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Robots meta tag, data-nosnippet, and X-Robots-Tag specifications

This document details how the page- and text-level settings can be used to adjust how Google presents your content in search results. You can specify page-level settings by including a meta tag on HTML pages or in an HTTP header. You can specify text-level settings with the data-nosnippet attribute on HTML elements within a page.

Keep in mind that these settings can be read and followed only if crawlers are allowed to access the pages that include these settings.

The <meta name="robots" content="noindex"> rule applies to search engine crawlers. To block non-search crawlers, such as AdsBot-Google, you might need to add rules targeted to the specific crawler (for example, <meta name="AdsBot-Google" content="noindex">).

Using the robots meta tag

The robots meta tag lets you utilize a granular, page-specific approach to controlling how an individual page should be indexed and served to users in Google Search results. Place the robots meta tag in the <head> section of a given page, like this:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<meta name="robots" content="noindex">

In this example, the robots meta tag instructs search engines not to show the page in search results. The value of the name attribute (robots) specifies that the rule applies to all crawlers. To address a specific crawler, replace the robots value of the name attribute with the name of the crawler that you are addressing. Specific crawlers are also known as user agents (a crawler uses its user agent to request a page.) Google's standard web crawler has the user agent name Googlebot. To prevent only Google from indexing your page, update the tag as follows:

<meta name="googlebot" content="noindex">

This tag now instructs Google specifically not to show this page in its search results. Both the name and the content attributes are non-case sensitive.

Search engines may have different crawlers for different purposes. See the complete list of Google's crawlers. For example, to show a page in Google's web search results, but not in Google News, use the following meta tag:

<meta name="googlebot-news" content="noindex">

To specify multiple crawlers individually, use multiple robots meta tags:

<meta name="googlebot" content="noindex">
<meta name="googlebot-news" content="nosnippet">

To block indexing of non-HTML resources, such as PDF files, video files, or image files, use the X-Robots-Tag response header instead.

Using the X-Robots-Tag HTTP header

The X-Robots-Tag can be used as an element of the HTTP header response for a given URL. Any rule that can be used in a robots meta tag can also be specified as an X-Robots-Tag. Here's an example of an HTTP response with an X-Robots-Tag instructing crawlers not to index a page:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Tue, 25 May 2010 21:42:43 GMT
X-Robots-Tag: noindex

Multiple X-Robots-Tag headers can be combined within the HTTP response, or you can specify a comma-separated list of rules. Here's an example of an HTTP header response which has a noarchive X-Robots-Tag combined with an unavailable_after X-Robots-Tag.

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Tue, 25 May 2010 21:42:43 GMT
X-Robots-Tag: noarchive
X-Robots-Tag: unavailable_after: 25 Jun 2010 15:00:00 PST

The X-Robots-Tag may optionally specify a user agent before the rules. For instance, the following set of X-Robots-Tag HTTP headers can be used to conditionally allow showing of a page in search results for different search engines:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Tue, 25 May 2010 21:42:43 GMT
X-Robots-Tag: googlebot: nofollow
X-Robots-Tag: otherbot: noindex, nofollow

Rules specified without a user agent are valid for all crawlers. The HTTP header, the user agent name, and the specified values are not case sensitive.

Valid indexing and serving rules

The following rules, also available in machine-readable format, can be used to control indexing and serving of a snippet with the robots meta tag and the X-Robots-Tag. Each value represents a specific rule. Multiple rules may be combined in a comma-separated list or in separate meta tags. These rules are case-insensitive.



There are no restrictions for indexing or serving. This rule is the default value and has no effect if explicitly listed.


Do not show this page, media, or resource in search results. If you don't specify this rule, the page, media, or resource may be indexed and shown in search results.

To remove information from Google, follow our step-by-step guide.


Do not follow the links on this page. If you don't specify this rule, Google may use the links on the page to discover those linked pages. Learn more about nofollow.


Equivalent to noindex, nofollow.


Do not show a cached link in search results. If you don't specify this rule, Google may generate a cached page and users may access it through the search results.


Do not show a sitelinks search box in the search results for this page. If you don't specify this rule, Google may generate a search box specific to your site in search results, along with other direct links to your site.


