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Is "noarchive" robots meta tag bad for SEO?

 5:43 pm on Aug 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

This originally came from Bing WMT error messages but I wonder if Google is treating it in a similar way.

I've been using "noarchive" meta tags on my content pages for about 2 years now, mostly to eliminate "cache surfing". Bing is showing an insane amount of errors in my account citing that "noarchive" robot meta tag would trigger it. Despite that AFAIK this tag should not be affecting rankings, I wonder if just the sheer number of these tags and/or resulting error messages may be construed as some negative factor about my site.

What's the modern circa '13 thinking about <meta name="robots" content="noarchive"> ? Do you guys use it? Why? Why not?



 6:45 pm on Aug 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have it on all my sites and all my client sites, because there is no good reason to show cached pages for things like events, products with prices, etc.

I don't believe it's hurt anything (and I'm not seeing errors in my BWT.)


 6:51 pm on Aug 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

If you are using noarchive, make sure you are keeping a good backup of your pages / database because if something goes wrong, the cached pages are one of ways to get the lost page content (that is, if you are fast enough and the page has not been re-cached yet)


 7:23 pm on Aug 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have used it for years, only because I don't see the benefit to *me* of having my pages cached by Google.

Worst case scenario, my visitors see information / data that is no longer relevant or true.

Best case scenario...well..I can't really think of one.

Robert Charlton

 8:29 pm on Aug 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

Way back, "noarchive" was considered to be a tip-off to Google that you might be cloaking.

I have, up until a few years ago anyway, which is the last time I happened to check, discovered sites that were either cloaking or aggressively using "noscript" areas for optimization by looking at the Google cache, so deception is not/(was not) completely dead.

That said, I doubt very much that "noarchive" hurts you with Google. There are too many valid reasons to use it. If you were cloaking, I could argue it both ways, as your competitors might spot you before Google does.


 9:43 pm on Aug 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks, Robert. Yes, I was kind of thinking along those lines as a justification for Bing to be adding these into the list of errors. I added the robots meta tag because, like Sand said, I could not see why I would allow cached pages of my site to exist anywhere beyond my control. Besides, many are dynamic pages that make no technical sense to be cached anyhow. So, I guess I should chuck that up to BWT weirdness rather than a general SEO issue.

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