Prevent Robot Indexing with Response Headers

By  on  

Every so often you have parts of your website that would be better off not indexed by search engines.  API calls, search result pages, PDF documents -- all examples of responses which may not have value outside of the current user.  No we all know we can signal to the search engines not to index pages using a META tag, but oftentimes service calls and documents don't get the luxury of a META tag.  Luckily you can add a header to prevent these responses from being indexed.

The header name is X-Robots-Tag should be easy to add using the server-side language you prefer.  For example, adding this header with PHP may look like:

header('X-Robots-Tag: noindex');

If you're using a Django-based python site, the could would look like:

response['X-Robots-Tag'] = 'noindex'

This header can also be set within your .htaccess or httpd configuration files:

<Files ~ "\.pdf$">
  Header set X-Robots-Tag "noindex"
</Files>

The truth is that there's no guarantee that something your server serves wont be indexed by a search engine, but small tweaks like this can ensure your search engine standing can improve and that users don't find their way to "dead" parts of your site via search engines.

Recent Features

  • By
    Responsive and Infinitely Scalable JS Animations

    Back in late 2012 it was not easy to find open source projects using requestAnimationFrame() - this is the hook that allows Javascript code to synchronize with a web browser's native paint loop. Animations using this method can run at 60 fps and deliver fantastic...

  • By
    I&#8217;m an Impostor

    This is the hardest thing I've ever had to write, much less admit to myself.  I've written resignation letters from jobs I've loved, I've ended relationships, I've failed at a host of tasks, and let myself down in my life.  All of those feelings were very...

Incredible Demos

  • By
    MooTools Typewriter Effect Plugin Upgrade

    Last week I shared my MooTools Typewriter Class with you. It was pretty well received and I got a few feature requests that I've implemented including "backspacing" and character variance delays. I'm not going to explain the old code, so click here...

  • By
    jQuery topLink Plugin

    Last week I released a snippet of code for MooTools that allowed you to fade in and out a "to the top" link on any page. Here's how to implement that functionality using jQuery. The XHTML A simple link. The CSS A little CSS for position and style. The jQuery...

Discussion

  1. Chris

    I have a big problem with spam registration on an ExpressionEngine site I help manage. Could this help? I have no development experience, fyi…

Wrap your code in <pre class="{language}"></pre> tags, link to a GitHub gist, JSFiddle fiddle, or CodePen pen to embed!