From September 1, Google will stop supporting unsupported and unpublished rules within your robots.txt file. Despite never being officially documented by Google, adding noindex directives within your robots.txt file had been a supported feature for over ten years, But no longer now.

According to Google Webmaster blog company said “In the interest of maintaining a healthy ecosystem and preparing for potential future open source releases, we’re retiring all code that handles unsupported and unpublished rules (such as noindex) on September 1, 2019. For those of you who relied on the noindex indexing directive in the robots.txt file, which controls crawling, there are a number of alternative options.”

What are the alternatives?

Google listed the following options, the ones you probably should have been using anyway:

(1) Noindex in robots meta tags: Supported both in the HTTP response headers and in HTML, the noindex directive is the most effective way to remove URLs from the index when crawling is allowed.
(2) 404 and 410 HTTP status codes: Both status codes mean that the page does not exist, which will drop such URLs from Google’s index once they’re crawled and processed.
(3) Password protection: Unless markup is used to indicate subscription or paywalled content, hiding a page behind a login will generally remove it from Google’s index.
(4) Disallow in robots.txt: Search engines can only index pages that they know about, so blocking the page from being crawled often means its content won’t be indexed. While the search engine may also index a URL based on links from other pages, without seeing the content itself, we aim to make such pages less visible in the future.
(5) Search Console Remove URL tool: The tool is a quick and easy method to remove a URL temporarily from Google’s search results.

Check your robots.txt pages for noindex directive

You can check how your noindex directive is working in the Search Console testing tool, as you would with any other Robots.txt directive.

robot txt tester