Meta Robots Tag

By Damien Alcock

Meta Robots Tag and X-Robots-Tag are critical for ensuring that search engines can crawl and index your site accurately, as well as for controlling how they display your content in search results. In this blog, we’ll explain the basics of what these tags are, their significance, and how to use them effectively to enhance your website’s SEO.  

What are Meta Robots Tags and X-Robots Tags?

Meta robots tags and x-robots-tag are HTML elements that provide instructions to search engine crawlers. They tell these bots how to interact with your website and how to index and present your content in search results. In other words, they serve as a roadmap for search engines, guiding them on how to navigate and understand your site.

Why are these tags so crucial for your website’s SEO? Well, search engines like Google rely on these tags to determine which pages to crawl, index, and display to users. By strategically implementing meta robots tags and x-robots-tag, you can control how your website appears in search results and enhance its overall visibility.

Different Types of Meta Robots Tags

Here are the different types of Meta robot tags and how each one can enhance your website’s SEO strategy. 

  1. Noindex

Imagine you have a page that contains sensitive information or serves as a duplicate of another page on your site. You wouldn’t want search engines to index it, right? That’s where the mighty “noindex” tag comes to the rescue. By using this tag, you’re essentially telling search engines, “Hey, this page is not meant for public consumption. Keep it hidden from search results.”

  1. Nofollow

Sometimes, you have pages with a multitude of outbound links that you’d rather search engines didn’t follow. Why? Well, maybe those links lead to external websites you can’t vouch for, or perhaps you want to focus your link equity on other pages. In such cases, the “nofollow” tag swoops in as your trusty sidekick. It commands search engines, “Stay away from these links, don’t pass any authority through them!”

  1. Noarchive

You’ve probably noticed that search engine results sometimes display a “Cached” option. This allows users to view an older version of a page even if it’s been updated or removed. However, there might be instances when you prefer not to showcase cached versions of your content. Enter the “noarchive” tag, which instructs search engines not to store copies of your pages. With this tag, you can ensure that only the latest and greatest version of your content is accessible to users.

  1. Nosnippet

Picture this: You’ve crafted a well-crafted and engaging meta description for your page, but search engines insist on displaying snippets of your content in search results. While snippets can provide a preview, sometimes they reveal too much, reducing the need for users to click through to your site. To retain that element of mystery and intrigue, the “nosnippet” tag steps in, commanding search engines, “Don’t display snippets of my content!”

  1. Noodp

The Open Directory Project (ODP) used to be a significant player in directory-based search engines. However, its influence has diminished over time. If you don’t want search engines to use ODP metadata for your page, the “noodp” tag comes to your aid. It politely tells search engines, “Please ignore any ODP metadata related to this page.” It’s like breaking free from outdated shackles and charting your own course!

  1. None

Sometimes, you may want to remove all directives and allow search engines to freely crawl and index your pages. The “none” tag is your all-encompassing solution. It signals search engine crawlers to exercise their own judgment, giving them the green light to explore and understand your content without any specific directives. It’s like saying, “Do what you do best, search engines!” 

Optimising for Search Engines with Meta Robots Tags

By strategically applying these tags, you can guide search engine crawlers to prioritize certain pages and ensure your website appears in search results when it matters most.

These are some examples of how you can use different meta robots tags to enhance your SEO efforts:

  1. Noindex: Imagine you have a “Thank You” page that visitors land on after completing a form. This page doesn’t provide much value to search engine users because it simply confirms their submission. In this case, including the noindex tag on the “Thank You” page instructs search engines not to index it. By doing so, you keep the focus on your valuable content while avoiding clutter in search engine results.
  2. Nofollow: Suppose you have a page with external links that you don’t want search engines to associate with your website. By adding the nofollow tag to those links, you prevent search engines from passing link authority to those external sites. This can help you maintain control over the flow of link equity and prioritize the internal linking structure that matters most for your SEO strategy.
  3. Noarchive: Let’s say you have a page that contains time-sensitive information, such as event details or limited-time offers. Including the noarchive tag on that page prevents search engines from caching and displaying outdated versions of your content. This way, users will always access the most up-to-date information when they land on your page from search results.
  4. Nosnippet: Sometimes, you may have content that you don’t want search engines to display in snippets on search result pages. This could be the case if you offer exclusive content accessible only to paying subscribers or if your content relies heavily on visual elements that don’t translate well to snippets. By implementing the nosnippet tag, you retain control over how your content is presented and encourage users to click through to your website for the full experience.
  5. Noodp: Open Directory Project (ODP) metadata, like titles and descriptions, can influence how search engines display your pages in search results. However, if you want to override ODP metadata for a particular page, you can use the noodp tag. This ensures that search engines rely solely on the metadata you provide, allowing you to tailor your page’s presentation to align with your SEO goals.

Remember, the key to optimising with meta robots tags is striking a balance between SEO optimization and user experience. While it’s important to guide search engines to prioritize certain pages, you must also consider the impact on your users. Make sure that the pages you choose to noindex or the links you nofollow don’t hinder user navigation or accessibility. 

X-Robots-Tag Headers 

X-Robots-Tag headers provide a direct way to control the indexing behavior of Google bots. By including these headers in your server’s HTTP response, you can communicate specific indexing directives that Google’s bots will adhere to.

Imagine you have certain pages on your website that contain sensitive information, like a login page or a private admin dashboard. You wouldn’t want these pages to show up in search engine results and potentially compromise the security of your website. By utilizing X-Robots-Tag headers, you can instruct Google’s bots not to index these pages, keeping them hidden from prying eyes.

But that’s not all. X-Robots-Tag headers also offer a valuable feature for blog owners – the ability to verify blog traffic using non-indexable pages. You may have specific pages on your blog that are not meant for public consumption but are crucial for internal processes. For example, a “Thank You” page that appears after a successful subscription or purchase. By excluding these non-indexable pages from search engine results using X-Robots-Tag headers, you can accurately track your blog’s traffic without compromising user experience or diluting search engine indexes with irrelevant pages.

By leveraging X-Robots-Tag headers, you gain fine-grained control over which pages are visible to search engines. This can be immensely helpful in maintaining the integrity of your website, protecting sensitive information, and optimising your blog’s performance.

However, it’s important to note that X-Robots-Tag headers are specific to Google’s indexing behavior. Other search engines may not recognize or honor these headers in the same way. Therefore, if you have a multi-search-engine strategy, it’s advisable to use a combination of meta robots tags and X-Robots-Tag headers to cover all bases and ensure consistent indexing directives across different search engines.


Meta Robots tag and X-Robots-tag are crucial elements for optimising your website’s SEO. These tags are easy to use, but it’s important to understand their different types and how to use them effectively. By following the tips in this article, you can help ensure that your website is easily found by search engines, which will lead to increased traffic and higher rankings. 

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