During Google’s November 2022 Office-hours Hangout Q&A Session, Gary Illyes, a Google Webmaster Trend Analyst, addressed a question concerning the abundance of noindex pages on a website. This query came from one of the session’s viewers, who sought clarification on whether having excessive noindex pages would affect the discovery and indexing of other website content. Additionally, they inquired whether a specific threshold of noindex pages exists beyond which Google might view the website suspiciously.
Gary clarified that the noindex attribute is a tool designed by search engines to assist users, emphasizing that its extensive use does not influence how Google crawls or indexes a website. Furthermore, he pointed out that utilizing the noindex tool has no bearing on Google’s crawl budget allocation. Before we delve into the whole question and Gary’s response, let’s gain a comprehensive understanding of what the noindex attribute is and why it serves a purpose in the first place.
What is noindex and why do you need it?
Effective SEO ensures high-quality content ranks well in search results and prevents certain types of pages from appearing in those results. This is precisely where the “noindex” directive comes into play. “Noindex” is a robots meta tag, an HTML attribute that signals search engines to exclude a specific page from search results. Pages containing duplicate or similar content, thin content, or those intentionally designed to remain hidden from search results are often tagged with “noindex” commands.
For instance, consider a scenario where you manage a travel blog, categorizing content by different states. If you wish to prevent one of these state-specific pages from appearing in search results, you will apply a “noindex” directive. Many SEO plugins are purpose-built to automatically or manually instruct search engines to exclude such pages and similar content from search results, streamlining the process.
No, an excessive number of Noindex pages do not cause discovery or indexing issues.
Here’s what Chris, a user, asked the team.
“How much of an issue for Google is the excessive number of noindex pages, and whether it will affect discovery and indexing of content if the volume is too high?”
To which Gary replied with.
“Good question. noindex is a very powerful tool search engines support to help you, the site owner keep content out of their indexes. For this reason, it doesn’t carry any unintended effects when it comes to crawling and indexing. For example, having many pages with noindex will not influence how Google crawls and indexes your site.”
If your motive for keeping these pages out of search results is legitimate, there’s no need for concern. The pages you want Google to find and index will still undergo the regular crawling and indexing. This action doesn’t imply any wrongdoing or cause for worry on your part.