Google explains how to hide a website from search results: –
- Google goes over three ways a website can be hidden from search results, and they should be used depending on the situation.
- Google is one of the best ways to hide a website from search results with a password, but there are other options that can be considered.
- This topic is featured in the latest instalment of the Ask Googlebot YouTube video series.
There are three ways to hide a website from search results:
- Use a password
- Tracking lock
- Block indexing
- Websites can choose not to be fully indexed or they can be indexed and hidden from Googlebot by using a password.
- Blocking content from Googlebot is not against webmaster guidelines, as long as it is blocked from users at the same time.
- For example, if the site is password protected when crawled by Googlebot, it must also be password protected for users.
- Alternatively, the site must have directives to prevent Googlebot from crawling or indexing the site.
- Where one can have problems is if the website offers different content to the Googlebot than to the users.
- This is called a “cover-up” and it is against Google guidelines.
- With that distinction made, these are the correct ways to hide content from search engines.
3 ways to hide content from search engines
1. Password protection:
- Locking a website with a password is often the best approach is to keep the site private.
- A password will ensure that neither search engines nor random web users can see your content.
- This is a common practice for developing websites. Publishing the website live is an easy way to share the work in progress with clients, while also preventing Google from accessing a website that is not yet ready to be seen.
2. Tracking lock:
- Another way to prevent the Googlebot from accessing the site is by blocking crawling.
- This is done with the robots.txt file.
- With this method, people can access the site with a direct link, but it will not be detected by search engines that are “well behaved”.
3. Block indexing:
- The third and final option is to block website indexing.
- Add a noindex robots meta tag to pages.
- A noindex tag tells search engines not to index that page until after they crawl it.
- Users don’t see the meta tag and can still access the page normally.