What is Noindex and How to Increase CTR in Google Using Noindex?

noindex page

Noindex meta tag is as short as a single line but that single line can make or break an entire website SEO efforts in a flash.

Want to learn everything about noindex metatag? In this post, we talk about noindex directive at greater lenght.

This blog post reveals;

  • What noindex metatag is
  • Why and when it should be used
  • The best approaches for using noindex
  • How to noindex a page or URL. Or, a set of pages or URLs
  • Some noindex case studies

Okay. Ready? Let's begin.

What is Noindex?

Noindex is a meta tag directive that is used to instruct search engines that a particular page or set of pages should NOT be included in their index.

noindex meta tag

In a more direct words, noindex is the meta tag that is often added to the header of a page or website which instructs search engines to de-index that page (if the page was being indexed already). Or, to not index the page.

Therefore, when you add a "noindex" metatag to a webpage, though search engine may be able to crawl the page, it cannot add the page into its search index.

blogger noindex homepage

What is An Indexed Page / URL?

Indexed page refers to any page or URL that appears in the search results page, SERP. In other words, a page has been indexed if it's listed in the organic results of a SERP.

indexed page

If a page is not indexed, it cannot receive organic traffic.

Why Should You Use Noindex?

Simply put, to boost your site SEO.

Truly, making sure that Google indexes as many pages of your blog as possible is very good in order to boost your search engine authority, but there're times when you should give some pages a break in the SERP.

noindex search page

As unbelievable as this may seem, giving some pages a break in the SERPs can as well boost your blogs and websites search engine authority.

But, you must know when to give those pages a break and then, you need to know which pages to award that break.

In What Situations Should You Use Noindex?

  1. When You Need to Prevent Duplicate Content

    When you have more than one version of certain pages, as in when you have several of the same posts with the same category and tag.

    noindex duplicate page

    Or, printer-friendly version of your blog posts.

    In each of these cases, you must noindex other versions so that Google indexes just one.

    Otherwise, you'll risk your website being penalized by Google and get de-ranked.

  2. When You Need to Keep Certain Pages Away from Public

    This may include your login and admin pages. I mean, you don't want your login and admin pages accessible to the public unless they are meant to be used by the community.

    noindex login page

    Another page that should be kept from search engine is members area or dashboard.

Noindex vs. Nofollow - What's the Difference?

To put simply, noindex is a metatag that tells search engine that, though you may crawl this page, you cannot include it in your index.

noindex meta tag

Nofollow metatag on the other hand, tells search engine that, though you cannot follow the links on this page, you may include this page in your index.

nofollow meta tag

You see, though nofollow and noindex tags are closely related, they are not the same.

However, because they are closely related, many bloggers have used them interchangably (often unknowingly) and that has adversely impact their blogs and websites SEO.

Now, from below here, I list and describe some instances where you can use noindex and nofollow.

Also, it is important that we discuss when you can use both nofollow and noindex together.

When to Use "noindex"

Use only "noindex" tag for pages you don't want listed or appear in search engine result pages, but you want the same page followed and or crawled by the search engines.

Examples of Pages to Use Only "noindex" Tag for:

  1. Blog or Website Search Results Pages

    Most blogs and websites also have search widget or tool that can be used to search for content within those website and blogs.

    blogger search tool

    In most cases, unless you instruct Google not to index the blog's search results pages, Google includes them in their index.

    And that can actually harm your site SEO. I discuss why this could harm your site SEO later.

  2. Paid Landing Pages

    Of course, you wouldn't want Google to index pages people are supposed to pay you before it can be viewed by the same.

    Or, why would anyone pay for a content they can easily Google-search to get?

  3. Label, Category and Tag Pages

    Although, you can actually "doindex" label, category and or tag pages and boost blog SEO as a result, you ought to have done somethings first.

    For most blogs and websites, these pages must be noindexed for the best SEO experience.

