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Google Search Console has just reported me that my page is not being indexed, because noindex tag has been found. Upon closer investigation I found it in the search results page:

<title>Search Results for &#8220;phonegap&#8221; &#8211; onezeronull.com</title>
<meta name='robots' content='noindex, follow, max-image-preview:large' />

I have both corresponding configuration setting unchecked in Settings → Reading:

enter image description here

And none of my themes contains anything related to noindex:

enter image description here

And among my plugins the noindex tag is added only by Jetpack and only for "Share this" screen or for iframe-embed pages. So nothing around search results. It seems that this must be added by Wordpress itself.

My question is, if I can do something with it (i.e. turn adding this tag off) or should I rather learn to live with the fact that search results pages are not indexed by Google (or other crawlers) due to this tag.

1 Answer 1

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For technical SEO reasons, it's best to noindex internal search results generated by WordPress. This is because it's almost always considered detrimental to the search engine experience... having "search results" appear in Google search results is something they have discouraged.

By default, WordPress Core follows this best practice:

https://wordpress.org/support/topic/how-do-i-add-noindex-nofollow-to-all-search-results-pages/

So, best practice is to ignore that warning in GSC, but you might review your sitemaps and internal linking (etc) to ensure you're not overly encouraging crawling of those search pages.

To make matters more confusing, I have seen WooCommerce sites that only partially noindex search results in the case of complex search parameters, e.g.:

## noindex meta tag exists ##
https://example.com/?s=flowers

## noindex meta tag missing ##
https://example.com/?s=flowers&post_type=product

This is why in SlickStack we now force-noindex any URLs that begin with /?s= using Nginx rules, because it's a bit unpredictable trying to manage these inconsistencies using PHP-level solutions. Plus, sometimes WordPress plugins can inadvertently conflict with the meta tags.

Ref: https://slickstack.io/forum/topic/woocommerce-not-noindexing-some-search-results

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