Google’s Search Relations team confirms that noindexed pages don’t adversely impact a website’s crawl budget, no matter how many a site has.
This topic is addressed not once but thrice during the November 2022 edition of Google’s SEO office-hours Q&A session.
Google Search Advocates John Mueller and Gary Illyes take turns answering three similar questions from people concerned they have too many noindexed pages on their sites.
From Mueller’s and Illyes’ responses, we learn there’s no such thing as “too many” indexed pages. Further, unless your website has over a million pages, there’s no need to worry about crawl budget.
Here’s a quick recap of each question and answer.
Question 1: Excessive Indexed Pages
At the 8:23 mark in Google’s November 2022 office-hours, Illyes addresses a question asking if an “excessive” number of indexed pages is an issue for discovery or indexed.
Illyes says noindex is a tool to help websites keep content out of search engines. Google encourages using the noindex tag when necessary, and for that reason, there are no adverse effects associated with it.
“Noindex is a very powerful tool that search engines support to help you, this site owner, keep content out of their indexes. For this reason, it doesn’t carry any unintended effects when it comes to crawling and indexing. For example, having many pages with noindex will not influence how Google crawls and indexes your site.”
Question 2: Ratio Of Indexed/Noindexed Pages
The following question comes up at the 10:22 mark:
“Should we keep an eye on the ratio between indexed and non-indexed pages in Search Console in order to better recognize possibly wasted crawl budget on non-indexed pages?”
Mueller debunks that websites should attempt to balance their indexed and nonindexed pages.
To that end, crawl budget is a factor that few sites need to think about; Mueller says:
“No, there is no magic ratio to watch out for. Also, for a site that’s not gigantic, with less than a million pages, perhaps, you really don’t need to worry about the crawl budget of your website. It’s fine to remove unnecessary internal links, but for small to medium-sized sites, that’s more of a site hygiene topic than an SEO one.”
Question 3: Noindexed Pages Linked From Spammy Sites
At the 11:26 mark, a question comes up about no indexed pages that’s slightly different from the previous two.
The question reads:
“A lot of SEOs are complaining about having millions of URLs flagged as excluded by noindex in Google Search Console. All to nonsense internal search pages linked from spammy sites. Is this a problem for crawl budget?”
Ilyes reiterates the earlier point about noindex being a tool for sites to use as needed.
Assuming the pages are intentionally noindexed, there’s no need to worry about Search Console flagging them. It doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong.
“Noindex is there to help you keep things out of the index, and it doesn’t come with unintended negative effects, as we said previously. If you want to ensure that those pages or their URLs, more specifically, don’t end up in Google’s index, continue using noindex and don’t worry about crawl budget.”