Make Multiple Posts Noindex and Nofollow In WordPress

by Rohit Khurana on April 27, 2012


There are millions of bloggers using WordPress and many of them blog professionally, which means they make money out of their blogs by running ads, affiliate programs or selling products or services. Search engine optimization is an important element to get good traffic on any website by making good quality websites which can be indexed properly on search engines and bring readers from the search engines to such websites. Recent Google Panda and Penguin updates (Google search engine algorithm changes) have affected many websites and WordPress blogs with too much content but low overall quality of content. The problem arises because of some common reasons especially with old WordPress blogs because they have been around for long time and may have created some post way back which may not hold any relevance with time. For example a post on some discount offer posted 4 years back on a wordpress blog may not have any relevance, this is just one example, there may be many more like some old news article or some other not so relevant articles. To improve the ranking of a website on search engines, it is important to get rid of irrelevant stuff from the index of search engines. There are two ways to do so:

  1. Remove the content (posts) by moving them to trash or unpublishing  them in WordPress
  2. Keeping them on blog but removing them from search engine index

Many bloggers may not want to go for the first options as some of the content or posts may not be very popular with the search engine but may be useful for the blog or website for some reasons. In this article, I will share an easy to follow method with you with which you can remove multiple posts from the search engine’s index by adding noindex and nofollow meta tags to multiple articles.

There are multiple ways to add Noindex and Nofollow tags to wordpress ports, but in this article we will restrict to a few common wordpress plugins. For one such popular plugin known as the “Robots Meta” which helps to ass noindex and nofollow tags to any of the wordpress posts very conveniently. After you install this plugin on your wordpress blog, it will simply add a small options box on the post editing screen on the bottom right hand side corner of wordpress.


Add Noindex and Nofollow Tags To One or Multiple Posts At Once

If you have a few posts where you want add noindex and nofollow tags, you can manually edit each of these posts, change it and update the post which will add noindex and nofollow tags to them, but if you have a self hosted blog which has thousands of articles and you want to add these tags to multiple articles at once, there is a way to do that too as shared by our fellow blogger Sandeep from Blogsdna. I will be sharing the same with you in this article here below, just follow these steps.

Step 1: Identify the post ids of the posts to remove from search engine index


To identify the posts which have lean content or not so relevant search engine content, you can browse through the posts pages on your wordpress posts page. When you hoover your mouse pointer over a post, you will see a permalink with post id, you can not down such posts ids in a notepad or excel file. Typically, wordpress will show about 20 posts on one page in the wordpress dashboard, so if you browser through these pages and can identify using the titles only which content you want to keep in the index and which not, then this task should take much less time compared to manually opening each posts and checking it (considering that some of you may have hundreds or thousands of them). For example in below snapshot, when we hover the mouse over a post on our wordpress website, it shows the post id of this post as 4847, so if I want to add the tags to this post, I will not down this post id on a notepad or excel file. These ids will be used later.

Get posts ids to make noindex and nofollow

Step 2: Take Database Backup Of Your WordPress Blog

This step is extremely important and MUST NOT be be skipped. The reason why which is important is that this method involves modifications in the database to add multiple entries in the plugin, so you must backup your wordpress database before you process further. If you don’t know how to take wordpress database, backup, you can search for some additional resources on Internet or contact your web hosting provider for procedure or help. The backup is taken so that if something goes wrong in step 3, the previous database can be restored with the backup.

Step 3: Running the SQL Query To add tags to multiple posts

In this step, we add options for the Robots Meta Plugin post ids saved in step 1. To do the same, make a comma separated list of the post IDs. Open the PHPMYADIM Panel for your wordpress blog. Go to the database from the database list. Click on the SQL tab on the selected database and run the SQL Query listed below. NOTE : Make sure that you replace the post IDS in the below query (highlighted in red colour) with the comma separated list of post IDS in the query below:

UPDATE wp_posts SET robotsmeta = ‘noindex,nofollow’ WHERE ID IN (18455,18449,18443)

make multiple posts noindex and nofollow

After pasting the query in the text box, click on Go button and this will add noindex and nofollow tag to multiple posts (with post ids in the query) in one go. Such posts will be gradually removed from the search engine’s index but will continue to exist on your wordpress blog. This may improve your website ranking as per the opinion of many SEO consultants, however we do not take any guarantee of the results it will have on your website as it is beyond prediction. So follow this tutorial only if you are sure you want to do this and do it on your own risk. I have done it on one of my wordpress blogs in the past week and I am yet to see any changes as search engines may take a few weeks to refresh the complete index, but I will share the results in the comments when I see any change.

You can also remove the articles by entering each URL from Google’s index by following options in Google Webmaster’s options, but it may take long time to do, but you have that option open too.

You can check out some more WordPress Tips and Tutorials by TroubleFixers here.

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