How do I noindex URLs?

In some cases, you’d like to keep some posts or pages out of the search results. Yoast SEO provides multiple options for setting a URL or group of URLs to noindex. Here, you can read how to do this for various types of content.

A warning upfront: Setting pages, posts or your site to noindex might have serious consequences for your rankings. So make sure you know what you’re doing! First, carefully determine which URLs you’d want to set to noindex.

Here’s a list of content types you can set to noindex with Yoast SEO:

Individual posts, pages, media or taxonomy items

The advanced section in the Yoast SEO meta box on the edit screen of the item allows administrators and editors to set custom robots information like noindex, nofollow, and other advanced robots settings.

To allow authors access to this tab, go to SEO->General->Features and toggle the `Security: no advanced settings for authors` to ‘Off’.
Yoast SEO metabox with the allow search engines No or noindex selected

The layout may vary as the example above is from a default post type.

Noindex an individual news article

Yoast SEO Metabox : Plugins Tab - Googlebot-News index

Yoast SEO: News includes the ability to tell Google News not to index a specific news article. This option is found under the plugins section of the metabox in the ‘Google News’ tab. Learn more about using Yoast SEO: News here.

Noindex post types, categories, tags or other taxonomies

If you want to noindex a group of items, enable this feature using the steps below. By default, search pages and 404 pages will be set to noindex, follow.

  1. Log in to your WordPress website.

    When you’re logged in, you will be in your ‘Dashboard’.

  2. Click on ‘SEO’.

    On the left-hand side, you will see a menu. In that menu, click on ‘SEO’.

  3. Click on ‘Search Appearance’.

    The ‘SEO’ settings will expand providing you additional options. Click on ‘Search Appearance’.

  4. Select the tab that represents the content types, taxonomy or archive type you wish to exclude from the search results.

  5. Toggle the ‘Show XYZ in search results?’ switch.

    To index the content, toggle the switch to ‘Yes’.
    To noindex the content, toggle the switch to ‘No’.

  6. Click ‘Save Changes’.

Noindex subpages of archives

Google has gotten much better at paginated series, so this feature has been removed from Yoast SEO.

Noindex an entire site

Alternatively, you can noindex the entire site but it’s up to search engines to honor this request. This can be set under Admin > Settings > Reading: Search Engine Visibility

  1. Log in to your WordPress website.
    When you’re logged in, you will be in your ‘Dashboard’.
  2. Click on ‘Settings’.
    On the left-hand side, you will see a menu. In that menu, click on ‘Settings’.
  3. Click on ‘Reading’.
    The ‘Settings’ section will expand providing you additional options. Click on ‘Reading’.
  4. Check ‘Discourage search engines from indexing this site’.
  5. Click ‘Save Changes’.

Noindex individual author pages

Go to Users->All Users and find the right username to edit. Scroll down and find teh Yoast SEO Settings. Then click on the Do not allow search engines to show this author’s archives in search results. This will tell Google NOT to index that author page.

What about NoFollow tags?

You can assign post types a NoFollow tag by clicking on advanced section and then selecting the right option. Selecting ‘Yes’ will tell Google to follow the URL. Selecting ‘No’ will output a noFollow tag for the URL.

Yoast SEO metabox with the follow option selected

The default is to assign all post types as follow. Note, that we do not output a follow tag in the source code. Google will still recognize the intent and follow the URL.

This feature is not available on taxonomies like categories and tags and only works on the URL of the post/page. It will not add a noFollow tag to the links embedded in it.

If you are not sure if you should or should not use a noFollow please refer to this guide: Which Pages Should I Noindex or Nofollow?