Definition of “index” Meta Tag

The index HTML meta tag, contrary to the noindex directive, is an instruction to search engines that a specific web page should be included in their index and is thus eligible to appear in search engine results pages (SERPs). While it’s important to understand, it’s also worth noting that the index value is the default behavior for search engines. Let’s explore this concept further:

Definition of Index Tag

The index directive can be specified using a meta tag in the head section of a web page’s HTML code. It tells search engine bots that the particular page should be indexed. However, since indexing is the default behavior for search engines, the index tag is rarely used explicitly.

Example of the Index Tag

If you still want to include it, the index tag can be implemented in the HTML code like this:

<meta name="robots" content="index">

Reasons to Use the Index Tag

While generally unnecessary due to its default status, there might be specific cases where an index tag could be used:

  1. Reverting a Noindex Directive: If a page was previously marked with a noindex tag and you wish to ensure that it’s clear to search engines that the page should now be indexed, you might include an index tag.
  2. Clarification in Complex Scenarios: In intricate setups with multiple meta tags or varying directives for different search engines, explicitly including an index tag might help to clarify your intentions.

Combining with Other Directives

The index tag can be combined with other directives such as follow or nofollow to control how search engine bots interact with links on the page. For example:

<meta name="robots" content="index, follow">

This tells search engine bots to index the page and follow the links found on it.


The index tag informs search engines that a page should be indexed, but since this is the default behavior, the tag is typically unnecessary. However, understanding its function and how it contrasts with the noindex tag can still be valuable in the nuanced world of technical SEO. By having full control over the indexing of your web pages, you can guide search engines to present the most relevant and valuable content to users, aligning with your site’s structure and goals. Whether working on SEO copy or site management, knowing how to manage indexing can contribute to the overall success of a website.

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