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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
SEO Robot Meta Tags
3.
Importance of SEO robots meta tags
4.
Guidelines for particular search engines
4.1.
Robots meta directives and best practices for SEO
4.2.
Combining indexing and serving directives with robots.txt directives
5.
Various robot meta tag values
6.
Frequently Asked Questions
6.1.
What does SEO's robots meta tag mean?
6.2.
How are meta robots tags used?
6.3.
Is the robots meta tag required?
6.4.
What is Nofollow meta tag?
6.5.
What is indexing for SEO?
7.
Conclusion
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

SEO Robots Meta Tag

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Introduction

You may tell search engines how to crawl or index specific pages of your website by using meta robots tags on your pages. This article summarizes all the possible meta-robot values, their functions, and the search engines that accept each value.

SEO Robots Meta Tags

Robot meta tags give web spiders instructions. Including a meta tag in an HTML file's head is implemented page by page. It was suggested in 1996 during a W3C workshop, and HTML 4.01's Appendix B specified its use in December 1999.

As the robot's meta tag instructs search engines how to handle a page's content, it plays a significant part in on-page optimization.

SEO Robot Meta Tags

Robots meta directives, often known as "meta tags," are snippets of code that tell crawlers how to access or index the content of web pages. Robots meta directives offer more specific instructions on how to crawl and index a page's content than robots.txt file directives, which advise bots on how to crawl the pages of a website.

There are two different kinds of robot meta directives: those sent as HTTP headers by the web server and those embedded in HTML pages (such as the meta robots element) (such as x-robots-tag). Both meta robots and the x-robots-tag allow the usage of the same parameters (i.e., the crawling or indexing instructions a meta tag offers, such as "noindex" and "nofollow" in the example above); the only difference is how those parameters are sent to crawlers.

For search engine crawlers, use this tag or directive. 

<meta name="robots" content="noindex">


You may need to include directives specific to the crawler to restrict non-search crawlers like AdsBot-Google. For example, 

<meta name="AdsBot-Google" content="noindex">


Crawlers are given instructions by meta directives on how to crawl and index the data they discover on a particular webpage. The parameters of these directives act as strong recommendations for crawler indexation behavior if bots find them. However, like with robots.txt files, crawlers are not required to abide by your meta directives. Therefore it is likely that some malicious web robots would disregard them.

The guidelines that search engine crawlers adhere to while using robots meta directives are listed below. Although the parameters are not case-sensitive, it is nevertheless possible that some search engines would only comply with a portion of them or may handle some directives somewhat differently.

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Importance of SEO robots meta tags

Although you can use them for many other things, these tags are typically used to stop pages from appearing in search engine results. To boost the SEO of your website, there are numerous forms of material that you might not want the search engine to index. like as:

  • Thin pages that provide users with little to no information
     
  • Administrators' and thanks pages
     
  • landing pages for PPC
     
  • Pages about forthcoming events, product launches, promotions, etc.
     
  • If canonical tags are not used to direct search engines to the prior version, there will be duplicate content.
     

The basic Syntax of robots meta tags for SEO is: 

<meta name="robots" content="A command">


Thus, the name and content characteristics make up a robot Meta tag. For each of these characteristics, you must specify values.

As we have placed "instructions to be followed" as a placeholder, you can substitute other values in the grammar. Index, noindex, follow, nofollow, all, or nothing are among the possible possibilities.

Guidelines for particular search engines

Sometimes you might just want to provide one search engine with specific instructions. Alternatively, you could want to give different search engines entirely different directions.

In these circumstances, you can modify the content attribute's value to a specific search engine (e.g., googlebot).

Note: It's infrequent to utilize multiple meta robots tags to set instructions for specific crawlers because search engines will ignore instructions they don't understand or support.

Robots meta directives and best practices for SEO

  • When a URL is crawled, all meta directives (robots and others) are found. Any meta directive on a page (whether in the HTML or the HTTP header) will not be viewed and will therefore be effectively ignored if a robots.txt file prevents the URL from being crawled.
     
  • Most of the time, using a robots.txt file disallows is preferable to using a meta robots tag with the parameters "noindex, follow" to limit crawling or indexation.
     
  • Noting that malevolent crawlers are likely to disregard meta directives entirely, it is crucial to stress that this protocol is not a viable security technique. To prevent visitors from reading private sites, pick a more secure approach, such as password protection, if you have confidential information that you do not want to make publicly searchable.
     
  • Using both the x-robots-tag and the meta-robots tag on the same page is not required and would be redundant.

Combining indexing and serving directives with robots.txt directives

The configuration files of your site's web server software allow you to add the X-Robots-Tag to HTTP responses. For instance, you can use .htaccess and httpd.conf files on web servers based on Apache. You can define crawling directives enforced universally across a site by utilizing an X-Robots-Tag with HTTP replies. High levels of flexibility are possible thanks to the support for regular expressions.

When a URL is crawled, robots meta tags and X-Robots-Tag HTTP headers are found. Any information concerning indexing or serving directives won't be seen if a page is blocked from crawling by the robots.txt file and will be ignored. If you must follow indexing or serving directives, Google cannot stop the URLs containing those directives from crawling.

Various robot meta tag values

Various robot meta tag values
  • Noindex: This command instructs a search engine to ignore a page. It tells a search engine to include a page in its index. You don't need to have this meta tag; it's the default, so keep that in mind.
     
  • Follow: The crawler should follow every link on a page, even if it isn't indexed, and send credit to the related pages.
     
  • Nofollow: This directive instructs a crawler not to follow any links on the page or transfer any link equity.
     
  • Noimageindex: This command instructs a crawler to ignore any images on a page.
     
  • None: The same as employing the noindex and nofollow tags at once.
     
  • Noarchive: A cached link to this page shouldn't be displayed by search engines on a SERP.
     
  • Nocache: Similar to noarchive, but only supported by Firefox and Internet Explorer.
     
  • Nosnippet: This keyword instructs a search engine not to display a snippet of this page (i.e., the page's meta description) on a SERP. Search engines are prevented from using the DMOZ description of a page as the SERP snippet for this page by the noodyp/noydir [OBSOLETE] tag. However, DMOZ was shut down at the beginning of 2017, rendering this tag useless.
     
  • Unavailable after: Search engines should stop indexing this page after a specific date.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does SEO's robots meta tag mean?

A page's head tag has an HTML tag called robots meta that gives bots instructions. It informs search engine crawlers whether or not they are permitted to index a page, much like robots. txt file.

How are meta robots tags used?

This tag advises Google not to display this website in its search results. There is no case distinction between the name and content attributes. Use the X-Robots-Tag response header to prevent indexing non-HTML resources like PDF, video, and image files.

Is the robots meta tag required?

A robots.txt disallow rule should be sufficient to prevent a page from appearing in search results if it has never been indexed, but it is still advised that a meta robots tag be inserted.

What is Nofollow meta tag?

The following robots meta tag values are how Googlebot interprets them: The noindex option stops the page from being indexed. Googlebot won't follow any links on the page when nofollow is enabled.

What is indexing for SEO?

Search engines use indexing to organize the data and websites they know. A typical search engine method includes indexing, which is perhaps the most crucial step because content that is not indexed cannot appear in search results.

Conclusion

In this blog, we have discussed how you can modify Google displays your material in search results by adjusting the parameters for pages and individual texts. You can use a meta tag or an HTTP header to express page-level settings on HTML pages. You can specify text-level settings with the data-nosnippet tag on HTML elements within a page.

Recommended Reading - Canonical Cover In DBMS.

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