Do not show a text snippet or video preview in the search results for this page. A static image thumbnail (if available) may still be visible, when it results in a better user experience. This applies to all forms of search results (at Google: web search, Google Images, Discover).

If you don't specify this rule, Google may generate a text snippet and video preview based on information found on the page.


Google is allowed to index the content of a page if it's embedded in another page through iframes or similar HTML tags, in spite of a noindex rule.

indexifembedded only has an effect if it's accompanied by noindex.

max-snippet: [number]

Use a maximum of [number] characters as a textual snippet for this search result. (Note that a URL may appear as multiple search results within a search results page.) This does not affect image or video previews. This applies to all forms of search results (such as Google web search, Google Images, Discover, Assistant). However, this limit does not apply in cases where a publisher has separately granted permission for use of content. For instance, if the publisher supplies content in the form of in-page structured data or has a license agreement with Google, this setting does not interrupt those more specific permitted uses. This rule is ignored if no parseable [number] is specified.

If you don't specify this rule, Google will choose the length of the snippet.

Special values:

  • 0: No snippet is to be shown. Equivalent to nosnippet.
  • -1: Google will choose the snippet length that it believes is most effective to help users discover your content and direct users to your site.


To stop a snippet from displaying in search results:

<meta name="robots" content="max-snippet:0">

To allow up to 20 characters to be shown in the snippet:

<meta name="robots" content="max-snippet:20">

To specify that there's no limit on the number of characters that can be shown in the snippet:

<meta name="robots" content="max-snippet:-1">

max-image-preview: [setting]

Set the maximum size of an image preview for this page in a search results.

If you don't specify the max-image-preview rule, Google may show an image preview of the default size.

Accepted [setting] values:

  • none: No image preview is to be shown.
  • standard: A default image preview may be shown.
  • large: A larger image preview, up to the width of the viewport, may be shown.

This applies to all forms of search results (such as Google web search, Google Images, Discover, Assistant). However, this limit does not apply in cases where a publisher has separately granted permission for use of content. For instance, if the publisher supplies content in the form of in-page structured data (such as AMP and canonical versions of an article) or has a license agreement with Google, this setting will not interrupt those more specific permitted uses.

If you don't want Google to use larger thumbnail images when their AMP pages and canonical version of an article are shown in Search or Discover, specify a max-image-preview value of standard or none.


<meta name="robots" content="max-image-preview:standard">

max-video-preview: [number]

Use a maximum of [number] seconds as a video snippet for videos on this page in search results.

If you don't specify the max-video-preview rule, Google may show a video snippet in search results, and you leave it up to Google to decide how long the preview may be.

Special values:

  • 0: At most, a static image may be used, in accordance to the max-image-preview setting.
  • -1: There is no limit.

This applies to all forms of search results (at Google: web search, Google Images, Google Videos, Discover, Assistant). This rule is ignored if no parseable [number] is specified.


<meta name="robots" content="max-video-preview:-1">


Don't offer translation of this page in search results. If you don't specify this rule, Google may provide a translation of the title link and snippet of a search result for results that aren't in the language of the search query. If the user clicks the translated title link, all further user interaction with the page is through Google Translate, which will automatically translate any links followed.


Do not index images on this page. If you don't specify this value, images on the page may be indexed and shown in search results.

unavailable_after: [date/time]

Do not show this page in search results after the specified date/time. The date/time must be specified in a widely adopted format including, but not limited to RFC 822, RFC 850, and ISO 8601. The rule is ignored if no valid date/time is specified. By default there is no expiration date for content.

If you don't specify this rule, this page may be shown in search results indefinitely. Googlebot will decrease the crawl rate of the URL considerably after the specified date and time.


<meta name="robots" content="unavailable_after: 2020-09-21">

Handling combined indexing and serving rules

You can create a multi-rule instruction by combining robots meta tag rules with commas or by using multiple meta tags. Here is an example of a robots meta tag that instructs web crawlers to not index the page and to not crawl any of the links on the page:

Comma-separated list

<meta name="robots" content="noindex, nofollow">

Multiple meta tags

<meta name="robots" content="noindex">
<meta name="robots" content="nofollow">

Here is an example that limits the text snippet to 20 characters, and allows a large image preview:

<meta name="robots" content="max-snippet:20, max-image-preview:large">

For situations where multiple crawlers are specified along with different rules, the search engine will use the sum of the negative rules. For example:

<meta name="robots" content="nofollow">
<meta name="googlebot" content="noindex">

The page containing these meta tags will be interpreted as having a noindex, nofollow rule when crawled by Googlebot.

