HTML Author's Guide to the Robots META tag
The Web Robots Pages

HTML Author's Guide
to the Robots META tag.

The Robots META tag is a simple mechanism to indicate to visiting Web Robots if a page should be indexed, or links on the page should be followed.

It differs from the Protocol for Robots Exclusion in that you need no effort or permission from your Web Server Administrator.

Note: Currently only few robots support this tag!

Where to put the Robots META tag

Like any META tag it should be placed in the HEAD section of an HTML page:
<html>
<head>
<meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow">
<meta name="description" content="This page ....">
<title>...</title>
</head>
<body>
...

What to put into the Robots META tag

The content of the Robots META tag contains directives separated by commas. The currently defined directives are [NO]INDEX and [NO]FOLLOW. The INDEX directive specifies if an indexing robot should index the page. The FOLLOW directive specifies if a robot is to follow links on the page. The defaults are INDEX and FOLLOW. The values ALL and NONE set all directives on or off: ALL=INDEX,FOLLOW and NONE=NOINDEX,NOFOLLOW.

Some examples:

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

Note the "robots" name of the tag and the content are case insensitive.

You obviously should not specify conflicting or repeating directives such as:

<meta name="robots" content="INDEX,NOINDEX,NOFOLLOW,FOLLOW,FOLLOW">

A formal syntax for the Robots META tag content is:

content    = all | none | directives
all        = "ALL"
none       = "NONE"
directives = directive ["," directives]
directive  = index | follow
index      = "INDEX" | "NOINDEX"
follow     = "FOLLOW" | "NOFOLLOW"

Martijn Koster