Noindex is a way for webmasters to tell Google and other search engines not to include that particular landing page or pages in their search results.
Looking to remove a page from the search engine result pages and how to do it within Google’s guidelines?
Instead of just 404’ing a page/killing it outright, this allows you to properly remove hundreds or thousands of pages. And the good news is that adding noindex to your pages is pretty straight forward. There’s no need to customize the tag; it’s a one-size fits all solution. Themeta tag that’s easily coded into the target landing page between the <head> tags. The source code should look something like this:
<html> <head> <meta name="robots" content="noindex"> </head>
And that’s it. From here, Google and the search engines should drop your page as soon as the next crawl. Right? In the perfect search world, it does, but unfortunately that’s not the case.
The noindex does work, but for some reason it takes a lot longer than one would expect for the simple tag to be honored.
So how long before a noindex takes affect?
The general experience is it takes 1-2 weeks from the date of the implementation even when the search engine has seen the tag. In some more extreme cases (usually larger websites trying to remove hundreds of pages), it can take up to a month before Google removes the landing pages. Here’s Google’s official stance on noindex-
“When we see the noindex meta tag on a page, Google will completely drop the page from our search results, even if other pages link to it. Other search engines, however, may interpret this directive differently. As a result, a link to the page can still appear in their search results.”
If you’re dead set on using noindex, it’s all about getting Google and search engines to re-crawl these pages so they recognize the directive. There are several ways to tap Google on the shoulder to remind them to remove the desired pages from their search results. Here’s three ways to send Big G a reminder:
- Force crawl by submitting content via Google’s Add URL
- Update the robots.txt file to reflect page removals
- Resubmit updated sitemap via Google Search Console
A quicker option is redirecting the target pages with a 301 redirect. These redirects usually take less than a week for search engines to update. Good luck.