The meta robots tag is a vital tool for making your website ‘visitor-friendly’ to search engine crawlers and thus, optimize your website’s search engine ranking. Don’t have a clue where to start? Well worry not – this guide holds the key to harnessing the power of meta robots tag to unlock SEO success!

We’ll take you through everything you need to know about meta robots tag, from what it is and how to implement it, to the options available and how to troubleshoot if you run into any problems. Let’s get started!

Quick Clarification of Key Points

A Meta Robots Tag is an HTML tag that can be used to tell search engine spiders how to crawl and index web content. It can be used to control which pages are indexed, as well as whether or not the links on a page should be followed.

What is a Meta Robots Tag?

Within the world of SEO, one of the core concepts to understand is that of the Meta Robots Tag. To learn how to effectively use this tag and maximize the potential SEO benefits, it is important to have an understanding of what a meta robots tag is and how they work.

Meta robots tags are HTML elements used to give instructions to search engine crawlers as to how they must crawl and index web pages. This code can also be used in order to keep search engines from crawling a page or from following its outlinks. By using Meta Robots Tags, developers can control which parts of their website are shown in Google’s SERP (search engine result page).

The two main types of meta robots tags are: `index` and `noindex`. When either of these types are added to a page’s header, then crawlers will make decisions about whether or not to index a page. Index directives tell the search engine that it should index the page and display it in SERPs. Meanwhile, noindex directives let search engines know not to display certain pages in search results, although they may still appear in other areas such as when referenced by an inline link.

The effects of Meta Robots Tags can be both beneficial or detrimental depending on their application in an overall SEO strategy. On one hand, they allow developers more control over how their webpages are listed with search engines; on the other hand, incorrect implementation can lead to decreased ranking visibility or even complete de-indexing. For these reasons, it is important to understand Meta Robots Tag directives and usage before making any changes.

Now that you know what a Meta Robots Tag is, let’s discuss further about the directive types available for proper implementation in our next section about “Meta Robots Tag Directive Types”.

Meta Robots Tag Directive Types

A Meta robots tag is a particular type of code that can be added to the HTML of each page on a website. It is called HTML Meta Tag, and it enables webmasters to have more control over how their pages are indexed and displayed in search engine results. The Meta robots tag specifically uses directive values to inform search engine crawlers about how to crawl or index web page content.

The two most common directive types used by the meta robots tag are:

• Index – This tells search engine crawlers that the page should be indexed and included in relevant SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

• Noindex – This instructs search engine crawlers against indexing your web page.

Indexing pages can help website owners increase traffic by making their content more visible in search engine results pages. On the other hand, not indexing certain pages can also improve SEO performance by focusing on popular pages that attract organic search engine traffic while protecting sensitive information from getting indexed. While using noindex directives isn’t always necessary, it’s important to know when it might be beneficial. By utilizing a mix of index and noindex directives, webmasters can ensure that only relevant content shows up in SERPs while keeping sensitive website elements hidden.

Using a combination of these two main directives is an effective way to make sure your website is optimized for success. Understanding when to use each directive type can give website owners an edge when it comes to ranking organically on major search engines like Google and Bing. With this in mind, let’s now take a look at another key aspect of Meta robots tags: Index & Follow.

  • The meta robots tag contains instructions for search engine crawlers on what content can and cannot be indexed on your site.
  • According to Google’s 2018 guidelines, all websites should have a meta robots tag that instructs search engine crawlers to index their content.
  • A meta robots tag can consist of several parameters including “noindex”, “follow”, “nofollow” and “none”.

Essential Points to Remember

A Meta robots tag is an HTML code that can be implemented to a web page in order to inform search engine crawlers on how to crawl or index the content. Index directives tell crawlers to include the page in relevant SERPs, while noindex informs against indexing it. Indexing pages helps maximize visibility and traffic while noindex can help prioritize important pages and protect sensitive information from getting indexed. By understanding when to use each directive type, webmasters can better optimize their websites for success by using a combination of index and noindex options. The ‘Index & Follow’ directive is an additional key aspect of Meta robots tags.