Using the data-nosnippet HTML attribute

You can designate textual parts of an HTML page not to be used as a snippet. This can be done on an HTML-element level with the data-nosnippet HTML attribute on span, div, and section elements. The data-nosnippet is considered a boolean attribute. As with all boolean attributes, any value specified is ignored. To ensure machine-readability, the HTML section must be valid HTML and all appropriate tags must be closed accordingly.


<p>This text can be shown in a snippet
<span data-nosnippet>and this part would not be shown</span>.</p>

<div data-nosnippet>not in snippet</div>
<div data-nosnippet="true">also not in snippet</div>
<div data-nosnippet="false">also not in snippet</div>
<!-- all values are ignored -->

<div data-nosnippet>some text</html>
<!-- unclosed "div" will include all content afterwards -->

<mytag data-nosnippet>some text</mytag>
<!-- NOT VALID: not a span, div, or section -->

Google typically renders pages in order to index them, however rendering is not guaranteed. Because of this, extraction of data-nosnippet may happen both before and after rendering. To avoid uncertainty from rendering, do not add or remove the data-nosnippet attribute of existing nodes through JavaScript. When adding DOM elements through JavaScript, include the data-nosnippet attribute as necessary when initially adding the element to the page's DOM. If custom elements are used, wrap or render them with div, span, or section elements if you need to use data-nosnippet.

Using structured data

Robots meta tags govern the amount of content that Google extracts automatically from web pages for display as search results. But many publishers also use structured data to make specific information available for search presentation. Robots meta tag limitations don't affect the use of that structured data, with the exception of article.description and the description values for structured data specified for other creative works. To specify the maximum length of a preview based on these description values, use the max-snippet rule. For example, recipe structured data on a page is eligible for inclusion in the recipe carousel, even if the text preview would otherwise be limited. You can limit the length of a text preview with max-snippet, but that robots meta tag doesn't apply when the information is provided using structured data for rich results.

To manage the use of structured data for your web pages, modify the structured data types and values themselves, adding or removing information in order to provide only the data you want to make available. Also note that structured data remains usable for search results when declared within a data-nosnippet element.

Practical implementation of X-Robots-Tag

You can add the X-Robots-Tag to a site's HTTP responses through the configuration files of your site's web server software. For example, on Apache-based web servers you can use .htaccess and httpd.conf files. The benefit of using an X-Robots-Tag with HTTP responses is that you can specify crawling rules that are applied globally across a site. The support of regular expressions allows a high level of flexibility.

For example, to add a noindex, nofollow X-Robots-Tag to the HTTP response for all .PDF files across an entire site, add the following snippet to the site's root .htaccess file or httpd.conf file on Apache, or the site's .conf file on NGINX.


<Files ~ "\.pdf$">
  Header set X-Robots-Tag "noindex, nofollow"
location ~* \.pdf$ {
  add_header X-Robots-Tag "noindex, nofollow";


You can use the X-Robots-Tag for non-HTML files like image files where the usage of robots meta tags in HTML is not possible. Here's an example of adding a noindex X-Robots-Tag rule for images files (.png, .jpeg, .jpg, .gif) across an entire site:


<Files ~ "\.(png|jpe?g|gif)$">
  Header set X-Robots-Tag "noindex"


location ~* \.(png|jpe?g|gif)$ {
  add_header X-Robots-Tag "noindex";

You can also set the X-Robots-Tag headers for individual static files:


# the htaccess file must be placed in the directory of the matched file.
<Files "unicorn.pdf">
  Header set X-Robots-Tag "noindex, nofollow"


location = /secrets/unicorn.pdf {
  add_header X-Robots-Tag "noindex, nofollow";

Combining robots.txt rules with indexing and serving rules

robots meta tags and X-Robots-Tag HTTP headers are discovered when a URL is crawled. If a page is disallowed from crawling through the robots.txt file, then any information about indexing or serving rules will not be found and will therefore be ignored. If indexing or serving rules must be followed, the URLs containing those rules cannot be disallowed from crawling.