If you’re a marketer or SEO, you likely already know about the importance of title tags and meta descriptions to help improve your rankings. But as with most things in marketing, going a little further can reap much better results.
While most marketers stop at title tags, using advanced meta tags can help you communicate to Google which landing pages on your websites are most important and, in the process, improve your rankings.
In this article, I’ll share four advanced HTML tags that can help you improve the rankings of your most valuable and highest-converting pages.
The meta robots tag gives site owners control over whether Googlebot crawls and indexes their pages. Site owners can use robots directives to give Googlebot specific crawling and indexing instructions. The primary robots directives include:
- “index, follow”: Tells Googlebot to crawl and index the page normally
- “index, nofollow”: Tells Googlebot to index the page but to ignore the links on the page
- “noindex, nofollow”: Tells Googlebot not to index the page or follow the links on the page
Here is an example of a robots tag with the “index, follow” directive.
Many site owners default to “index, follow” on every web page of their site thinking they can only benefit from Google crawling all of them. But not all of our web pages need to rank. If there’s a page with low quality or out of date content, it’s unlikely to convert visitors and can hurt your reputation according to Google and other search engines.
Adding nofollow, is a proactive approach to ensuring pages that aren’t high quality aren’t seen or discovered naturally through search.
Here are some examples of when you might want to add the robots “noindex, nofollow” meta tag to specific pages on your site.
- When the page is unimportant or has thin content (and therefore is unlikely to rank well.)
- For product pages that are seasonal, have low inventory, or out-of-stock items.
- Enterprise sites that have limited crawl budget and need to ensure their higher-converting pages are crawled and indexed.
- When the page lacks conversion potential (e.g. admin pages, login pages, confirmation pages, etc.)
Consider performing a site wide content audit, and adding “noindex, nofollow” to pages that fall under the above criteria.
How to add the robots tag
There are two ways to harness the power of robots tags to guide search engine crawlers to your most important pages:
By adding robots meta tags to individual pages or creating and uploading a robots.txt file.
The first is most useful if you want to add robots tags to single pages.
Here’s how to do it.
If you’re using a popular CMS like WordPress or Wix, there are plugins that make it easy to specify your preferred directive on the frontend without having to even look at a single line of code. That said, if you have dev resources you can have them help you out as well. If you’re short on team resources and not…