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So, What Does “NoIndex” Mean?

Some people call it “crawling” or “spidering”, but the official term for when a search engine looks through your site to know when to show it as a result is “indexing”. There are many reasons you may not want search engines indexing your WordPress site. For example, there is absolutely no reason that your administrative login page should be indexed. Another common reason to learn how to NoIndex a page in WordPress is to stop Google from crawling the wp-content folder. In this guide, we’ll go over this process, as well as inherent limitations it has.

​how to noindex a page in wordpress

The Limitations of “NoIndex”

Before we dive right into it, there are a few things you need to know about what you cannot accomplish with this feature. First, utilizing it is not a guarantee that search engines won’t index your site. You’re essentially making a request for no robots to access and index your site, but they aren’t prevented from doing so. Knowing how to NoIndex a page in WordPress is simply knowing how to ask search engines nicely to not list your page.

Lesser-known search engines as well as “scrapers” are notorious for ignoring such requests for monetary gain. The best real-life analogy for this is putting up a sign at a museum that says “no photography, please”. Yes, everyone (and, in this case, every search engine) will know that you’ve made the request. However, less scrupulous people who feel like disobeying this rule can and will do so. If something is truly private, consider whether it really needs to be on the Internet in the first place. If it does, consider password-protecting the page.

Getting Started

So, you’ve decided that you’d like to discourage Google’s WordPress crawler from accessing a page on your site. If you change your mind later, the process to remove NoIndex from WordPress pages is equally simple! Follow these simple steps to create a page and then add a “NoIndex” request to become competent on how to NoIndex a page in WordPress!

Step 1. Set Up a Practice Page

First, you’ll need to log into your WordPress Dashboard as the administrator. Click on “Pages” on your left-hand column.

click pages

Next, you’ll need to click on “Add New” like we did below:

add a new page

After that, you’ll need to add some sample content to the page. Something like the image below should suffice as we get closer to learning how to NoIndex a page in WordPress!

Last but not least, Publish the page! There wouldn’t even be a need to ask WordPress to hide a page from search engines if it isn’t on the Internet to begin with. 

publish page noindex

Step 2. Install Yoast SEO Plugin

For general knowledge purposes, you can accomplish this without using Yoast. This requires manual manipulation of the “robots.txt” file. However, if SEO is of importance to you, custom “robots.txt” files can have an adverse effect on SEO. Yoast SEO allows me to hide my WordPress site from search engines without compromising my ability to optimize the pages of my site that I do want to be indexed. Also note that Yoast SEO has other features, such as allowing you to NoIndex Category Pages. (If you’re interested in learning more about SEO, we made a post just for you!)

So, going back to our Dashboard, click on “Plugins”, located in a position on the left-hand pane as we point to in the image below:

add plugins

Then, you’ll need to click “Add New” on the “Plugins” page as shown:

add a new plugin

As displayed in the image below, search for “Yoast” in the search box. “Yoast SEO” should be the first result. You’ll need to click on “Install” and follow any additional prompts to get it activated and ready to go!

install yoast

Step 3. Return to the Practice Page You Created

Following the same sequence of steps we performed earlier, navigate to your new Practice Page you made for this tutorial. If all went well, you should notice that it looks very different. There should be a good amount of new stuff at the bottom of your page in the admin view, among other things, like this:

show yoast

You’ll need to scroll down within the “Yoast SEO” section of the Page to the “Advanced” section. This is exactly where we need to be in order to know how to NoIndex a Page in WordPress! Still staying on the same page, expand that “Advanced” section.

Look for the field that we boxed in yellow in the image below. (Older tutorials on this show it in a different section of Yoast SEO. Ignore those; they are for older versions. CleverSequence will always keep you up to date!). Click the “No” option that we boxed in red, and then ensure that you save the changes to the page.

how to NoIndex a page in WordPress

And that is all there is to it! There isn’t really a need to use a NoIndex checker tool. You can always go to individual Pages and Posts on your WordPress admin view and use Yoast SEO to check that! Now you know how to NoIndex a page in WordPress.

In Summary

We covered a lot of ground in this post! Remember, the only way to make sure that random people cannot access a page is to either password protect it with a strong password or to make it private. While knowing how to NoIndex a page in WordPress can be helpful for keeping irrelevant results from your site off of search engines, it isn’t a silver bullet or a failsafe!

You can use an FTP tool to access your site’s “robots.txt” file and insert commands that effectively do the same thing. However, we try to make our tutorials as universally accessible and easy to follow as possible. That’s why we chose to use a plugin to do the heavy lifting for us! Here’s what we went over today:

  1. First, create a “throwaway page” for practice purposes.
  2. Install the “Yoast SEO” plugin on your WordPress site.
  3. Configure Yoast SEO’s settings to ask search engines to not “crawl” through your site.

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