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. So you are cautioned.
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 — WHY?
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 (just because these SEO experts don’t understand what canonical URL’s are, or how noindex works in conjuction with robots.txt directives or with links from other parts of a website, means Google has to generalize its suggestions to cater for those thousands of website owners (who Google knows will get things wrong). So it just plays it safe by reasoning as to say
Since we know most website owners will get these settings wrong, let us just suggest to all of them to not use noindex nofollow directives
Particularly, if those website owners were also advertising with Google AdWords. Because getting things wrong with noindex will also stuff up Google AdWords campaigns causing much unneeded headache for everyone.
But You Need to Be a Smarter Website Optimizer and Understand What These Directives Do and How You Can Use Them to Your Advantage
noindex usage: Block search indexing with meta tags and perhaps this could be ideal
<?php if (is_date() || is_year() || is_month() || is_day()) : ?> <meta name="Googlebot" content="noindex"> <meta name="Googlebot" content="follow"> <meta name="robots" content="noindex"> <meta name="robots" content="follow"> <!--d--> <?php endif; ?>
Why you would use 2 user-agents specifically (robots, and Googlebot) because if you do not use Googlebot specifically, then Googlebot may actually follow links from other search engines results (confusing isn’t it?) but don’t be, as RankYa tries to simplify best practices for you to remember when using these noindex nofollow meta tags for your WordPress site.
noindex in WordPress
When Google sees this on a given URL (part by part in case of tags, category or date archives or pagination) it then means:
Hey, there is noindex directive meta tag on this URL, so we can’t place the contents within this Web Document in our index
nofollow in WordPress
When Google finds a link on a given URL, it adds that URL detail in its next to be fetched URL list (it does this continuously while finding new, already cached, or deleted URL’s on internet (this is a massive task indeed, but Google is highly efficient in doing this) that means, if you used noindex for day archives but haven’t for year based archives, then Google may follow links it finds on year based archives. Simply, this is what you are saying to Google:
Hey Google, if you see nofollow meta tag on this URL, then, do whatever you want with the contents, but, when you see ANY links on this Web Document do NOT follow them nor put them in your next to be fetched URL list
That is why, you want to learn what these directives do and how you can use them separately or together to gain absolute control of what Google indexes or finds (Uniform Resource Identifiers URI’s).
Easy Way to Use No Index No Follow in WordPress Using Yoast SEO Plugin
Example usage: you’ve got a page for thank you or cancel confirmation for your website visitors upon subscription, purchase or contacting you. Then if you do not want search engines like Google to see that page, 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 remove that URL from XML sitemaps as well (which is great))
Sample noindex nofollow Directives for WordPress
These directives are taken from RankYa.com SEO Blog (it is placed within header.php in head element of HTML. Use 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 just go ahead and use these example noindex and nofollow meta tags for your own website that is live on internet. Instead take it as guiding information.
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 your development website, till your new website is ready. To use it, you would simply place in header.php file < head > portion of HTML
<meta name="Googlebot" content="noindex"> <meta name="Googlebot" content="nofollow"> <meta name="robots" content="noindex"> <meta name="robots" content="nofollow">
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