Caution should be given to the reader about using WordPress noindex nofollow settings as these settings guide Google about what part of your website, and which links on your WordPress site that it can follow. Because getting this right can benefit your web site, but getting this wrong can make your site (or parts of it) disappear from Google search results as well. Learn more here Block Search indexing with ‘noindex’
Also the reader should be informed that this particular blog post about nofollow and noindex is an extension to the how to noindex in WordPress blog post by RankYa. Let’s begin learning better ways to use these meta tags for our WordPress site.
The WordPress noindex nofollow Settings Google Doesn’t Clarify
Because not everyone uses WordPress. Also think like so “in Search Console HTML Improvements > Duplicate Title and Meta Description” usually shows up for most WordPress built sites. Why?
Its the way Google and WordPress works by default. So we need to then ask: do we really want parts of a WordPress built site to be indexed by Google? These parts include but not limited to: pagination, tags, date archives since these parts of WordPress are not unique at all. Also, you need to remember that Google says create original and unique content on your website which should naturally include ALL URL’s Google indexes.
Therefore, those parts as mentioned above of WordPress are not unique (because they are a simple duplication of your main posts or pages (paginations are that, duplicates, tags are that, duplicates, archives are that, duplicates)) these do not need to be indexed by Google. Because these do not serve your Google rankings at all. It dilutes keyword rankings.
Why Does Google Suggest not to Use noindex nofollow directives for Websites?
Because Google customers usually get things wrong and then bombard Google webmaster forums with things like “I changed noindex and nofollow directives in my WordPress site, now I can’t find my website in Google” or canonical conflicts with noindex
But what’s worse is that most website owners don’t understand what canonical URL’s are, or how noindex works in conjunction with robots.txt directives. Also, how Google follows and evaluates links for ranking purposes.
That means, if Google started suggesting to use noindex, then, we’ll probably see 50% of internet web pages disappear from Google. That’s the last thing Google would want.
Particularly, if website owners were also advertising with Google Ads. Because getting things wrong with noindex will also stuff up everything Google (including Google Ads, Google Analytics etc.) causing much unneeded headache for everyone.
Be a Smarter Website Optimizer and Use These Codes to Your Ranking Advantage
noindex usage: Block search indexing with meta tags, and perhaps this could be ideal for WordPress
<?php if (is_date() || is_year() || is_month() || is_day()) : ?>
<!--You would place your robots meta tag using this PHP block, saying, hey when on WordPress date, year, month, day archive URLs, then, do something. Ask yourself, what is unique here?-->
<?php endif; ?>
For Google, use Googlebot as it will obey the user-agent rules set using Googlebot specifically.
noindex in WordPress
When Google sees noindex for a given URL it means this to Google:
Hey, I just saw noindex directive meta tag for this URL, so we can’t place the contents of this Web Document in our index
nofollow in WordPress
When Google sees nofollow for a given URL, it will NOT follow that link.
Hey Google, if you see nofollow meta tag anywhere within the content of this web page (menu links, internal links, external links, ANY LINK), then, do NOT follow (as in fetch)
Knowing this, you can and should use noindex meta tags for certain parts of your WordPress built site. For example: tags, date archives, paginated areas all of which do NOT have unique content. Therefore, they are by default “thin non-unique content”. Making sure that google does NOT index these parts will improve rankings because Google will NOT evaluate thin non-unique content.
Should You Use NOFOLLOW
You do NOT have to use nofollow as its to do with crawling, which will only affect very large websites. For example: you would use nofollow if your website had 10000 web pages and Googlebot is causing issues with the web server due to crawling. Apart from that you don’t have to use nofollow per se.
Easy Way to Use No Index in WordPress Using Yoast SEO Plugin
Example usage: you’ve got a page for thank you, checkout, cart, or confirmation page for your website visitors upon subscription, purchase or contacting you. Then if you do not want search engines like Google to see that page/s, you can set Yoast SEO noindex per URL basis. Meaning, if you are using Yoast SEO Plugin, you can easily tell Google to noindex a particular page (Yoast also will remove that URL from XML sitemaps as well (which is great))
Sample noindex nofollow Directives for WordPress
These directives are taken from RankYa.com website (it is placed within header.php in head element of HTML. look at it only to understand how else to use noindex and nofollow directives for your WordPress built site.
Because each website is unique, there are no best practices apart from answering which parts of my website is unique enough for me to let Google place the contents of that URL in its database for ranking purposes?
Note: do not use these example noindex and nofollow meta tags for your website that is live on internet. Instead consider it as a guide only.
Video Lesson Showing WordPress Yoast noindex Settings
Meta Tags Settings for New WordPress Web Development Projects
Site-wide usage of noindex and nofollow directives are great for brand new web development projects, as it will make sure that Google and other major search engines do not index the development stage of the site till your new website is ready. To use it, you would simply place robots noindex nofollow in header.php file < head > portion of HTML. And when your website is ready to go live, you would remove the above meta tags.
Search Console Index Coverage Issues
The latest Google Search Console has a new reporting tool called Index Coverage Issues which details if Google is having problems when accessing your website. Visit the following link to learn more about Index Coverage Issues as I outline how to’s for fixing the common indexation problems.