Difference Between NoIndex And Nofollow Tags: As I have explained in my previous post on Crawling and Indexing, Googlebots move around the web, from one web page to another, through the links, and as they do so, they gather information about the pages. These information is stored in Google’s database, fed into Google algorithm to understand how relevant a particular page is to a query and based on that the pages are arranged in the search result page.
Now, does it mean that the crawlers should go through all the pages in the web and index them? That would be a waste of resources, right? I mean why would you want Google to crawl and index pages that you don’t want in the search engine results?
Noindex And Nofollow Tags
Let me us take two instances to elaborate it.
Let’s say, you own a certain business and there are 50 people working for you. To show your digital presence and to let people know about your products and services, you create a website for your business. Your website has different sections dedicated to, say, your products/services, blogs, about the organization, etc.
One of the sections is for the employees in the organization. If you think that this is a employee-only section which has nothing to do with outsiders, you, of course, won’t want others to come across it. You won’t want it to show up in Google search results.
Let us now look into a different example.
As you know links, both external and internal, help in passing link equity from the linking page to the linked page, which plays a very important role to improve ranking of the linked page. But if your content demands an external link the content of which is not reliable or trusted, you, of course, won’t want to pass on the link equity to that website, right? You won’t want Google to find the link to that website and follow it.
These two cases explain the need to have control over which pages you want or do not want Google to crawl and index.
What Are Noindex And Nofollow Tags?
Noindex and Nofollow are, basically, settings that allow us to stop Google from indexing and passing link equity, respectively, the web pages we want. These are meta tags that are added to the HTML source code of the web pages.
It looks like this:
<meta name=”robots” content=”[A1,B2]”
A1 is either index or noindex, and
B2 is either follow or nofollow.
You can use all four combinations of A1 and B2 depending upon your needs.
Basically, noindex tag is used to stop Google from including the web page in the search results and nofollow tag is used to stop Google from passing link equity to the linked page.
This means, the former is used for the particular web pages in your website that you don’t want to index. The latter is used for the web pages you have linked to to be not followed by Google.
Pages You Should Noindex
You can use the noindex tag in the following pages of your website:
- Author archives,
- Tag archives,
- Login page,
- Admin page,
- Thank you page, etc.
Pages You Should Nofollow
You can use nofollow tag if:
- The content is not reliable
- If it is a paid link
I hope I have been able to explain where and how to use noindex and nofollow tags. If you have any query, drop your comments below and I will get back to you at the earliest.