Matt Cutts: What should NOINDEX do? - Poll

Google’s Matt Cutts has posted a policy discussion poll about NOINDEX and how Google should treat the NOINDEX meta tag. If you use the NOINDEX meta tag now, Google won't show the page in any way in the Google index -- not even a "link only" listing. Before you respond, you may first want to read this […]

Google’s Matt Cutts has posted a policy discussion poll about NOINDEX and how Google should treat the NOINDEX meta tag. If you use the NOINDEX meta tag now, Google won't show the page in any way in the Google index -- not even a "link only" listing.

Before you respond, you may first want to read this post about how Google handles the NOINDEX meta tag. You may also want to watch this video about how to remove your content from Google or prevent it from being indexed in the first place.

Here’s the conclusion from earlier blog post:

    So based on a sample size of one page, it looks like search engines handle the “NOINDEX” meta tag:
  • Google doesn’t show the page in any way
  • Ask doesn’t show the page in any way
  • MSN shows a url reference and Cached link, but no snippet. Clicking the cached link doesn’t return anything.
  • Yahoo! shows a url reference and Cached link, but no snippet. Clicking on the cached link returns the cached page.

The question is whether Google should completely drop a NOINDEX’ed page from our search results vs. show a reference to the page, or something in between?

Matt explains: The question is whether Google should completely drop a NOINDEX’ed page from our search results vs. show a reference to the page, or something in between? Let me lay out the arguments for each:

Completely drop a NOINDEX’ed page: This is the behavior that we’ve done for the last several years, and webmasters are used to it. The NOINDEX meta tag gives a good way — in fact, one of the only ways — to completely remove all traces of a site from Google (another way is our url removal tool). That’s incredibly useful for webmasters. The only corner case is that if Google sees a link to a page A but doesn’t actually crawl the page, we won’t know that page A has a NOINDEX tag and we might show the page as an uncrawled url. There’s an interesting remedy for that: currently, Google allows a NOINDEX directive in robots.txt and it will completely remove all matching site urls from Google. (That behavior could change based on this policy discussion, of course, which is why we haven’t talked about it much.)

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Google, Search Engine, SEO, NOINDEX, Meta Tag