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What is preventing crawling method in SEO?

Every day, Google and other search engines crawl billions of web pages, but they show very few of them on their first result page. They crawl and index blog posts, service/product pages, and anything else that generates conversions. However, not all pages should be included in search results. The goal of SEO is to show up among the top search engine results. Everyone wants the highest rankings for their site, but that is not easy to achieve. By removing the less" useful" pages from Google's index, you can actually direct search engine traffic to more important pages. If you want to take matters into your own hands, you have come to the right place. We'll discuss some standard methods you can put to work to control this process. Here's what you should know about the preventing crawling method in search engine optimization.

What is preventing crawling method in SEO?

Why prevent search engines from indexing pages?

Most site owners are worried about getting Google to index their site's pages, not deindex them. Getting deindexed is considered bad for the business. It is well-known that high-quality landing pages full of high-quality keywords improve your organic search results. Sometimes, however, a high-quality landing page can do more harm than good. You may quickly lose leads or purchases if users stumble upon these "harmful" pages. 

Keeping these sorts of pages out of a search engine's index could improve your site's authority, which, in turn, helps it rank higher and avoid sudden problems with ranking. Therefore, you should tell search engines not to crawl certain pages. The pages on which you should use the prevent crawling method include thank you pages, policy pages, and ad landing pages (used for PPC campaigns). 

Removing pages from Google’s index

Some SEO experts claim that Google is always on the lookout for redundant, duplicate, and low-quality pages. They also claim that Google creates an aggregate authority or value score for your site by assessing the relative value of all of its pages, thus penalizing low quality. 

If you stuff Google's index with relatively low-value pages, this may affect how Google evaluates your site. Removing pages that do not have much unique content from the Google index can help you boost your organic search traffic. On the other hand, if you keep such pages, your site will not be considered authoritative in the eyes of search engines.  

What is the best method to prevent crawling?

"No index" meta tag

The "no index" meta tag is arguably the best removal tool to use for removing an individual page from Google's index. The "no index" meta tag is a string of code that asks search engines not to index a certain page. 

Adding the "no index" meta tag to policy pages and other potentially harmful pages that Google should not index or display as a response to a query should not be difficult. In the Head section of a page's HTML markup, you should insert the following code:

<meta name="robots" content="noindex" />

This simple tag tells all search engines not to index that page. The next time it crawls that page, Googlebot, Google's primary web crawler, will follow this instruction dropping any page marked with "no index".

Robots.txt file

Search engine web crawlers read the robots.txt file to see which of your site's pages to index. This simple file informs a search engine crawler which pages it can and cannot access. However, it is not possible for search engines to retroactively remove pages from their list of results after you implement the robots.txt file crawling prevention method. 

Disallowing a page in a robots.txt file will not always prevent it from appearing in Google's index. Although using this method asks bots not to crawl a specific page, search engines can still index your content. For example, if there are inbound links to your page on other websites, search engines can still index them. Using the "no index" preventing crawling method is a better choice if you wish to retroactively remove a web page that has already been indexed from search engines.

It is essential to mention that if you choose the "no index" meta tag method to prevent crawling, you should not combine it with the robots.txt file method. Search engines can detect the "no index" meta tag only after they start crawling the page, while the robots.txt file prevents crawling altogether.

HTTP Response Header

The HTTP response header can also let you pass the robots no index instruction. HTTP headers allow you and the webserver to pass additional information with an HTTP response or request. 

As the name suggests, response headers contain additional info about the response. The HTTP response header is like a text message your server sends to a web browser or crawler when it requests a page, and within this header, your website can prevent search engines from indexing a specific page. 

To sum up

It is very likely that there are pages on your business website that Google should not index or include in its search results. Considering that these pages can be one of the factors that affect your site's SERP ranking and, consequently, your traffic and conversions, you should prevent search engines from crawling them. Doing so can increase your authority on search engine results pages and help you get the most traffic possible, and finally boost sales. 

The best way to get rid of those pages is by using a robots "no index" tag, a simple yet effective preventing crawling method. If you wish to remove certain web pages from Google's index, the robots.txt file is not the ideal solution. However, you can use it to limit how Google indexes your site and prevent search engine bots from overwhelming your server. Also, if you disallow a page in a robots.txt file, you should not use a "no index" tag at the same time because, in that case, Googlebot could miss the no index directive.

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