How to fix “Excluded by noindex tag”
“Excluded by noindex tag” is the status of Google Search Console. This means that you have marked your URL with a noindex. Google found and crawled the URL but did not index it.
Depending on the specific scenario, the solution to this problem may include:
- remove the noindex tag of the pages you want to be indexed,
- Sitemap file optimization, and
- Optimize and monitor your indexing strategy.
Reasons for “Excluded by noindex tag”
Using the noindex tag prevents Google and other search engines from indexing a particular webpage. Although the result of this action is the same – your page will not be indexed, your intentions may differ.
Let me walk you through the most common causes of “excluded by noindex” status:
Indexing control using the noindex tag
You don’t have to worry about a “excluded by noindex” status if you intentionally prevent a page from being indexed.
Remember that not all of your pages need to be indexed. For example, you must control the indexing of low-quality or duplicate content. It is crucial to save Google resources to index your valuable pages.
If this is the case for you, congratulations! You care deeply about your SEO strategy for indexing, and if you intentionally used the noindex tag, you can ignore the “Excluded by noindex tag” problem.
Accidentally using the noindex tag
Unintentionally blocking your canonical pages with a noindex tag seems like your SEO’s worst nightmare.
It’s a sign of clutter on your website, and that clutter can cost you search visibility.
It may also mean that you have not understood your indexing strategy, or that your priorities for indexing content have changed.
Another example is When you forget the noindex tag during website migration.
A recommended part of website migration is to create a staging version of your website to test all the changes you want to implement with this move. Since you have your own staging environment, you need to block bots from accessing it with a password or noindex.
However, you may ignore removing the noindex tag when moving your website from a staging environment to production.
Another common mistake is Put a noindex tag on the page and add it to your sitemap.
Submitting a URL to your sitemap and using the noindex tag conflict with each other.
Why? Because your XML sitemaps should only contain the indexable URLs that you want bots to visit and index.
Prior to the 2022 Page Indexing (Index Coverage) report update, this issue was known as a separate case in Google Search Console – the submitted URL was marked as noindex.
In this case, Google thinks you want it to index your page because you submitted it to your sitemap. However, that won’t happen because you’re harassing Google with the noindex and limiting their actions.
From your point of view, the noindex submitted URL problem may have two different sides, since you:
- You marked the URL with a noindex, but you also added it to your sitemap because you I wanted Google to index it, or
- A URL tagged with noindex has been added to your sitemap even though you You don’t want Google to index it.
How to fix “Excluded by noindex tag”
If you want to fix Excluded by noindex tag, you need to Remove the noindex tag from your valuable pages that you want to index.
Remember to go through the list of all your excluded pages to make sure you don’t touch URLs that are supposed to be noindexed. To do this, go to the “Exclude by noindex” issue and select the “All known pages” option in the top left corner menu.
Also, always follow the best practices for using the noindex tag on your website.
After making changes to your page, you can request that the URL be indexed using URL Inspection Tool in the Google Search Console. It tells Google to crawl the URL with priority.
When Google revisits your pages and sees the noindex tag removed, it will schedule the indexing.
If your website has no other problems, the status of the URL in the Page Indexing (Index Coverage) report will change to Indexed.
When you submit a URL tagged with noindex to your sitemap, Addressing this issue may bypass just removing the noindex tag.
Note that in this case, Google is getting mixed signals from you, so you need to make sure you don’t make them guess how to handle your pages.
First, browse through the list of all URLs that have submitted to your sitemap but are also marked as noindex. Select the All Submitted Pages option in the upper left corner menu to filter out only the URLs you’ve added to your sitemap.
In an ideal scenario, where your sitemaps should include only indexable URLs, there should be no pages in the “All submitted pages” list for the “Excluded by noindex tag” issue.
But if you find some URLs here and you are sure that these are the valuable URLs you want to index, Remove the noindex tag from these pages and keep it in your sitemap.
But remember that even if you don’t want the URL submitted with noindex to be indexed, you shouldn’t ignore this issue as it can harm your SEO.
In this case, remove the page from your sitemap. Its status in the page indexing report (index coverage) will remain unchanged, but you will save your crawl budget and help Google understand your goal.
Why “exclude by noindex tag” might be bad for your SEO
If you are not sure whether your page should be excluded by the noindex tag, The worst thing you can do is not take any troubleshooting action. Then, you risk widespread negative impacts on the crawling and indexing of your website.
Let’s look at how your website’s SEO is affected by:
Limit your indexing capabilities
If you want a particular URL to rank on Google search, but it contains a noindex tag, Google will not index and rank them at all.
The decision to select indexable pages cannot be arbitrary. It should be incorporated into your website’s indexing strategy. Without it, you can easily lose track of how Googlebot handles your URLs and miss potential conflicts.
To get started with your strategy, you can use a decision tree that I posted some time ago on the official Go Start Business Twitter account.
Wasted crawl budget
Keep in mind that bots need to crawl noindexed pages to find the noindex tag in your code.
But if you have many URLs tagged with noindex, then you need to consider If you need bots to find them on your website in the long term. Consider removing your internal links to your noindexed page to limit robots’ access to it.
Also, when you include URLs marked with a noindex in your sitemap, you are asking robots to crawl them first. Whether you want these pages indexed or not, you’re wasting Google’s resources crawling URLs that can’t be indexed anyway.
As a result, it can contribute to a crawl of budget issues. Google may spend resources crawling non-indexable URLs and delay crawling your indexable pages.
“Excluded by noindex tag” is necessarily bad if you deliberately use the noindex tag to prevent some pages from being indexed.
But remember that not acting when you want excluded pages to be indexed can seriously damage your website.
The important thing is to make an informed decision Exactly what the indexing strategy should look like.
If you’re wondering which pages deserve to be indexed and what should be excluded from search, we can help.
Contact us for a comprehensive SEO audit to increase your website’s chances of being indexed.