Written by Tiago Silva. Updated on 13, June 2023
'Excluded by noindex tag' is a Google Search Console indexing status that appears when Googlebot crawls a page with a noindex meta tag.
This means Google will not show this page in their search results or drop it as soon as possible to honour the no-index request.
This excluded status isn't an SEO problem if you put noindex tags on pages you don't want to be indexed.
This guide will help you:
Noindex tags can be placed in either the HTML header or HTTP header response.
The HTML robots meta tag usually looks like this:
meta name="robots" content="noindex"
A HTTP header response with noindex X-Robots-Tag contains the following directive:
You can use SEOTesting's Chrome extension to investigate if a page has any meta robot tags.
You should consider using noindex tags when you don't want a page indexed by Google.
Here is a list of common situations for a site owner using a noindex tag:
Open Google Search Console for the property you want to look at.
Click on Pages from the left sidebar (in the Index section).
Scroll into the "Why pages aren't indexed" section and click on 'Excluded by noindex tag'.
This will bring you the list of excluded URLs due to this status.
Noindex tags on important pages are a big no-no for SEO!
This section will help you fix those situations when you want to remove a noindex meta tag.
This problem can happen when a WordPress site is under development, but someone forgets to uncheck the "discourage search engines from indexing this site" box when the work is done.
On WordPress 5.3 (or later), this would cause WordPress to mark the pages on the site as 'noindex' and prevent them from showing up on Google.
Action required: uncheck the box and manually request the page to be crawled on Google Search Console.
The next step is to check if an SEO plugin sets pages as noindex.
Yoast and Rank Math are 2 of WordPress's most common SEO plugins, and I'll use the latter for this example.
Go to the 'Title & Meta' page and try to find the 'Robots Meta' section.
Action required: Ensure the 'Index' meta tag is checked and the 'Noindex' unchecked.
This will allow all pages to be indexed unless set individually to noindex.
Here's how to check if an individual post is set as noindex:
On Rank Math, click on 'Advanced' to reveal the 'Robots Meta'. You'll want your post to look like the screenshot for it to be indexed.
Pages can also be set to noindex with an HTTP header response.
Usually, the rules preventing the page from indexing come from the .htaccess file.
You should look into a line that looks like this:
Header set X-Robots-Tag "noindex, nofollow"
Header set X-Robots-Tag "noindex"
Action required: Remove the line with the noindex instructions from the .htaccess file after you've found it.