What Are Googleon / Googleoff Tags?
Video summary for Googleon/Googleoff
How did I come across to Googleon / Googleoff?
When it comes to telling Google not to index a site, there are a few ways to do it.
Out of which, adding robots meta tag (shown below) to every page of the site is probably your best bet.
(NOTE: you can also use Google Webmaster Tools but that will only block Google and not other search engines. It can be used as an insurance to REALLY make sure your site is blocked from Google though.)
<META NAME=”ROBOTS” CONTENT=”NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW”>
I know adding the Robots meta tag on every page requires a lot of work and many people are eager to find alternative ways…. including myself.
So recently I came across to googleon/googleoff tags and apparently these tag tell Google Search Appliance when to start and stop indexing various parts of the web document.
What is Search Appliance?
According to Google, Google Search Appliance is
The Google Search Appliance is a rack-mounted device providing document indexing functionality that can be integrated into an intranet, document management system or web site using a Google Search-like interface for end-user retrieval of results.
Which means it is different from Google search bots that index webpages for Google.com.
So based on what I have gathered, these tags DO NOT stop your site from getting indexed by Google (or at least not officially stated so by Google).
Really?, but I have seen them being used for that purpose?
You are right. Quora.com seems to be using it with some success according to this post that is posted on…. yes you guested it – Quora.
Quora is using googleoff/googleon tags to hide the text from Google so that it doesn’t violate Google’s policies on content cloaking. As far as I know, these tags are not documented as officially supported by Google’s search engine, however they are documented for (internal) search engine use with Google Search Appliance:developers.google.com/search-appliance/documentation/68/admin_crawl/Preparing#pagepart
So what should you do? Well, again since it is not officially documented by Google for not indexing a site on Google, so it is probably a better choice to use the Robots noindex meta tag.
Conclusion for googleon / googleoff
It is not officially documented by Google as a way to prevent the content from getting indexed on the search engine. However, Quora.com seems to be using it for that purpose and it seems to be working.
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