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.

Raygun Pulse

Recent Features

  • By
    7 Essential JavaScript Functions

    I remember the early days of JavaScript where you needed a simple function for just about everything because the browser vendors implemented features differently, and not just edge features, basic features, like addEventListener and attachEvent.  Times have changed but there are still a few functions each developer should...

  • By
    9 More Mind-Blowing WebGL Demos

    With Firefox OS, asm.js, and the push for browser performance improvements, canvas and WebGL technologies are opening a world of possibilities.  I featured 9 Mind-Blowing Canvas Demos and then took it up a level with 9 Mind-Blowing WebGL Demos, but I want to outdo...

Incredible Demos

  • By
    Rotate Elements with CSS Transformations

    I've gone on a million rants about the lack of progress with CSS and how I'm happy that both JavaScript and browser-specific CSS have tried to push web design forward. One of those browser-specific CSS properties we love is CSS transformations. CSS transformations...

  • By
    Facebook Open Graph META Tags

    It's no secret that Facebook has become a major traffic driver for all types of websites.  Nowadays even large corporations steer consumers toward their Facebook pages instead of the corporate websites directly.  And of course there are Facebook "Like" and "Recommend" widgets on every website.  One...

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!