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Do Robots Meta Tags Affect Search Performance? Google Answers.

2 min read

In the recent instalment from the #AskGoogleBot series, John Mueller took on discussed about Robots Meta Tags and whether or not they have any kind of impact on a website’s search rankings and thereby its overall performance. John took to YouTube to address a question submitted by a user on Twitter, asking if lack of Robots Meta Tags could lead to drop in rankings. The short answer of which is ‘No’. But there is a catch. In the long run, Robots Meta Tags could improve a page’s Click-through-rate (CTR), which in turn can improve that particular page’s search rankings. For the uninitiated, a Robot Meta Tag is a piece of instructional code on how to crawl or index a page and its content. In other words, it is a way to control and guide search engines on where they should go on your site and what they are allowed to index. Let’s a have a read through what John had to say about it.

So, do Robots Meta Tags impact search rankings?

The following question was submitted by a user on Twitter.

“If a site does not have a robots meta tag, does this affect the ranking negatively?”

John addressed the question via YouTube and gave a very detailed and interesting answer to the same. He said:

“We talk about some of these SEO elements so often that it’s easy to assume that they’re required. In this case, no. A meta robots tag is not required for ranking.

The robots meta tag can specify how a specific page should be shown in search, or if it shouldn’t be shown at all. This metatag is only necessary if you want to change the default appearance of a page in the search results.

For example, if you want to limit how long the snippet can be, then you can use the max snippet robot metatag. If you don’t have any preferences regarding how a page is to be shown in search then not having a robots metatag on a page at all is also perfectly fine.

If you’re curious about the options, I’d check out our documentation on both the robots meta tags as well as on other tags that Google supports.”

The Google documentation which Mueller speaks of offers a deep dive into the Robots Meta Tags universe. An excerpt taken from the document states, “The robots meta tag lets you utilize a granular, page-specific approach to controlling how an individual page should be indexed and served to users in Google Search results.”

Why Robots Meta Tags are relevant to a site’s search performance?

If you are dissatisfied in any way as to how Google displays your website in the search results then Robots Meta Tags can change that by changing how your website appears in the results. They allow website owners to change the way how a specific page needs to be shown (or not shown) in the results. It is important to note that if page has Robots Meta Tags then that doesn’t mean that that page holds any kind of ranking advantage over other pages. It simply means that Google will better understand how to show that page in the search results. Last but not the least; it is also important to understand that not all pages help you rank, and that some pages (admin, login, thank you, and FAQ pages) and their content actually have no place on the search results.

You need to evaluate every page on its merit and exclude those that do not add any real value for your users or search engines by using the Robots Meta Tags. Watch John Mueller’s full response to question in the below-mentioned video.

Source: Search Engine Journal