The Importance of No-Indexing Pages

Google and other search engines function similarly to a phonebook or directory. Rather than phone numbers or addresses, however, Google uses its index of existing URLs on the internet to connect you to the content most related to your search query. In nanoseconds, Google can comb through its index to connect you to valuable information, but what exactly is Google’s index, and what does it mean for your website and SEO strategy?

Simply put, Google’s index is the master list of all of the internet’s URLs that have been crawled by search engine robots. Any indexed URL is available to be found on a search engine results page, whether it is placed on the first page or the 50th page. In SEO, we are often taught that visibility is the overarching goal, so wouldn’t you want all of your website’s URLs to be crawlable and indexed by Google? Believe it or not, the answer is actually no!

What Pages Should Be No-Indexed

In reality, there is no black-and-white answer as to what pages should or should not be indexed on a website. This is determined based on your site layout, goods and services, goals, needs, and much more. The best way to determine whether a page should be no-indexed can be broken down by considering three things:

Does this page serve a purpose for the average user?

Pages such as a thank you page that users are directed to after submitting a form or your privacy policy page are two prime examples of pages that should not be indexed for search engines. These types of pages are exclusive in their use and functions, meaning that there is no benefit in having them indexed for search engine users to discover.

Do I want all users to see this content?

Pages that are indexed allow the chance for them to be organically discovered by search engine users. In many cases, this is not the goal for your page! URLs leading to promotional pages are one example of pages that site developers would want to prevent from being indexed. It is common practice to create a landing page for marketing purposes that ONLY users coming from a specific medium, such as a Facebook ad, billboard, etc., can access.  By allowing these pages intended for singular audiences and campaigns to be indexed, you are unable to get an accurate measurement of your campaign’s success as data is skewed.

Does this page align with SEO best practices?

In some circumstances, a website may have live pages that are not up to speed when it comes to SEO best practices. From thin content to poor mobile layout, duplicate content, and much more, there can be cases where SEO is unimportant for a page. Think of a contact page with duplicate, thin content as an example! This page is valuable for your website but does not meet SEO standards and, thus, should not be indexed.

How Do I No-Index a Page?

Depending on the way your website is built, there are numerous different ways to ensure your pages are successfully no-indexed. Site builders such as WordPress offer plugins that allow a simple click of a box to avoid indexing. Otherwise, you can simply paste this simple HTML code in your page’s header:

<META NAME=”robots” CONTENT=”noindex”>

Optimize Your Website with Boston Web Marketing

Knowing when to no-index a URL is just one of the many tricky parts of perfecting a website’s SEO strategy. Are you interested in generating more organic traffic and leads through SEO? Contact Boston Web Marketing today to get started!

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