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Ever accidentally "noindex" your site
And how long did it take to recover

 9:30 pm on Mar 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

As I mentioned in a thread I started in the Google forum, I accidentally put "noindex" instead of "index" in the robots tags on nearly all of the 1700+ pages on my site.

I was wondering why traffic had been dropping the last few days, then panicked when I found that my previously excellent rankings for hundreds of search terms had disappeared, and that most of my site was no longer in Google's index. (Haven't checked Yahoo or MSN yet).

Has anyone else ever done a boneheaded thing like this and, if so, how long did it take for you to recover your rankings?

I'd sure hate to lose 3+ years of work.



 11:02 pm on Mar 15, 2008 (gmt 0)

My experience is that "noindex" is quite harmless when it comes to ranking. As soon as you change it to "index", the pages should pop up at nearly the same positions in the SERPs as where they were. It is another story when you used also "nofollow". Nofollow alters the flow of pagerank and nofollow can therefore affect rankings of linked-to pages in a negative way.

[edited by: phranque at 1:52 am (utc) on Mar. 16, 2008]
[edit reason] spelling [/edit]


 6:23 pm on Mar 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

Geez, well I've forgotten to put that on some pages before... not nice at all.. especially since search engines like google are so slow to update there cache, I had to go back and change the pages all around.

But yeah... after you've changed it to index just give it some time and eventually the hits will return lol


 3:49 am on Mar 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

Well, my pages are coming back. Some are at their original positions, some are still first-page but down a couple of spots.

These are the main pages, such as Acme Widgets. What I can't tell yet is what effect the noindex had on the sub-pages, such as Acme model XYZ widget. I'll have to wait until this all shakes out and then run a ranking report.

Thanks for the supportive replies.


 8:58 pm on Mar 19, 2008 (gmt 0)

Pages with a meta noindex tag are still fetched and cached by Google.

The pages do accumulate PageRank and the links on the pages are followed out.

Once the tag is removed, the pages usually reappear in the index very quickly.

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