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
    5 More HTML5 APIs You Didn&#8217;t Know Existed

    The HTML5 revolution has provided us some awesome JavaScript and HTML APIs.  Some are APIs we knew we've needed for years, others are cutting edge mobile and desktop helpers.  Regardless of API strength or purpose, anything to help us better do our job is a...

  • By
    Create a CSS Flipping Animation

    CSS animations are a lot of fun; the beauty of them is that through many simple properties, you can create anything from an elegant fade in to a WTF-Pixar-would-be-proud effect. One CSS effect somewhere in between is the CSS flip effect, whereby there's...

Incredible Demos

  • By
    CSS Rounded Corners

    The ability to create rounded corners with CSS opens the possibility of subtle design improvements without the need to include images.  CSS rounded corners thus save us time in creating images and requests to the server.  Today, rounded corners with CSS are supported by all of...

  • By
    MooTools 1.2 Image Protector: dwProtector

    Image protection is a hot topic on the net these days, and why shouldn't it be? If you spent two hours designing an awesome graphic, would you want it ripped of in matter of seconds? Hell no! That's why I've created an image...

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!