Google Says The Noindex Meta Tag Can Result In Crawling Issues
Most businesses and SEO optimisation companies use the noindex meta tag on pages with products that are currently out of stock. John Mueller from Google answered a question about this concern and gave feedback on how it can cause issues when ranking for Google’s results pages. For this reason, webmasters and providers of SEO optimisation services should learn the effects of the noindex meta tag on their websites.
First, SEOs must know the definition of the robots meta tag. A website uses the robots meta tag to tell search engines like Google to avoid indexing their web page. “Indexing” a web page means that it will be added unto the list of pages that are displayed in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Moreover, the robots meta tag is a directive code, which means that search engines are expected to obey them. This means that if a page is excluded from the index, then people will never see that particular page in the SERPs.
An SEO asked John Mueller about the use of the noindex meta tag in web pages with products that are not available for sale.
The person who asked the question said that they update their meta robots regularly – including index and noindex. When a product is not available for sale, they use the noindex meta tag to hide the web page from Google.
After a few days, the products returned in stock, and so the team had marked the web pages as “index”. This means that they want Google to start displaying the web page again in the SERPs.
However, they did not see any improvements on the submitted URLs marked noindex.
John Mueller replied to their question by explaining how Google deals with meta noindex tag. He said that the sudden changing of indexed to non-indexed web pages could be problematic. When Google sees that a web page has been noindexed for a long time, they assume that it is somehow similar to a 404 page, and they do not need to crawl it regularly.
So no matter what site map file a business or a website owner submits for their web page, the fact that Google sees it as noindex means they will not crawl them as much as before. This only makes changing to the noindex meta tag counterproductive.
SEOs who have “out of stock” products can do something else about their web pages. Here are some different ways of handling out of stock web pages:
1. Category Pages
SEO optimisation companies and website owners who have a list that shows both in-stock and out of stock products should display items by default. The best way to present products is to show the available items first by default. At the very bottom of the list, customers can then see the out of stock products.
2. Customers Also Considered
One great way of handling out of stock product pages is showing potential buyers the section “customers also considered”. In this section, businesses show recommended products that are highly similar to the ones that they are interested in.
This allows businesses to cater to their customers’ needs, even though they do not have the exact items that their buyers are looking for.
3. In-Stock Alert
The in-stock alert button is another great idea to make customers look forward to the products that they want to buy. By clicking the button, customers can be notified once the product has returned in stock.
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