Index & Follow

When it comes to using the meta robots tag for SEO success, index & follow is a foundational instruction that is easy to understand. By instructing search engines to index the page and follow all of the links from that page, you are letting search engines know that the page, and all its linked content, is visibility for them to crawl and index. This means that your page will become searchable on search engine result pages (SERPs) and potentially increase traffic to your site.

Not all websites adhere to this rule though. Some websites prefer not to have certain pages indexed in order to limit the accessibility of certain content while other websites may decide never to have any of their content indexed so that they are not found by search engines at all. It all depends on your individual goals as a website owner. If you are trying to achieve organic visibility and an increased presence on SERPs, then index & follow serves as a baseline instruction.

Ultimately, when it comes to using the meta robots tag for SEO success, utilizing an index & follow instruction will provide a pathway for more visibility while allowing site owners some flexibility when deciding which pages they want indexed through search engines.

Now, let’s take a closer look at noindex & nofollow instructions, which can give site owners additional control over what content is indexed or crawled by search engines.

NoIndex & NoFollow

Understanding when to use the “noindex” and “nofollow” attributes for content optimization is key for SEO success. The noindex attribute instructs search engines not to index a page of a website, which is a great solution for pages with sensitive or duplicate information that shouldn’t appear in SERP results. On the other hand, the nofollow attribute can be added to pages that have content linking to irrelevant sources which should be excluded from influencing the ranking of those linked pages.

Though the nofollow and noindex attributes are useful methods of optimizing webpages, their use can cause potential harm. For example, blocking search engine bots can hurt the visibility of your webpages in comparison to competitor sites and pages, thereby damaging organic traffic. Moreover, by excluding links from being followed, websites risk losing out on potentially valuable external link authority that could help increase search engine rankings.

Often times it’s unclear whether to opt for the noindex or nofollow attributes, as different scenarios might require different approaches for maximizing content optimization and visibility. To better understand this dilemma, it’s important to look at specific examples of how both can be leveraged to improve overall SEO success. With this in mind, let’s dive into the ins-and-outs of leveraging the “noindex & follow” attributes for SEO success in the next section.

NoIndex & Follow

When working with the meta robots tag, you may encounter the option for NoIndex & Follow. This directive, when added to a specific page, tells search engine crawlers not to index a certain web page and instead just follow all of the links found within that page.

NoIndex & Follow may be beneficial in some situations. For example, when content is still under development or when webpages are duplicates that are meant only for internal purposes. In such situations, this directive allows users to keep crawlers out of sensitive page while still allowing them to analyze and credit other pages linked from them.

On the other hand, this directive should not be used as a short-cut for removing outdated or low-quality content from search engine results pages (SERPs). Doing this defeats one of the main advantages of SEO; getting outdated or irrelevant content completely removed from SERPs and starting fresh. In many cases, it might take longer to remove outdated content with the NoIndex & Follow directive than taking down the page completely.

Therefore, with the NoIndex & Follow directive, users should tread lightly and pay close attention to how it’s deployed on their website. Moving on, the next section will discuss the implications of using “NoSnippet” and “NoArchive” in conjunction with meta robots tag.

NoSnippet & NoArchive

One of the most powerful settings for a website’s meta-robots tag is the NoSnippet and NoArchive settings. In simple terms, NoSnippet prevents search engines from displaying snippets from the page in SERPS (search engine result pages). Similarly, NoArchive will stop search engines from caching your content and displaying it from their own server.

The primary benefit of using these two settings is that it gives webmasters more control over how their content appears in SERPs. It also helps to prevent other websites from stealing content without proper attribution. Webmasters can create unique, high-quality content without worrying about theft. On the other hand, preventing search engines from displaying snippets could lead to fewer clicks on the SERP and therefore less traffic to your website.

Another benefit of using the NoSnippet setting is that it allows you to keep some on-page meta information hidden that would otherwise be exposed through snippets or cached pages. This can be useful in situations where you don’t want to share certain user data or other secret information with other sites.

