Index and noindex meta tags tell robots whether to index a page or not, respectively. Indexing is the crawler’s way of figuring out what a website is about and organizing its content. If a crawler does not index a page, then it will be completely eliminated from the SERPs, regardless of whether other websites are linking to it.
Index/noindex tags are under the umbrella of meta tags and are a part of the HTML code.
Reasons for Using Index and Noindex Meta Tags
Due to the fact that a noindex tag can eliminate your website from appearing in the SERPs, it is crucial to understand how and when to use it correctly. Imagine accidentally tagging noindex to your homepage… that’d be disastrous!
You should use the noindex tag when you only want someone to see a page if you tell them directly about it. Some cases may be:
- Promotions: if you’re emailing your customers and you only want those who received that email to have access to the special promotion page.
- Employees: if you have pages on your site that are just for employees, and you want access granted to them only if they’re told by another employee.
Creating SEO-Friendly Noindex and Index Tags
It is recommended to not use an index tag because a crawler’s job is to index sites, so by default that’s what they will do anyways. Adding an index tag is simply unnecessary coding.
To add a noindex tag, first, ensure that your page isn’t blocked by a Robots.txt file, otherwise the noindex tag will not be effective. This means it may still show in the SERPs even with a noindex tag, because the crawler will never see the noindex tag if it’s blocked by a Robots.txt file.
You may add the tag rel=”noindex” to the page(s) you don’t want to have indexed.
It will look like this: <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”>
Keep in mind that a noindex tag will not stop a crawler from following the links on that page. If you’d like to tell a crawler to both not index the page and not follow any links, you must use the noindex tag in combination with a nofollow tag. It will look like this: <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex, nofollow”>