The key aspect of SEO (search engine optimization) is to ensure that your website is indexed properly by search engines and ranks high. Yet, there are legitimate reasons why you may want some of your pages not to be listed in the search. Luckily, there are mechanisms which can help you to block content from the indexation. These mechanisms are called robots exclusion standard. The ways to use it depend on the type of content you need to exclude. Here is the list of five major reasons to block content from search engines.
1. Websites and pages under development
Websites and pages can take some time to develop and update. Often you may need to share the website progress with others while you still work on it. In this case, the best way is to create a staging or a development copy of your website and make all changes in this copy before you are ready to make them go live. Since such a website is incomplete and content can be the same or similar to your live site, you don’t want your clients to access it. So, hiding the development copy is a must.
2. Private Content
If the content is of a private nature and you don’t want search engines to index it, you can block it out. For example, you don’t want to index pages which are accessible with the link you sent to your registered customers or referrals. Even if you are blocking your content from search engines, you cannot prevent unauthorized webpage access from other sources. If this content is really sensitive, you not only need to block it from the search engines, but use authentication scheme to block it from the unauthorized access as well.
3. Dynamic Content
If you have pages that are changing over time, you might not want an obsolete copy to be displayed in search. It takes time for the search engines to index and update in their database the content of the web page. Dynamic website pages should be excluded from the indexation with the help of the robots exclusion standard.
4. Purposefully Duplicate Content
In our previous articles, we explained why it is important to have original content and what tools to use to make sure that it is not duplicate. However, there are situations when you need to have the same content on several pages of your website or even add blocks of content from another website. If you don’t want to run into a trouble with duplicate content issues, it is better to block this content from search engines. Of course, there is a legitimate way to tell the search engine that your content is a duplicate from the ‘more official’ source. In this case, you need to use <link rel="canonical" /> tag. If you still don’t want your duplicate page to rank, use robots exclusion standard for that matter.
5. Landing pages for Ads
In case if you are running PPC advertising, email newsletters, print, offline or even television advertisement campaign, you may need to send visitors to the particular page of your website or even a separate page. This page is called a landing page. In many cases, the content of this page may be similar to your website content or match only particular advertising (for example giving visitors exclusive discount or feature). Therefore, you may want to ensure that only targeted via advertisement audience will have access to it. In this case, you need to use the robots exclusion standard to block search engines from indexing these landing pages as well. If you need help with your website content and exclusions, feel free to sign up for our SEO package and get a FREE audit of your online presence from WiserBrand team.