Ranking within the first few pages of search engine results is a dream come true for most website owners, as visitors will be more likely to discover your content. Ultimately, this distinguishes your brand from the competition. However, there are times when you might want to hide your site from Google and other search engines completely.
Whether it’s specific pages or an entire website, here’s how to keep Google from displaying your site until you’re ready to show it to visitors.
Google and other search engines scan and index your website’s content to determine what it’s all about. This is how search engines rank specific pages within its search results. However, you can prevent Google from indexing certain pages of your website. This is something you might choose to do in the following situations.
- You’re collecting contact information through gated offerings: According to OptinMonster, gated content can be used to encourage your target audience to provide you with their contact information. If Google indexes your gated content page, visitors may be able to bypass it, skipping the section where you ask them to submit contact information through a form. This makes your content accessible to any audience, and you won’t receive anything in return.
- You’re running an advertising campaign: Imagine that you purchase an online ad that, once clicked on, redirects to a specific landing page. Your goal is to monitor how many new customers the ad attracts. If Google indexes the landing page itself, site visitors will be able to access it directly from their search results. This will make it all the more difficult for you to track how effective the ad was.
- Your site isn’t ready: You might want to hide content from search engines if parts of your website aren’t ready to be shared with the public, or if a certain page doesn’t serve a purpose other than welcoming visitors or thanking customers for their purchases.
The proper way to hide your site from search engines like Google will depend on the WordPress.com plan you have, and whether you want to hide your entire site or just one page.
1. Change your privacy settings
This is the fastest way to hide your entire site. Go to Settings, scroll down to Privacy, and select whether you want your site to be Public, Hidden, or Private. Select Hidden to prevent search engines from indexing your site altogether.
2. Use a plugin
If you’re a WordPress.com Business plan subscriber or self-hosted WordPress user, try a plugin like Yoast SEO to hide specific posts or pages. After you install the plugin, go to the post or page that you want to hide. Within the Yoast SEO section, you can prevent Google from revealing that particular post or page by selecting “No” from the “Allow search engines to show this Page in search results?” drop-down menu.
3. Use a password
You can create password-protected pages to hide specific content. Be sure to do this before your site becomes public; otherwise, Google will scan and index these pages.
4. Use a code snippet
If you don’t want to use a password, code snippets are your next best option — especially if your site is already live. To do this, go to Page Settings and add a “noindex tag” to the Code Injection area. As with the plugin method, you’ll need a self-hosted WordPress or Business plan to take advantage of this option.
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