Too Many No Index Tags Hurt Your Rankings?

Jan 8, 2013 • 8:34 am | comments (17) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

A WebmasterWorld thread asks if having too many pages with the noindex meta tag on them will eventually have a negative impact on your search rankings?

I think it is similar to the conversion we had on the not selected question. But that being said, having pages with the noindex meta tag on them, by itself doesn't hurt the site and pages within from ranking in Google or other search engines.

The pages that have the noindex on them will not rank because the spider is not allowed to index the content on those pages. (sorry, sleep deprived while on "vacation" with the family and working 10 hour days) So that can have both a positive and negative impact on your internal link flow.

But having tons of noindex pages, by definition, should not have a negative impact on your site's rankings.

What do you think?

A senior member at WebmasterWorld said:

In my experience, it hasn't been an issue and actually seemed to be a benefit in some cases...

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Carlos Rabanillo

01/08/2013 05:36 pm

You can use the "No Index, Follow" tag to allow Google to crawl and detect links

Michael Martinez

01/08/2013 06:33 pm

I think that after the pages are dropped from the index most should be deleted because they are just sucking up crawl time and resources. In theory that could have an adverse impact on "rankings" because it may extend the lag time between fetches for indexable content.

Bobby Gaglini

01/08/2013 07:59 pm

For larger companies with many different marketing channels and not a lot of resources, a noindex tag can be very useful. SEO gets rid of pages that may be cannibalizing each other or have a poor conversion rate, and the other marketing channels can keep their pages. It's a win-win.

Alistair Lattimore

01/08/2013 11:50 pm

"the internal links on those pages will not be counted because Google won't crawl the full page to detect those links" I don't think that is right. Assuming the page isn't blocked using robots.txt, a page with a meta robots noindex tag will be crawled as if it were any other normal page. It won't be returned in search results but it'll be crawled nonetheless. The page can accumulate PageRank and links on the page will pass PageRank. The exception to the last point would be that the meta robots tag doesn't include a nofollow, or all links on the page would be nofollow or that if the links are followed in general that a particular link doesn't include a rel="nofollow" attribute. Thoughts, comments, corrections on the above?


01/09/2013 12:03 am

From my understanding Barry, there is a difference between the noindex meta tag and nofollow meta tag. If the nofollow tag is left out, bots should still count the links on that page. Or maybe you need to add the follow tag as well as Carlos mentioned, but I'm pretty sure noindex should not affect the link graph especially since it just tells bots not to index a page (they still see the page)... Only blocking bots with a rel=nofollow or by robots.txt would the link graph get broken. Even though I have seen Googlebot crawl pages that are blocked. I'm shocked that you have been following this stuff for so long Barry, yet don't realize this or have just decided to leave it out.


01/09/2013 12:06 am

The "sucking" may be necessary because some pages may be beneficial to users yet perceived as low quality by Panda.


01/09/2013 12:07 am

Or they may be confidential pages.


01/09/2013 12:24 am

I actually commented before I saw this comment posted which is correct. Again, I figured Barry knew a lot, a lot more about Google than he apparently does or maybe he knows something that we don't know ;)

Barry Schwartz

01/09/2013 07:01 am

Fixed error, sorry about that - I barely can see straight this week.

Bryan Krause

01/09/2013 03:36 pm

Agreed, we utilize the noindex the same way at my company.

John Britsios

01/14/2013 08:30 pm

The only issue that probably should be taken into consideration, is that pages using the meta robots directive "noindex" accumulate PageRank. Edit: When I made my comment I did not read the comments of Michael and Alistair. Sorry for repeating.

Axat Tech

01/15/2013 06:48 am

yes i agree with this thing. if the page is no index then it is bad for ranking.


01/15/2013 06:52 am

Pages having the no index meta tag on them, by itself doesn't hurt the site and pages within from search engine ranking.


01/15/2013 10:05 am

Thanks for sharing this wonderful article about ranking on google , i think too many pages won't hurt your ranking.

Alex Garrido

01/19/2013 08:44 pm

Yes, it can affect in my opinion. Here is the deal, usually the fact that there are a lot of indexed pages in Google is a sign of how much G trusts a website. Having too few indexed pages might hurt the homepage actually because there is a lack of "internal relevancy" (perhaps thin content). Of course, the indexed pages must be of quality. Otherwise, I do not see any reason why adding noindex to a low quality page might hurt.


03/01/2013 10:24 pm

I think that Google did everything to discourage people to perform links sculpting. Consequently, pages with nofollow tags counts and i think that pages with noindex tags counts in the discount of inbound google juice. From what i have seen, when i added a nofollow and noindex tag, it looked like Googlebot was disturbed and i had a drop in incoming traffic. I guess it is restored in time. Anyways, i think people get it wrong when they think noindex will allow them to preserve the pagerank to their indexed webpage. It is the same with nofollow, it does not help to save pagerank for other pages. By the way, the Yahoo directory has no noindex tags on categories check the source of: and you will see

Deven Jadav

10/30/2013 12:28 pm

Hey Barry & Everyone, I have some 1250 Quality Articles Content Page, and have just NOINDEXED some 15000 other which had value but very thin in content (Most didn't had any backlink). My question is : 1. Will this action help me in ranking terms ? 2. And in terms of Adsense revenue earnings (As Google See's all indexed submitted SERP landing pages are high in quality) Thanks, -Deven

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