Meta Robots Tag

What is the Meta Robots Tag?

Definition:

The Meta Robots Tag is an HTML snippet used by webmasters to instruct search engine bots on how to crawl and index pages on their websites. Placed in the <head> section of a webpage, it provides directives to search engine crawlers about whether to index a page, follow links on it, or archive its contents. This tag plays a crucial role in SEO as it directly influences how a website’s content is discovered, indexed, and displayed in search engine results.

Types of Meta Robots Tag Values:

  1. Index: Tells search engines to index the page, allowing it to appear in search results.
  2. Noindex: Prevents the page from being indexed.
  3. Follow: Instructs search engines to follow the links on the page, even if the page itself is not indexed.
  4. Nofollow: Directs search engines not to follow any links on the page.
  5. Noarchive: Prevents a cached copy of the page from being stored by search engines.
  6. Nosnippet: Stops search engines from displaying a snippet (preview) of the page in search results.
  7. Noimageindex: Indicates that images on the page should not be indexed.
  8. Unavailable_after: Specifies a date/time after which the page should not be indexed.

SEO Implications

Using the Meta Robots Tag effectively allows website owners to control the visibility of their content on search engines, enhancing their SEO strategy. For instance, tagging certain pages as “noindex” can prevent search engines from displaying duplicate content, private information, or temporary content in search results.

Examples

  • Private Content: A subscription-based platform may use <meta name="robots" content="noindex, follow"> to prevent non-subscribers from accessing premium content through search engines, while still allowing the search engine to follow links to understand the site structure.
  • Temporary Promotions: For a limited-time offer, the tag <meta name="robots" content="noindex, follow, unavailable_after: 25-Jun-2024 15:00:00 EST"> could be used to ensure the page is not indexed after the promotion ends.

How to Use the Meta Robots Tag

  1. Insert the Meta Tag: In the HTML <head> section of the page you wish to control, add the Meta Robots Tag with the desired directives. For example, <meta name="robots" content="noindex, follow">.
  2. Verify the Implementation: Use tools like Google Search Console to ensure your directives are correctly understood and followed by search engines.
  3. Regularly Review: Periodically check the pages with Meta Robots Tags to ensure their directives still align with your SEO goals, adjusting as necessary.

Nedim Mehic

Nedim is a senior technical SEO specialist, and the co-founder of Beki AI. On the Beki AI blog, we share new and innovative strategies to SEO and content marketing.

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