There are some drawbacks to using the no snippet/no archive settings too. Search engines may decide not to index your page depending on how you set your meta robots tag, which can lead to lower keyword rankings and less organic traffic. Additionally, if a link of yours is shared on social media but your page has been blocked from caching, it won’t show up in the post itself – potentially leading to fewer click-throughs for you.

Overall, the choice between using a snippet or no snippet should depend on the individual needs of each webmaster’s specific website and goals for SEO success. The same can be said for using a cache or not – every situation deserves carefully considered evaluation before taking action either way.

Now that we’ve explored the implications of using “NoSnippet” & “NoArchive,” let’s turn our focus towards exploring the benefits of using meta robots tags in general.

Benefits of Using Meta Robots Tag

Using meta robots tags within your website provides a range of benefits that can help optimize your SEO success. While they aren’t necessary for all webpages, careful implementation and use of meta robots tags can provide a boost in the rankings of important pages.

One advantage of using meta robots tags is their ability to control the way search engine crawlers index and display content on sites. This allows you to direct visitors to more relevant pages, and ensure that only certain pages on your site are showing up in SERPs. Meta robots also enables you to block pages from being indexed, which can help keep irrelevant content out of search results, as well as preventing duplicate content issues.

On the other hand, it’s important to note that not everyone agrees that meta robots tags are essential for SEO success. Some experts argue that using them can be too time-consuming or be easily overlooked if someone else is managing your website content, resulting in key pages not having appropriate indexing settings. Both sides of the argument have validity; however, when implemented properly and diligently, the potential benefits typically outweigh any costs associated with using meta robots tags.

Ultimately, meta robots tags can be a powerful tool to control how web crawlers index websites. When done correctly, they can maximize the visibility and relevance of webpages and significantly improve SEO performance. This brings us to the following section which will dive into more specific details about search engine guideline respect when it comes to implementing meta robots tags into your website.

Search Engine Guideline Respect

When deciding how to use Meta Robots Tag for SEO success, it is important to consider search engine guidelines and respect. The key question to ask here is whether or not using such tags will lead to negative consequences with search engine crawlers such as Googlebot. If you fail to respect the guidelines as set in place by search engines, it is highly likely that your website will suffer in rankings, organic traffic and more.

The debate about using Meta Robots Tags to avoid search engine penalties is ongoing, though many experts maintain that if used correctly, they can help avoid any unwanted crawling and greatly improve rankings. Those opposed to their use believe that they should be used sparingly or avoided altogether, warning users to take extreme caution when blocking pages. It’s important to remember that if misused, it may incur penalties from search engines or even encourage ‘black hat’ techniques.

It is also recommended to thoroughly test any changes you make before implementing them across your entire website. Making mistakes can have long lasting effects on SEO results, so always double-check your work and ensure that the outcomes are what you’d expected.

By understanding the risks and evaluating existing content strategies for optimum implementation of Meta Robots Tag, you’ll be able to successfully navigate the murky waters of SEO success – without the fear of a penalty from search engines.



Now that you understand the importance of respecting search engine guidelines when using Meta Robots Tags, let’s look at what pages you should use them on in the next section…

What Pages Should I Use Meta Robots Tags On?

One of the most important questions when it comes to using meta robots tags for SEO success is which pages should they be used on. This can be a tricky situation since you don’t want to inadvertently block content that could prove beneficial for ranking in search engines, but at the same time, you want to make sure all other pages are indexed appropriately.

There are three types of pages that should always have meta robots tag applied: any page where you don’t want Google’s crawlers to index your content; any page with duplicate content that would compete against an original page’s ability to rank; and any page with sensitive user or private information. Blocking search bots from indexing those pages will ensure they aren’t accidentally exposed and can help keep the website’s reputation intact. Additionally, pages with long-term plans or strategies should use noindex, since those won’t be evergreen and re-use them in the future will not bring value.

