Aqueous Digital

What are robot meta tags?


Have you heard the term ‘robot meta tag’ while optimising your website for search engines?

If you’d like to learn more about the definition and purpose of robot meta tags and whether you should be using them as part of your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) strategy, simply carry on reading.

Below, we explain whether these meta tags are necessary and how you can use them.


What is a robot meta tag?

Also known as robot meta directives, a robot meta tag is a snippet of HTML (HyperText Markup Language) code that instructs search engine robots.

It tells these web-crawling search engine robots what they can and cannot do to a HTML page. These snippets of information can be found in the ‘<head>’ section of a webpage.


Purpose of robot meta tags

The purpose of robot meta tags is to control how these search engines crawl and index page information. It also affects how that page is displayed in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Another use for robot meta tags is to show search engine robots which links should be followed and which should be ignored.


Robot meta tags explained

The robot meta tag is just one example of the meta tags that Google and other search engines can read.

A meta tag is simply a snippet of this code that provides data about data (meta data), providing information about the page content including the title, description, author, publish date, location, and more.

The robot meta tag provides information about which links should be followed and/or not followed and which webpages should be crawled and/or not crawled.

While there are a range of robot meta tags recognised by Google, there are four main functions of the robot meta tag: follow, nofollow, index, and noindex.

  • Follow – Instructs the search engine to follow webpage links
  • Nofollow – Instructs the search to not follow webpage links
  • Index – Instructs the search engine to index the webpage
  • Noindex – Instructs the search engine to not index the webpage

A typical robot meta tag is inserted into the ‘<head>’ section of a webpage and looks like this;

‘<meta name =”robots” content=”index”>’

In this example, the robot meta tag is instructing the search engine to index the webpage.


Do I need robot meta tags?

While a robot meta tag may not be necessary for every website, it is a useful tool to have available.

Without a robot meta tag instructing the search engine crawlers, the page will automatically be indexed and followed, meaning the page will be able to be found in SERPs and all links will be followed.

However, most website have a login page that they (and their employees) will use to access the backend or administration part of the website.

Typically, they will use the ‘noindex’ robot meta tag on this webpage to prevent search engines from indexing it.

As a result, this will prevent the page from appearing in the SERPs where non-staff online users can access it and attempt to gain access to the backend of the website and threaten site security.

Another reason for using this meta tag is in the case of very similar products.

If they differ by only one small factor, search engines could flag these pages as having duplicate content.

Alternatively, the page they don’t want Google to index could be of little value, unfinished, or breach Google’s guidelines in another way.


How to use robot meta tags for SEO

Robot meta tags should be used responsibly for SEO purposes and shouldn’t be solely used to hide poor content.

Ideally, this content should be original, useful, and optimised, instead of simply being hidden from search engines.

You can learn more about each robot meta tag and how to use them for SEO purposes by referring to Google’s Search Central documentation.

Contact SEO experts at Aqueous Digital

Eager to learn more about robot meta tags and how they affect SEO?

Simply get in touch with the team of experienced SEO specialists at Aqueous Digital. An award-winning agency based in the North West of the UK, we support businesses across the country including those in Sheffield with their SEO and marketing requirements.

Specialising in paid and organic SEO, reputation management for high-net-worth individuals, and content strategies, we offer a wide range of SEO services.

To discuss your business goals and how we can help with a member of our team, please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 0800 285 1424.

You can also send in your enquiry by emailing our team at or filling in and submitting our convenient online contact form.

However you decide to get in touch, upon receiving your enquiry, we’ll ensure one of our expert SEO specialists get in contact soon to arrange your free, no-obligation consultation.




Further reading on SEO

Why pillar pages are the foundations of a successful content strategy

How to conduct a thorough digital marketing audit of your website

Why digital marketing is important to business owners

Digital marketing trends to get ahead of the curve

Short-form vs. long-form content: Which is better for your website?

Digital marketing channels: Which one should you choose?

Content Optimisation: How to improve existing content on your website

How AI is becoming more prominent in digital marketing

How to create a results-driven digital marketing campaign

SEO for YouTube: How to optimise YouTube videos for search

How to boost your website’s domain authority

What is Evergreen Content and why does it matter for SEO?

Why we build backlinks to your website

How to develop a content strategy for SEO

Content is King. What is content marketing?

Creating great content: How to write for SEO

How digital marketing has changed over the years

How video content can elevate your website

Top 20 Facts about Manchester You Never Knew

SEO for Manchester Companies

Aqueous Digital’s Ultimate Guide to the cost of SEO in the UK

Aqueous Digital’s Guide to the Top 501 SEO and Digital Marketing Terms

How video content can elevate your business

How long does SEO take to work?

Beginners Guide To SEO

What is Technical SEO?

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