High This Hint is very important, and definitely warrants attention. Issue This Hint represents an error or problem that needs to be fixed.

Noindex URL received organic search traffic

This means that the URL in question is noindex, yet received organic search traffic, per the connected Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts.

Why is this important?

If a URL is noindex then a specific instruction has been given to search engines to NOT index the page. Yet since URLs need to be indexed in order to receive organic search traffic, this implies that search engines may be ignoring the robots directive.

What does the Hint check?

This Hint will trigger for any internal URL that is noindex, but which recorded some clicks in Search Analytics, and/or some visits in Google Analytics.

This data was collected from Google Search Console and Google Analytics, via API, for the connected Property/View, and for the specified date range.

Examples that trigger this Hint:

Consider the URL: https://example.com/page-a, which has registered some search traffic.

The Hint would trigger for this URL if it had a noindex in either the <head> or the HTTP header (or both):

Meta noindex in the <head>,

<!doctype html>
<html lang="en">
<meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow">

OR in the HTTP header:

HTTP/... 200 OK
X-Robots-Tag: noindex

How do you resolve this issue?

Before jumping to any conclusions, it is worth remembering that the traffic data collected is historical, yet the crawl was done in real time - so it might be the case that this URL used to be indexable, and is now noindex.

Assuming this is not the case, then you would need to understand why a noindex URL is appearing in the search index (which it must do to get traffic), when the deliberate instruction is for it to not be indexed.

There might be a number of reasons why a noindex URL is still in the index:

  • The URL has also been disallowed in robots.txt, so Google cannot crawl the URL to see that it is noindex(!)
  • Other URLs are redirected to the noindex URL.
  • Other URLs are canonicalized to the noindex URL.
  • The noindex URL is buried deep in the site architecture, and Google has not yet recrawled it.

Typically, Google is very good at removing noindex URLs from the index, but if any of the factors above are in play, this may cause it to be delayed.

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