Question: What does "google index follow" mean in SEO?


Google index follow" refers to specific directives that can be given to search engines through the use of meta tags or in a robots.txt file. These directives control how search engines should treat links on a webpage and whether they should add the pages to their index.

Understanding index and follow

In the context of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), the terms index and follow are used primarily in HTML meta tags or X-Robots-Tag HTTP headers:

  • index: This directive tells search engines that they are allowed to add the webpage to their public index.

  • follow: This directive instructs search engines to follow the links on the webpage and consider them for crawling and indexing.

For example, a typical implementation in HTML might look like this:

<meta name="robots" content="index, follow">

This is actually the default behavior for most search engines if no directive is provided. Search engines will assume that they should index the page content and follow the links on that page unless instructed otherwise.

When to Use index, follow

Using index, follow explicitly can be redundant since it's the default behavior, but there are scenarios where specifying this can be helpful:

  1. After Changing Directives: If a page was previously using noindex or nofollow, switching to index, follow makes the updated directive clear.

  2. Granular Control in Complex Sites: In large websites with multiple administrators or automated systems that generate meta tags dynamically, explicitly stating your desired behavior ensures consistency regardless of changes elsewhere in the site setup.

Other Related Directives

While index, follow deals with indexing and following links, other directives can be used to manage how search engines interact with webpages:

  • noindex: Tells search engines not to add the page to their index.

  • nofollow: Instructs search engines not to follow any links on the page.

  • noarchive: Prevents search engines from storing a cached copy of the page.

Overall, understanding these directives helps SEO professionals and webmasters control how their content is accessed and treated by search engines, which can influence site visibility and traffic.

Other Common Google SEO Questions (and Answers)

© ContentForest™ 2012 - 2024