When exactly should I use the "index", "noindex", "follow", "nofollow" meta tags?

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When exactly should I use the "index", "noindex", "follow", "nofollow" meta tags?

Can you supply any examples of these meta tags:

  • noindex meta tag
  • index meta tag
  • nofollow meta tag
  • follow meta tag

Say I do not want to index a page, but have a bot follow the links, what meta tags should I use? Can anyone possibly provide all the examples of when to use these tags, and when to not use the tags? Also, there is some websites that do not contain any meta tags related to following, or indexing of content, why? Would using no tags effect your website's SEO negatively, or would the end result still be the same?


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I've never actually used the "follow" and "index" meta tags as these are the default. As for "noindex" you should use this on pages that have duplicate content. For example, if you have an blog post and then you have a printer friendly version of the blog post, this is duplicate content. You can noindex the printer version and you should also insert a canonical tag back to the non-printer friendly version. Another place they are often used is on tag pages (when you click on a tag and see a listing of content that is also available elsewhere).

The nofollow tag is typically used on links, in the HREF tag but can be used page wide with a meta tag. This is most often seen on pages with user generated content that includes links, although as a Meta tag it would include all links, even those on your own site (IE: navigation links, footer links, etc).

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I would think for pages like your terms and conditions, privacy policy and affiliate disclosure you would have as nofollow and noindex. I just mark it in my SEO plugin to not be indexed.

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