How to No-index a Paragraph, WebPage, and PDF on Google?
As a website owner and an SEO, you don’t want all your web pages to appear in search results. There can be a number of reasons for it to noindex a webpage/paragraph/PDF.
Over-optimization also hurts your website rankings. Let’s say you have duplicate content on your website, and you have kept these pages on your website for the right reasons. Here, all the web pages don’t have to appear on search results, and only one does.
The same is true about disclaimers or PDFs containing information on terms and conditions. These pages are important, but you don’t want them to appear in search results. What do you need to do? Noindex.
No-index also improves the crawl budget, directing search engines to index relevant content.
Ways to No-index a Paragraph, WebPage, and PDF –
There are different ways to no-index your web pages, depending on the type of content you want to exclude.
How to Noindex a Page?
Use a Noindex Tag
To no-index a page, you can add the no-index meta tag to the page’s HTML code. This tag instructs the search engine crawler not to index the page.
Here’s an example of how to add a no-index meta tag to a page:
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”>
You can also instruct specific crawlers of search engines to avoid indexing your page. Since this blog post is about no-indexing on Google, here’s how you can ensure Google’s crawlers do not index your web page –
<meta name=”googlebot” content=”noindex”>
Use a Robots.txt Tag
Simply put, a robots.txt file is a text file that provides instructions to crawlers about what part of the website you want crawled & indexed. In this file, you can “disallow” the web page you don’t want the bots to crawl and ultimately not appear in search results.
But it isn’t a surefire way to noindex a web page. Remember, if the bots can crawl the page, it may appear in the search results. Let’s say a third-party website links the page (only applicable if the link is do-follow; if it is no-follow, you do not have to worry) to their blog. In such a case, the crawler visiting that blog will end up crawling and indexing it.
So again, this method is not a surefire way to noindex a web page.
Another method to prevent indexing of a web page is by using the X-Robots-Tag. To implement this tag, you must use the configuration files of your site’s web server.
Here’s an example of such a tag –
This will inform the crawler not to index the web page. And this method is more effective than robots.txt file, as it can directly communicate with search engines to noindex the web page.
Noindex a Web Page Appearing on Search
If a page is already indexed and is appearing on search results, you can use the noindex tag and ensure that it is crawlable by search bots to receive instructions that the page in question should not be indexed.
How To Noindex a Paragraph?
For now, there’s no way you can noindex a paragraph or any certain parts of a web page. Here’s what Google’s John Mueller had to say on the subject:
Still, you can use googleon/googleoff, but it is not a concrete way to ensure a specific part of a web page does not appear in the search results. It applies only to a Google Search Appliance and not necessarily to Google.com.
How To Noindex a PDF?
To prevent a PDF file from being indexed by search engines, you can use the following methods:
Just like we used this method to block a web page from appearing on search results, similarly, you can use it to noindex a PDF. You can add the X-Robots-Tag to the HTTP header response when serving the PDF file. To prevent indexing, include the following header:
This header instructs search engine crawlers not to index the PDF file. Make sure to configure your web server or content management system to include this header when serving the PDF file.
You can also use the robots.txt file to disallow search engine crawlers from accessing the PDF file. Include the following directive in your robots.txt file –
Replace “/path/to/file.pdf” with the actual URL or path of the PDF file on your website. By disallowing the PDF file in the robots.txt file, you are indicating to search engine crawlers not to index it.
Note: If this PDF is indexed on search results, please add the X-Robots-Tag and ensure that it is not blocked by Robots.txt file and is crawlable by search bots to receive instructions that the PDF in question should not be indexed.
Alternatives to the Noindex Tag
Here are a few alternatives you can use to exclude content from search results.
Canonical tags instruct search engines to show the preferred version of a page or content. Let’s say you have ten web pages with duplicate content. Here, by using a canonical tag on the non-preferred pages, you can indicate to search engines that these pages should be treated as duplicates, and only the preferred page/s should be indexed and ranked.
Simply put, a 301 redirect is a permanent redirect from one URL to another. And to implement a 301 redirect, you need access to the server or the website’s configuration.
Typically, 301 redirects can be used when a page has been permanently moved to a new URL, and you wish to redirect folks landing up on the old URL to a new one.
When a 301 redirect is in place, search engines understand that the old page has been permanently moved to a new URL. They transfer the indexing and ranking signals to the new URL. So while it does not directly prevent indexing, it ensures that the old URL is redirected to the new one.
That’s all you need to know to learn how to noindex a page, PDF, and paragraph. Before you set out to no-index content from search results, remember your objective and the type of page.
What is the difference between noindex and nofollow?
Noindex is a meta tag that tells search engines not to index a certain page or file in the search results. Nofollow, on the other hand, is an attribute that can be added to the HTML code or meta tag to tell search engines not to follow the link/s to its destination.
Will using the noindex tag hurt my SEO?
This strictly depends on the page or the content you plan to noindex. If you use the noindex tag on pages that contain duplicate content, it can help prevent those pages from appearing in search results and potentially harming your website’s overall SEO. However, if you use the noindex tag on important pages that should be indexed, such as product pages, category pages, or pages with valuable content, it can hurt your SEO by preventing those pages from appearing in search results. It’s important to use the noindex tag strategically and selectively based on the quality and relevance of the content on the page.
Can I use the noindex tag on my entire website?
Technically, yes. It is possible to use the noindex tag on your entire website. However, it is not advisable to do so, as this would effectively remove your website from search engine results and make it invisible to potential visitors. This would not be beneficial for your website’s visibility and traffic.
How long does it take for the noindex tag to take effect?
The exact timeframe can vary depending on a number of factors, including the frequency with which search engines crawl your site, the size of your site, etc. If you want to speed up the process, you can use Google Search Console to request a reindex of the page.
How do I remove the noindex tag if I change my mind?
If you have added a noindex tag to a webpage and want to remove it, you can simply delete the tag from the page’s HTML code. Once you remove the noindex tag, the page will become eligible for indexing by search engines.
It’s important to note that even after you remove the noindex tag, it may still take some time for search engines to recrawl the page and index it again. You can speed up the process by submitting the page’s URL to search engines using their respective submission tools (such as Google Search Console) and requesting that they recrawl the page.