NoIndex for RSS feeds!

As regular readers might recall, I wrote a guestpost on SEOEgghead asking for an equivalent of “noindex, follow” for RSS feeds. Now it seems the search engines have been listening a bit, or at least have been thinking in the same direction…

In a post about preventing duplicate content with your feeds (which I encountered through SEL), the guys and girls at FeedBurner talk about a feature they have added which adds a noindex meta to the RSS feed, which seems to be supported by at least Yahoo!. In the post, which they’ve updated, they say that Google now supports this new feature as well, but I haven’t been able to confirm that yet. They didn’t feature it in their big robots meta-tag write up

While we wait for that though, I’ve been creating a WordPress plugin to add this noindex meta to your feeds, so we can all test this out. Check out the noindex feed plugin!

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9 Responses

  1. Richard HearneBy Richard Hearne on 16 April, 2007

    Interesting.

    I’ve been looking at this issue with respect to one or two blogs. I considered some way of blocking comment feeds as they generally end up in supp, but I do wonder if this will have an impact on overall ranking? Afterall, I’d be messing with internal linking. Your ‘noindex follow’ attribute is an interesting idea that would overcome this.

    I’ll have to take a look at the plugin and have a wee tinker around. What I think is needed is a granular control over the various feeds that WP spits out. Personally I’m happy to have the main feed indexed, but would like to noindex the minor feeds.

    You’re doing some great work over here Joost.
    Rgds
    Richard

  2. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 16 April, 2007

    Hey Richard,

    I’ve been looking into giving some options to do the noindex thing just for comment feeds, haven’t found an option (or a WP hook) to do that yet… Once I do, I’ll let you know!

  3. Arjan EisingBy Arjan Eising on 16 April, 2007

    Why not exclude your feed using robots.txt?

  4. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 19 April, 2007

    Well I actually am hoping for another solution: noindex, follow :) But the other reason is that this also prevents your comment feeds from being indexed, without having to implement “hard” robots.txt regexes :)

  5. Pascal Van HeckeBy Pascal Van Hecke on 3 May, 2007

    Unfortunately the “noindex” for feeds also means that the feeds can’t be used in Yahoo Pipes… (in fact, that was the original purpose the noindex tag in feeds was used for, if I’m right?).

    I definitely do not want to prevent search engines from indexing the feeds (meaning: reading them and letting them weigh in the algorithm), I just want to prevent them from showing them in the search results where they don’t belong…

  6. MarkkBy Markk on 22 June, 2007

    Finally! I’ve been looking for something like this for ages. I’ve installed a few SEO type plugins but none of them deal with the issue of RSS feeds appearing in search results.

  7. open keywordsBy open keywords on 21 September, 2007

    I’ve be concerned by this subject for a while, without be able to find any proper answer to it.

    But since Google has announced support for HTTP headers based equivalents of meta tags, i.e. X-Robots-Tag, it is now clearly possible to control the indexing of feeds (as a source for new content) and prevent them from being listed in the SERPs.

    See http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2007/08/new-robotstxt-feature-and-rep-meta-tags.html
    and http://searchengineland.com/070717-111517.php

    Would result in
    X-Robots-Tag: follow, noindex

  8. Pascal Van HeckeBy Pascal Van Hecke on 7 January, 2008
  9. Joost de ValkBy Joost de Valk on 7 January, 2008

    Yeah I know, thx for dropping the link though Pascal!