Google Says Sometimes Bot Protection Services Serve noindex

Did you know that sometimes those bot protection services will serve Google and other search engines noindex directives? Google’s John Mueller said this on X, saying, “Sometimes there’s bot-protection (or a login, interstitial, etc) triggering that has a noindex on it.”

He also added that it would be better for them to serve 503 server status codes. “Better would be to use 503 for server-side blocks like bot-protection,” he wrote.

In the end, the person he replied to was having a different issue causing the noindex, it was not bot protection. He said it was “some shenanigans with NextJS doing client side rendering instead of server rendering.” “The HTML had a noindex tag, which was removed after rendering on the browser. The HTML shown on GSC is the one AFTER JavaScript rendering, which is why I couldn’t find it and thought it was a GSC bug,” he added.

This was the error he was seeing:

Here are those posts:

wtf is going on here? why is Google not indexing this one?

They say there’s a “noindex” tag, but there isn’t one. robots.txt looks good too.

Anyone? #seo help pic.twitter.com/DYzJsLQ4Yk

— Guilherme (@goenning) December 26, 2023

Thanks John, eventually found it thanks to @HamilcDev

Some shenanigans with NextJS doing client side rendering instead of server rendering

The HTML had a noindex tag, which was removed after rendering on the browser. The HTML shown on GSC is the one AFTER JavaScript rendering,… https://t.co/NffU7suVLM

— Guilherme (@goenning) December 26, 2023

Forum discussion at X.

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