In Google’s Office-hours Hangout November 2022 Q&A Session, Google Search Advocates Gary Illyes and John Mueller took turns to answer not one but three different questions regarding noindexed pages and crawl budget. Through these different questions, both Gary and John maintained a similar stance, and clarified that no amount of noindexed pages can negatively affect a website’s crawl budget. It seems that people are a little too concerned and cautious about having too many noindexed pages. However, responses from Gary and John make it pretty clear that they needn’t worry about the crawl budget and everything after. Well, not unless their respected websites have over a million pages. For the uninitiated, a noindexed page has a robots meta tag attached to it that signals search engines not to include the page in the search results. Let’s take a quick recap through all the questions and their responses.
Is there such a thing as too many noindexed pages?
In question number 1, the viewer asked:
“Is an excessive number of noindex pages an issue for discovery or indexing?”
Here’s what Gary had to say about it.
“Noindex is a very powerful tool that search engines support to help you, this 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.”
It’s clear from Gary’s response the noindex is a tool specifically designed to keep pages out of search engines and that Google actually encourages its use wherever the user deems it necessary. And that it won’t negatively affect your site’s crawl budget.
What is the ratio of Indexed to Noindexed pages?
In question number 2, the viewer asked:
“Should we keep an eye on the ratio between indexed and non-indexed pages in Search Console in order to better recognize possibly wasted crawl budget on non-indexed pages?”
Here’s what John had to say about it.
“No, there is no magic ratio to watch out for. Also, for a site that’s not gigantic, with less than a million pages, perhaps, you really don’t need to worry about the crawl budget of your website. It’s fine to remove unnecessary internal links, but for small to medium-sized sites, that’s more of a site hygiene topic than an SEO one.”
John makes it crystal that crawl budget is an issue very few websites need to worry about. The ones with less than a million pages are not among those few. And that one shouldn’t give any thought to balancing indexed and noindexed pages on their website.
What about noindexed pages linked from spammy sites?
In question number 3, which was slightly different from the first two the viewer asked:
“A lot of SEOs are complaining about having millions of URLs flagged as excluded by noindex in Google Search Console. All to nonsense internal search pages linked from spammy sites. Is this a problem for crawl budget?”
Here’s what Gary had to say about it.
“Noindex is there to help you keep things out of the index, and it doesn’t come with unintended negative effects, as we said previously. If you want to ensure that those pages or their URLs, more specifically, don’t end up in Google’s index, continue using noindex and don’t worry about crawl budget.”
As stated earlier by Gary, the intended purpose of the tool is to keep pages out of search engines so there is absolutely no need to worry about any adverse effects about either the crawl budget or anything else. It doesn’t imply that you are doing anything wrong at all. You can listen to Gary’s and John’s full response to these questions at the 08:23, 10:22, and the 11:26 minute mark, and may be also stick around for the rest of the discussion for some other valuable insights.
Source: Search Engine Journal