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TLTR

I have a website (SPA) where SEO is very important. It was very poorly indexed and search console tells me it is due to 'noindex' in the robots meta, while I cannot see how Google comes to that conclusion.

BACKGROUND

I have this Single Page Application built with VueJS, which I launched at the start of this year. I noticed it was poorly indexed in Google. Google has missed out on indexing indexed a lot of my pages; including the most important ones with the most content. I do control the robots meta tag trough javascript, but cannot see how this would cause these issues.

CASE

I will post an example URL here where indexing by Google is blocked, while I want it to be indexed and give all information/research I have found about it:

URLS:

https://trainervinden.nl/blog/afvallen-met-een-personal-trainer

Alternative URL, different page type, same results: https://trainervinden.nl/trainer/marit-de-heer

Sitemap

The page is part of the sitemap: https://trainervinden.nl/sitemap.xml

Robots.txt

We don't have one AFAIK.

Chrome Inspector

I see the robots meta tag in header from Chrome inspector, and it looks good to me:

Meta tag in header from inspector

Page Source

Default robots meta tag from page source (it is a SPA though, and robots meta tag is also controlled by javascript): Robots meta in Page source from SPA

Web Developer Tools Chrome Plugin

Response headers, looking good to me. No robots stuff here:

Result response headers Web Developer Tools

Meta tags from Web Developer Tools, still looking as I expect:

Meta tags from Web Developer Tools

Google Search Console

Pushing the button Test live url (the same results as the existing info behind tab Google Index) gives results I do not understand:

Result for Test live url

I can provide any extra information needed to solve this issue; just ask!

So basically I have no idea where this "no-index" Google sees is coming from and am a web guy in despair right now. Any hint helping me out is much appreciated; more than you can imagine at this point :)

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  • Why do you describe that as a single page site? It clearly has lots of pages. – Stephen Ostermiller Mar 23 at 20:39
  • Hi Stephen, a SPA (Single Page Application) is just a website that uses javascript to render the website in the client (browser of the user). It is a technique rather than a limit on number of pages and my website is a SPA. – Rogier Mar 24 at 14:10
  • I would use the terminology "JavaScript rendered" rather than "single page application" in such a case. – Stephen Ostermiller Mar 24 at 15:16
  • Sure, although it is a really widely used term for these modern kind of applications. – Rogier Mar 24 at 19:32
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"index" is not an approved value for use in a robots meta tag. See: https://developers.google.com/search/docs/advanced/robots/robots_meta_tag Instead you should use "all".

<meta name=robots content=all>

Alternatively, you can omit the meta robots tag altogether. Without a tag, the default is to allow crawling and indexing.

I think is what is happening is that Google is seeing "index" and matching it to the closest possible approved value, which is "noindex."

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  • Hi Stephen, thanks for your answer. I have changed the content to all as you suggested. I cannot believe I missed that. My issue is still not fixed though. The problem persists. I have found out a way of reproducing the issue though. If I check the pages through search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly I see page is not found (while it is found through normal browser). The fact that it is not found redirects the user to a "not found" page which sets the robots meta tag to noindex. – Rogier Mar 24 at 14:16
  • I'm not sure how the mobile friendly test gets to the 404 page. I get a page on the command line with curl --head https://trainervinden.nl/blog/afvallen-met-een-personal-trainer which results in a "200 OK" status. Testing in a variety of browsers shows problems with Internet Explorer not showing the page, but IE doesn't show a 404 error either: app.crossbrowsertesting.com/public/i2a11f6a3a18c91f/screenshots/… – Stephen Ostermiller Mar 24 at 15:26
  • I am trying to figure out what is going wrong right now. Will let you know if I find out what is going on. It is actually not a 404 status even if the element is not found. It seems to be due to CORS issues with the backend. – Rogier Mar 24 at 19:34
  • The issues have been fixed and were cause by a robots.txt file on the api endpoints... The noindex was due to a redirect to a not found if an error occurred when the data was fetched I built into the frontend – Rogier Mar 24 at 20:18

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