets from other higher ranking domains, the more “clout” it has as a legitimate source of information, which translates into higher search results. You can tell search engines not to follow the links provided on a webpage, or give those websites “clout” with the nofollow tag.

You can use nofollow to instruct search engines to not index any external links by using the tag:

 <meta name="robots" content="nofollow" />

You can also use nofollow for particular external links in the link itself. To do so, use this code:

 <a href="externallinkexample.com" rel="nofollow">Your Link Text</a>

What is the difference between noindex and nofollow?

These two tags are completely different and independent of each other: you can include one and not the other on any webpage. Noindex tells search engines you do not want your page listed in search results, whereas nofollow tells search engines not to give external links “votes” in favor of their content.

When should I use noindex tags?

  • Stage environments: Luckily, all Zesty.io instances come with a stage environment out of the box that is not indexed or followed, so you don’t have to worry about builds affecting your SEO. However, if you’re manually creating a stage environment for webpages, you can preview them and not index them with the noindex tag.

  • Marketing campaigns: Tie campaign traffic directly to the source without search traffic muddling your campaigns. Setting up landing pages and including the noindex tag better ensures that all traffic to that page came directly from your event, paid campaign, etc.

  • Private pages: Remember, noindex just tells search engines not to display the page in search results. So, you could have a publicly accessible page that’s not indexed by search engines. Users would just need a direct link or path on the website to access your non-indexed page.

How do I add noindex tags to my page?

In Zesty.io, it’s easy to manage custom head tags for your pages. You can read the documentation on how to add noindex or nofollow tags to your page in seconds in Zesty.io, or follow along in this quick video to see how to add the noindex tag step by step.

If you’re using a different CMS, be sure to look up their documentation as you may have a different process for adding noindex or nofollow tags to your pages.

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