The "robots" meta tag

If your web host prohibits you from uploading "robots.txt" to the root directory, or you simply wish to restrict crawlers from a few select pages on your site, an alternative to "robots.txt" is to use the robots meta tag.

Creating your "robots" meta tag

The "robots" meta tag looks similar to any meta tag, and should be added between the HEAD section of your page(s) in question:

<meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow" />

Here's a list of the values you can specify within the "contents" attribute of this tag:

Value Description
(no)index Determines whether crawler should index this page. Possible values: "noindex" or "index"
(no)follow Determines whether crawler should follow links on this page and crawl them. Possible values: "nofollow" and "follow."

Here are a few examples:

1) This disallows both indexing and following of links by a crawler on that specific page:

<meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow" />

2) This disallows indexing of the page, but lets the crawler go on and follow/crawl links contained within it.

<meta name="robots" content="noindex,follow" />

3) This allows indexing of the page, but instructs the crawler to not crawl links contained within it:

<meta name="robots" content="index,nofollow" />

4) Finally, there is a shorthand way of declaring 1) above (don't index nor follow links on page):

<meta name="robots" content="none">

Useful Links on "robots.txt"

To conclude this tutorial, here are some useful resources on "robots.txt" on the web. Enjoy!