That said, if your goal is to get as much content indexed as possible for rankings purposes, then applying meta robots tags on every page is likely a bad choice. Remember that some pages are truly valuable to someone searching and by blocking them with a noindex tag means search engines won’t see it or show it in their results either. As a result, carefully consider which pages make sense to have meta robots applied before deciding which ones should be blocked from search engine crawlers.

In summary, while there may be certain cases where using meta robots tags is necessary on select pages, they should not be applied indiscriminately across the entire website. Once you have reviewed the scenarios outlined above and decided which pages need a meta robots tag applied, you can move onto the next section: Final Thoughts on Meta Robots Tags.

Final Thoughts on Meta Robots Tags

When it comes to meta robots tags, there is no definitive answer on whether or not they should be used for SEO success. On the one hand, meta robots tags can provide an easy and straightforward way to control how search engines interact with a website. For example, they can be used to prevent search engines from indexing specific pages or content types, or they can be used to set rules on how frequently a particular page should be crawled. The downside of using meta robots tags is that they must be properly configured to ensure the desired results, and that settings applied to an entire domain won’t override any customization for individual pages.

At the same time, using meta robots tags isn’t always necessary for SEO success. Many of the settings available through meta robots tags can be handled without any additional effort simply by managing other website elements such as URL structure and server-side redirects. Additionally, if a website’s content isn’t prone to frequent changes in its structure, then relying on meta robots tags for bots instructions may be unnecessary.

Ultimately the decision of whether or not to use meta robots tags depends on the individual situation and business goals. It’s possible to achieve success with either approach, but it’s important to understand the implications of implementing each approach before investing resources into either one.

Commonly Asked Questions

Are there any considerations for using meta robots tags for different types of content?

Yes, there are many considerations when using meta robots tags for different types of content. For example, some content may need to be indexed by search engines to ensure it is seen by potential customers or viewers, while other content may be sensitive and should not be indexed. Additionally, if a page contains multiple elements that are best handled differently, such as a combination of text, audio and video, meta robots tags can provide guidance on how each element should be treated. Finally, the specific directives used with the tags will also vary depending on the type of content. For instance, an “Index/follow” directive might be beneficial for an article intended for wide distribution, whereas a “Noindex/nofollow” directive could reduce indexing for pages containing confidential information.

What are the various parameters that can be used for a meta robots tag?

The meta robots tag is a powerful tool that can help SEOs to control how their webpage is indexed by search engines. There are a number of different parameters that can be used for a meta robots tag, including:

• “index” or “noindex” – This will either allow or prevent the page from being indexed by search engines. It’s extremely important to make sure you have this set correctly according to your desired indexing outcomes.

• “follow” or “nofollow” – This will let search engines know whether they should follow links on the page or not. Following links can help with SEO rankings, but it isn’t always wise to do so.

• “archive” – This tells search engines to remember older versions of the page, which can be beneficial when you have made changes and would like them to still show up in SERPs.

• “none” – This is a catch-all parameter that applies all of the previously mentioned parameters (noindex, nofollow and don’t archive).

Finally, since meta robots tags are primarily used for indexing pages, there is an additional parameter called “noimageindex” which prevents images on the page from being indexed.

How do I create a meta robots tag?

Creating a meta robots tag is a simple process that requires just a few steps.

First, you need to add the element to the section of your HTML document. It should look something like this:



Within the content attribute, you can specify different values that will determine how search engine robots will index your page. Common values include “noindex”, “nofollow” and “none”. You can also specify an exact value such as “index, follow” or use the “*” wildcard character.

It’s important to remember that meta robots tags are only one of many elements that search engines use in order to determine how webpages should be indexed and ranked. Other methods such as sitemaps, canonical links and Pagination must also be taken into account.

By following these simple steps, you should be able to successfully create and implement a Meta Robots tag for your website pages. Good luck!

Last Updated on March 21, 2023

E-commerce SEO expert, with over 10 years of full-time experience analyzing and fixing online shopping websites. Hands-on experience with Shopify, WordPress, Opencart, Magento, and other CMS.
Need SEO help? Email me for more info, at info@matt-jackson.com