The most basic purpose of a website is to be seen by other people. They can also be used to impart information, sell products or services, or entertain, but those are all secondary to the true point of a website.
If the most thrilling, innovative, corgi-filled site isn’t being seen by anyone, then that website doesn’t have much of a purpose.
Those corgis would be so sad.
But what if you don’t want a portion of a site to be found by others? I’m not talking about disabling a page, thereby making it impossible to be found even if you knew its URL.
I’m talking about throwing a thick curtain over the page, obscuring it from the ever-watchful eyes of Google and its persistent search engine. The page is still alive and well, but you’ve thrown an invisibility cloak over it and it’s now sneaking around the stone hallways of a prestigious magical castle somewhere.
Okay, enough with the Harry Potter metaphors.
If the point of a website is to be seen, then what exactly is the point of obscuring parts of it from search engines?
That’s a fair question.
Consider, for example, you’re a business with services that you perform for clients. Perhaps you’re a cat-themed Squarespace web design business that makes snazzy websites. You’ve got a useful client portal page that you share with all your clients so they can stay up-to-date with their new site’s progress.
There’s no reason a page meant for the eyes of one person should be seen by everyone else. Why let it be searchable?
You’re in luck—Squarespace has an easy way of preventing pages from being indexed by search engines.
Preventing a Page from Being Indexed
1. In the Squarespace Menu, click on Pages to get to your site’s pages.
2. Click on the Settings gear icon to the right of a page you want to hide.
3. In the Page Settings window, click the SEO tab.
4. Toward the bottom of the window is a checkbox (check...circle?) labeled “Hide this page from search engine results.” Click the circle to activate this option.
5. Click Save in the bottom right corner of the window.
Done and Done
This is a dead simple way to prevent pages from being indexed and included in the results of an online search.
I can’t really think of a way Squarespace could be more helpful in this case. It used to be that you would have to include a snippet of code—
<meta name="robots" content="noindex">—in the Advanced tab of the Page Settings window.
If you have portions of your site that you want to keep off Google (or Yahoo! and Bing, I guess), then this is the best and easiest way to do that. Give it a try for yourselves.
Be sneaky, cats.