Some posts and pages should not show up in search results. To make sure they don’t show up, you should tell search engines to exclude them. You do this with a meta robots
noindex tag. Setting a page to
noindex makes sure search engines never show it in their results. Here, we’ll explain how easy this is in WordPress if you use Yoast SEO.
Why keep a post out of the search results?
Why would you NOT want a page to show up in the search results? Well, most sites have pages that shouldn’t show up in the search results. For example; you might not want people to land on the ‘thank you’ page you redirect people to when they’ve contacted you. Or your ‘checkout success’ page. Finding those pages in Google is of no use to anyone.
Not sure if you should
nofollow a post? Read Michiel’s post: Which pages should I noindex or nofollow?
How to set a post to noindex with Yoast SEO
Setting a post or page to
noindex is simple when you’re running Yoast SEO. Below your post, in the Yoast SEO meta box, just click on the advanced tab:
On the advanced tab, you’ll see some questions. The first is: “Allow search engines to show this post in search results?” If you select ‘Yes’, your post can show up in Google. If you select ‘No’ you’ll set the post to
noindex . This means it won’t show up in the search results.
The default setting of the post – in this case, Yes – is the setting you’ve selected for this post type in the Search Appearance tab of Yoast SEO. If you want to prevent complete sections of your site from showing up in Google, you can set that there. This is further explained in Edwin’s post: Show x in search results?.
Please note that if the post you’re setting to
noindex is already in the search results, it might take some time for the page to disappear. The search engines will first have to re-index the page to find the
noindex tag. And do not noindex posts frivolously: if they were getting traffic before, you’re losing that traffic.
Were you considering to use the robots.txt file to keep something out of the search results? Read why you shouldn’t use the robots.txt file for that.
Do links on noindexed pages have value?
When you set a post to
noindex, Yoast SEO automatically assumes you want to set it to
noindex, follow. This means that search engines will still follow the links on those pages. If you do not want the search engines to follow the links, your answer to the following question should be No:
This will set the meta robots to
nofollow, which will change the search engines behavior. They’ll ignore all the links on the page. Use this with caution though! In doubt if you need it? Just check Michiel’s post right here.
PS. Did you noindex a post or page while you didn’t mean to? No worries, as you can fix an accidental noindex easily!
Read more: The ultimate guide to the meta robots tag »