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No-index tag: how to know where to use it

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The no-index meta tag is an HTML tag placed in the head of a website to indicate to search engines, such as Google, that the page they are crawling should not be indexed. Therefore, with this meta tag you allow a page to be crawled but not indexed.

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where to use this tag?

Mainly within the SEO world, the no-index tag is used to prevent Google from saving your thin content pages of your website, such as:

  • Pages with duplicate content - you don't want to index pages that have the same content twice.
  • Author descriptions: if a website has a single author (or several active authors), every time an article is published, their description may also be added to the page, and crawlers may see it as duplicate content. The option to follow would be not to index the author's page/description.
  • Custom pages or hidden pages: if you have recently created some limited content for a specific audience, then you may want to keep it only for them and not make it visible to search engines.
  • Unsubscribe pages or thank you pages: these are pages that people should only access once, and their content is not at all valuable or relevant from a content point of view. Some websites prefer not to index registration or sign-up pages as well.
  • Internal search results: if a site has a search bar and for every query searched, there is a page generated that gets indexed; this can end up ruining the whole ranking of a website. Therefore, a no-index can be a very good idea. With this directive what we intend to and can achieve is that the bots can crawl and analyse all the links they find on those pages, but without indexing them.

how to put a page in no-index?

All you have to do is insert "<meta name="robots" content="noindex">" inside the head of your page and the next time Google enters it, it will realise that it will not be able to index it.

Also, remember that you can add as many no-index meta tags as you want as long as they don't contradict each other.

In case you want to add it also in a WordPress page you just have to go to the page you want to put in no-index and mark it from the SEO section.

Etiqueta no-index: cómo saber dónde usarla

what are the 2 main differences between no-index and no-follow tags?

The no-index and no-follow tags are often confused, so here we are going to explain their two main differences.

  1. The no-index tag prevents indexing, while the no-follow tag prevents crawlers from seeing you. In other words, with no-index, crawlers will see your pages but won't touch them. With no-follow, they won't even access them.
  2. No-index should be incorporated on any and all pages that you don't want search engine bots to index, while no-follow should be used when you have a reason to tell search engines not to crawl the landing pages of the page that was analysed.

Common errors using the no-index tag

Many mistakes are made when using this type of meta tag, many of them flagged by Google Search Console itself when it detects them. Among the main mistakes when implementing no-index tags on a page we have:

  • Sitemaps with URLs that contain the no-index tag. It is common that when building the sitemaps file with the list of URLs of the site to be indexed, those pages that have the no-index meta tag are not taken into account. This senseless situation (a URL is sent through the sitemap that is marked with a tag not to be indexed) is detected by Google Search Console that marks it as an error. The solution to this problem is quite simple and consists of either removing the URL from the sitemap, or removing the no-index tag itself from that page if you really want to index it.
  • Forgetting the no-index tag. Although it may seem a somewhat absurd error, it happens regularly. For a certain reason this meta tag is used to prevent content from being indexed in Google, but when the problem or reason is solved, it is forgotten that the tag is still active preventing indexing, so the page will still not appear in Google search results. To solve this type of error, the best thing to do is always have a good organization, noting those pages that are not indexed with this tag (as well as those that are included in the robots.txt or use the no-follow tag in the links).

Remember that the no-index meta tag is a very interesting alternative to control which content to index and which to leave out of the Google database and the rest of the search engines. In the same way, it isable to block indexing, but it allows the bots to crawl the links contained in the page, something that is not possible with other alternatives such as the no-follow links tag, for example.

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