The Right Way to Utilize the noindex Tag for SEO

May 25, 2015
by Conor Treacy

    no-index-imageThere are many reasons that a business may want to use the noindex tag on certain pages of their website. While this tag can be useful for SEO purposes, plenty of businesses end up causing issues for themselves by using it the wrong way. Since Big Red SEO has helped many businesses with ranking problems that ultimately came down to how they were using this meta tag, we want to cover what you need to know to avoid encountering those types of problems with the website for your Omaha business.

    When to Use the noindex Tag

    The purpose of this tag is to tell Google that despite a page being on your website, you don’t want them to index it. This tag is often used with the nofollow tag. Although you generally want visitors to be able to find most pages on your Omaha business website by searching Google, there are still quite a few examples of pages you may want to keep out of search engines.

    One example is a landing page for an email promotion. If you provide a special coupon or other promotion to people who are on your email list, you only want people who are signed up for your list to have access to it. Using noindex on a page will ensure that people don’t accidentally stumble on to this type of page via Google.

    Another example of a page that’s best to keep out of Google’s index is one that’s specifically designed for employees or existing customers. Since these types of pages requires login information, it’s important for people to have that information before going to the page. Having someone arrive to this type of page via a search engine is only going to cause confusion.

    The last example worth noting is a goal completion page. This type of page is used to track when someone completes a specific action on your website. That can be anything from signing up for your email list to completing a purchase. If anyone can access this page, it can muddle your analytics data. That’s why blocking it from being indexed by search engines is the way to go.

    Use This Tag with Caution

    The most common mistake that businesses make with the noindex tag is accidentally adding it to more pages on their website than they meant to do. Part of why this mistake is so common is because the majority of modern websites use a template or theme. What’s nice about this approach to web design is changes can be made by editing a single file instead of every single page on a website.

    However, that convenience can become an issue when it comes to the addition of a tag like noindex. Since it generally only makes sense to add this tag to a small number of pages, you need to make sure it doesn’t end up on every page of your website. The best way to avoid a mistake is to have someone with experience add this tag to the desired pages, and then ensure that the implementation is double-checked by a fresh set of eyes.

    The Best Approach to Larger Scale Problems

    The other mistake sites make is trying to use the noindex tag as a band-aid for a problem that actually needs stitches. This issue is especially common with e-commerce websites. While it’s good for a website to have lots of interesting content pages, what Google doesn’t like is when a site has multiple pages that are almost exactly the same. In fact, if a website has tons of pages that have overly similar content or content that is classified as “thin,” Google may ultimately penalize the site and lower its rankings.

    The reason this issue is especially prevalent with e-commerce sites is because many are set up to auto-generate pages based on the criteria that visitors search or enter. So instead of having a single page for a product like a pair of shoes, a site may be set up in a way that creates one page called “size 12 black cool new pair of shoes” and another page called “size 12 red cool new pair of shoes.”

    While it’s important to for e-commerce visitors to have options and the ability of search, that doesn’t mean tons of nearly duplicate pages should be generated in the process. And even though some sites attempt to use noindex to deal with this issue, that’s not a real solution. Instead, it’s worth taking the time to dig in and get the problem properly fixed.

    Even though it may seem a little painful to go through what’s necessary to properly fix this problem, it will be worth it in the long run when you see the positive impact that it has on the search engine rankings for your Omaha business. And not juggling countless pages of noindex means you won’t have to worry about a single mistake causing your rankings to plummet.

    Big Red SEO Provides Expert Help: (402) 522-6468

    Whether you currently have a SEO problem with your website or want to avoid encountering one, working with a professional is the best way to stay on the right track. While you can gain a lot from having a proven SEO professional on your side, it’s important to understand that there are plenty of companies that don’t really know what you’re doing.

    Since far too many SEO consultants can end up causing more problems because they lack in-depth knowledge on the current state of search engine optimization, it’s vital to work with a team that has a proven track record. Fortunately, that’s exactly what you’ll get when you choose Big Red SEO.

    Because we’ve worked with many different Omaha businesses, we have a track record that speaks for itself. So if you want to ensure that your website is ranking well for the right types of keyword phrases, we can help. Call us today at (402) 522-6468 to set up a consultation about your website and SEO strategy.

    Conor Treacy

    About

    Conor Treacy has been in the SEO game since the mid-90's when SEO hadn't yet come into full fruition. He spends most of his days performing website audits, reading and writing SEO blogs and industry related material. The rest of his time is consumed with correcting people on their invalid and blackhat ways. The SEO world has changed in recent years, there's a lot of disinformation on the web!