SEO Tip #123: When Would Someone Use “NOINDEX FOLLOW” In A Robots Meta Tag?

Matt Cutts: Okay, it’s a little bit arbitrary but if you have an HTML site-map and for whatever reason you don’t want Google to actually return the site-map itself. So maybe you have a couple hundred links on that page and you’re worried Google might think it looks spammy but you want users to see it just fine.

In theory you can have a NOINDEX meta tag so that wouldn’t be returned in the search results but then have FOLLOW, which allows us to follow those outgoing links. So if you’re doing a site-map that doesn’t look all that pretty and you don’t want it to be returned in the search results you can use the NOINDEX.

Then if you still want those links to be followed that is an example where you would use “NOINDEX , FOLLOW” or “NOINDEX FOLLOW” to make sure that Google is still willing to process and make sure we see those links and follow them. It’s not a real common case but there are some situations in which we see people do that.

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About the Author

Andy Johnson

Andy Johnson has been on the Internet since the its dawn(ie his first computer program was recorded on cassette tape) and his first hard drive cost about as much his current MacBook. His first byline was in 1993 for a local newspaper rag he eventually helmed, and his last “real job” was at a computer start up which ended when it ended. Throughout it all he’s freelanced and blogged. Now he is mesmerized by Search Engine Optimization forever trying to “rise to the top” for the right reasons. He’s been married to his wife Julia for as long as he can remember and has two lovely, wonderful children. He looks forward to sharing the latest in the technical best for all the online entrepreneurs.