There are times when it doesn’t make sense to have a webpage considered for ranking purposes. An example of this is the “thank you” page that sometimes appears after a purchase is made on a website. Sometimes there’s confusion over what tags to use to control the items Google considers for ranking purposes. Google recently provided some clarification on the noindex directive that can be used to tell crawlers what not to index. Here’s what San Diego web design experts know about Google’s stance on the noindex directive so far.
Noindex Doesn’t Control Crawling
Google’s John Mueller, the same person who remarked, “we make changes every day” when referring to the company’s approach to ranking, recently clarified what noindex means. In a recent tweet, Mueller described noindex as an indexing directive that does not control crawling.
Why Crawling of Noindex Pages Is Necessary
The Robots exclusion protocol (REP) is often used to control indexing behaviors. The “no-follow” directive can impact what Google reviews for ranking purposes, but the noindex directive is different. The noindex directive simply identifies pages you want a search engine to block and not index. However, pages identified as “noindex” still need to be crawled so Google can identify which pages to index and which ones not to index.
Practical Use of the Noindex Directive
Going back to the “thank you” page example, pages that appear after someone fills out a form or places an order can help you track your lead submissions and goals. You wouldn’t want “thank you” pages to show up on search engine results pages (SERPs) because it doesn’t make sense to direct searchers here until after the desired action has been taken.
The noindex directive is often paired with the no-follow directive, which is specific to links. Noindex tags draw attention away from web pages that don’t need to be considered for ranking purposes, but they don’t prevent crawling altogether. You can use the noindex directive to complement other methods that do affect crawling behavior in a way that makes sense for how you want your content presented online.
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