This article will explain how to prevent your website PDF file from getting indexed in Google, including use of the “noindex” meta tag and the X-Robots-Tag HTTP header. It will also discuss reasons for wanting to prevent indexing, such as privacy concerns and duplicate content. By the end of this article, you’ll understand how to keep your PDF files private and secure while still making them accessible to your intended audience.
Table of Contents
Here, we’ll discuss what website PDF file is, steps to prevent your website PDF file from getting indexed in Google, and why you should prevent those PDF files from getting indexed.
What is Website PDF File?
PDF (Portable Document Format) files are a popular file format for documents that are intended to be read-only and retain their original formatting across different devices and platforms. They are commonly used for e-books, brochures, manuals, and other types of documents that are meant to be shared or distributed online.
Website PDF files refer to the PDF files that are hosted on a website and can be accessed by anyone who has the link to the file. These files can be easily indexed by search engines like Google and can be found in search results if they are not properly marked as “noindex” or if they are not blocked from being crawled by the search engine bots.
Related: Website Performance Optimization
Steps to Prevent Your Website PDFs File From Getting Indexed in Google?
To prevent your website’s PDF files from getting indexed in Google, you can use the “noindex” meta tag. This tag tells search engines not to index a specific page. You can add the following code to the head section of your PDF files:
Blocking PDF through .htaccess
Add the following piece of code in your website’s .htaccess file
<Files ~ "\.pdf$"> Header set X-Robots-Tag "noindex, nofollow" </Files>
Or, to block doc file along with pdf file.
<FilesMatch ".(doc|pdf)$"> Header set X-Robots-Tag "noindex, noarchive, nosnippet" </FilesMatch>
Or, to block only doc file.
<FilesMatch ".doc$"> Header set X-Robots-Tag "noindex, noarchive, nosnippet" </FilesMatch>
Blocking PDF through php header
Add the following piece of code at the top your header or php file which serves the PDF or Doc file that you want to block from indexing.
header("X-Robots-Tag: noindex, nofollow", true);
Or, alternatively use the below piece of code.
header("X-Robots-Tag: noindex", true);
Block PDF directories through robots.txt
Simply add the below piece of code in your website’s robots.txt file. Make sure to replace /pdfs/ with your own directory name where your PDF files are there.
User-agent: * Disallow: /pdfs/
Why Should You Prevent Website PDFs File From Getting Indexed?
There are a few reasons why you may want to prevent your website’s PDF file from being indexed by search engines like Google:
1. Privacy concerns
You may have sensitive or confidential information in your PDF files that you don’t want to be publicly accessible. Preventing these files from being indexed will help keep that information private.
2. Duplicate content
If the same information contained in a PDF file is also available on your website in HTML format, it can be considered as duplicate content by search engines, which can negatively impact your website’s search rankings.
3. Reduced server load
Search engine bots crawling your website to index PDF files can put a strain on your server resources. Preventing these files from being indexed can reduce the load on your server.
4. Better organization
You might have many PDFs on your website, and you might want to control which PDFs are indexed and which aren’t. This can help users to find the relevant information they are looking for, and also prevent irrelevant PDFs from appearing in search results.
It’s important to note that preventing PDF files from being indexed by search engines doesn’t mean that they can’t be accessed by anyone who has the direct link to them. It just means that they won’t show up in search results.
Preventing your website PDF files from getting indexed in Google can be done by using the “noindex” meta tag, blocking access to the PDF files in your robots.txt file, and using the “Disallow” directive in your robots.txt file. Additionally, using password protection and limiting the number of PDF files on your website can also help to prevent them from getting indexed in Google.
It’s important to note that while preventing your PDF files from getting indexed in Google can help to improve your website’s SEO, it may also limit the visibility and accessibility of those files to users. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider the potential impact on both SEO and user experience before implementing these preventative measures.