    In another publication, I discuss when best to doindex label, category and or tag pages in order to boost site SEO and PageRank in particular.

When to Use "nofollow"

Use only "nofollow" tag for pages you want listed or appear in search engine result pages, BUT you don't want the links on the same page followed and or crawled by the search engines.

nofollow meta tag

Examples of Pages to Use Only "nofollow" Tag for:

Although I could not think of many pages you'd want appear in search engine results page but wouldn't want the links on that page followed and or crawled.

Ideally, you should use nofollow tag for pages you want indexed but whose content are not that relevant to your page.

Example of such pages:

  • Pages Dedicated for Listing Affiliate Content

    If you have a page whose content are mojorly affiliate contents, Google recommends that you nofollow links on that page.

  • Sponsored Pages

    If you publish sponsored posts on your site, Google recommends that you nofollow links on your sponsored posts as well.

When to Use "noindex, nofollow" Together

"Noindex" and "nofollow" tag should be used for pages you don't want search engines to index as well as follow the links on that page.

nofollow noindex meta tag

Examples of Pages to Use "nofollow" and "noindex" Tags for:

There're perhaps too many examples of when you'd add a "nofollow" and "noindex" tags to a whole page. When you're figuring out what to do on a given page, it's more a question of whether to add your "noindex" tag with or without a "nofollow" tag.

A page that's not indexed would almost never be followed after all.

Or, how can search engines follow content of a page that's not in their index? Or, except Google finds the links in the de-indexed page in other pages.

How Does Noindex Impact SEO?

  1. Helps Google Index More of Your Important Pages

    When you use "noindex" for some pages, you're directly instructing Google to NOT index your less important pages.

    Hence, Google priortizes other more important pages of your website.

  2. Helps Increase your Site CTR in SERP

    Because with "noindex" tag you're able to remove duplicate content in the search engine results pages; SERP, you'll end up having your best, most optimized page competing in the SERP.

    Of course, if properly optimized, you'll end up getting increased click-through rate.

  3. "Noindex" Improves your Site PageRank

    If "noindex" can improve your site CTR, you can definitely gain improved PageRank as a result.

  4. Can Help Give your Site A Better Crawl Budget

    A site crawl budget is the amount of time and resources that Google devotes to crawling a site.

    factors affecting Googlebot crawl budget

    If you can get a better crawl budget, you can be sure that more of your important pages would be indexed by Google... faster.

What Does Google Say About Noindex Metatag?

Google comment on noindex meta tag

In a help article from where Google talks about noindex, Google categorically states:

You can prevent a page or other resource from appearing in Google Search by including a noindex meta tag or header in the HTTP response.

This goes to mean that Google is in total support of using "noindex".

In fact, noindex is Google's preferred way of de-indexing a page.

Google prefers noindex meta tag to disallow

Let's take a look at Google's comment on this:

...If the page is blocked by a robots.txt file or the crawler can't access the page, the crawler will never see the noindex directive, and the page can still appear in search results, for example if other pages link to it.

Whereas Google already mentions that... "When Googlebot next crawls that page and sees the (noindex) tag or header, Google will drop that page entirely from Google Search results, regardless of whether other sites link to it".

How Do I Use Noindex on My Website?

The method and approaches depend on which platform your website is hosted and then, the technology that platform uses.

However, if you're a Google blogspot user, you can check our Blogspot SEO tutorials for step by step guides on how to use noindex for Blogger websites and blogs.

From the same page, you can also learn about best SEO practices for blogspot blogs and websites.

WordPress users can rely on SEO noindex plugin.

SEO Noindex WP Plugin

SEO noindex WordPress plugin has many options which include noindex for WordPress frontpage, home page, posts, pages etc.

Now, Over to You

What's your experience with noindex?

How have you been using noindex and what new thing about noindex have you learnt in this post?

Or, maybe you even have some questions about noindex to ask?

Let's read from you by leaving a comment.


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