Google Can Index Blocked URLs Without Crawling

Google Can Index Blocked URLs Without Crawling
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Google’s John Mueller just lately “liked” a tweet by search advertising guide Barry Adams (of Polemic Digital) that concisely said the aim of the robots.txt exclusion protocol. He freshened up an previous matter and fairly presumably gave us a brand new method to consider it.

Google Can Index Blocked Pages

The situation started when a writer tweeted that Google had listed a web site that was blocked by robots.txt.

Screenshot of a tweet by a person who says Google indexed a web page that was blocked by Robots.txt

John Mueller responded:

URLs could be listed with out being crawled, in the event that they’re blocked by robots.txt – that’s by design.

Usually that comes from hyperlinks from someplace, judging from that quantity, I’d think about from inside your website someplace.”

How Robots.txt Works

Barry (@badams) tweeted:

“Robots.txt is a crawl management tool, not an index management tool.”

We usually consider Robots.txt as a approach to block Google from together with a web page from Google’s index. But robots.txt is only a approach to block which pages Google crawls.

That’s why if one other website has a hyperlink to a sure web page, then Google will crawl and index the web page (to a sure extent).

Barry then went on to elucidate learn how to preserve a web page out of Google’s index:

“Use meta robots directives or X-Robots-Tag HTTP headers to prevent indexing – and (counter-intuitively) let Googlebot crawl those pages you don’t want it to index so it sees those directives.”

NoIndex Meta Tag

The noindex meta tag permits crawled pages to be stored out of Google’s index. It doesn’t cease the crawl of the web page, however it does guarantee the web page might be stored out of Google’s index.

The noindex meta tag is superior to the robots.txt exclusion protocol for holding an internet web page from being listed.

Here is what John Mueller mentioned in a tweet from August 2018

“…if you want to prevent them from indexing, I’d use the noindex robots meta tag instead of robots.txt disallow.”

Screenshot of a tweet by Google's John Mueller recommending the noindex meta tag to prevent Google from indexing a web page

Robots Meta Tag Has Many Uses

A cool factor concerning the Robots meta tag is that it may be used to resolve points till a greater repair comes alongside.

For instance, a writer was having bother producing 404 response codes as a result of the angularJS framework stored producing 200 standing codes.

His tweet asking for assist mentioned:

Hi @JohnMu I´m having many troubles with managing 404 pages in angularJS, at all times give me a 200 standing on them. Any approach to resolve it? Thanks

Screenshot of a tweet about 400 pages resolving as 200 response codes

John Mueller instructed utilizing a robots noindex meta tag. This would trigger Google to drop that 200 response code web page from the index and regard that web page as a gentle 404.

“I’d make a normal error page and just add a noindex robots meta tag to it. We’ll call it a soft-404, but that’s fine there.”

So, despite the fact that the net web page is displaying a 200 response code (which suggests the web page was efficiently served), the robots meta tag will preserve the web page out of Google index and Google will deal with it as if the web page shouldn’t be discovered, which is a 404 response.

Screenshot of John Mueller tweet explaining how robots meta tag works

Official Description of Robots Meta Tag

According to the official documentation on the World Wide Web Consortion, the official physique that decides internet requirements (W3C), that is what the Robots Meta Tag does:

Robots and the META aspect
The META aspect permits HTML authors to inform visiting robots whether or not a doc could also be listed, or used to reap extra hyperlinks.”

This is how the W3c paperwork describe the Robots.txt:

“When a Robot visits a Web site,it firsts checks for …robots.txt. If it can find this document, it will analyze its contents to see if it is allowed to retrieve the document.”

Screenshot of a page from the W3c showing the official standard for the robots meta tag

The W3c interprets the position of the Robots.txt as like a gate keeper for what information are retrieved. Retrieved means crawled by a robotic that obeys the Robots.txt exclusion protocol.

Barry Adams was right to explain the Robots.txt exclusion as a approach to handle crawling, not indexing.

It may be helpful to thik of the Robots.txt as being like safety guards on the door of your website, holding sure internet pages blocked. It might make untangling unusual Googlebot exercise on blocked internet pages a bit of simpler.

More Resources

Images by Shutterstock, Modified by Author
Screenshots by Author, Modified by Author

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