Google indexing refers to the process by which Google's search engine adds web pages into its search results. Here's a bit more detail on what that involves:

  1. Crawling: Google uses software known as web crawlers, with Google's primary crawler being known as "Googlebot." These crawlers "visit" web pages by following links from one page to another. As they do, they collect information about those pages to include in Google's index.

  2. Processing: The information collected by Googlebot is sent back to Google and processed. Google evaluates the content, images, videos, and other elements on the page, as well as metadata like the title tag and meta description. Google also considers factors like the quality of the content and the number of other sites that link to the page.

  3. Indexing: Once Google has processed the information about a page, it adds the page to its "index." This index is essentially a huge database containing information about all the web pages that Google knows about. When you perform a search on Google, you're not searching the web directly; you're searching Google's index of the web.

  4. Ranking: When a user enters a query into Google's search engine, Google searches its index to find pages that match the query. It then uses a complex algorithm to rank those pages in order of relevance and quality. This ranking is what determines the order of the search results that you see.

  5. Updating: Google's crawlers constantly revisit web pages to check for changes or new content. When they find changes, those changes are processed and updated in the index. This ensures that the information in Google's index stays current and relevant.

If you want to prevent Google (or other search engines) from indexing a specific collection or all collections on your Shopify store, you can do so by modifying the robots.txt file. Unfortunately, Shopify doesn't allow you to directly edit the robots.txt file on the server, but you can utilize meta tags to prevent search engines from indexing specific pages.

You can add the following meta tag to the pages you don't want to be indexed:

<meta name="robots" content="noindex">

Here's how you can add the meta tag to a specific collection page or all collection pages:

  1. For a Specific Collection: Go to the theme editor for the specific collection page template, usually found under Online Store > Themes > Edit Code, and locate the template file that handles the collection (usually something like collection.liquid).

    Add the above meta tag within the <head> section of the HTML.

  2. For All Collections: If you want to apply this to all collections, you can find the general template that controls all collection pages (like collection-template.liquid) and add the meta tag to the <head> section there.

Here is an example of how you can place it:

{% if collection.handle == "your-collection-handle" %}
<meta name="robots" content="noindex">
{% endif %}

Remember, this will only prevent search engines from indexing the page; it won't hide the page from users who have the URL.

If you want to hide collections from customers as well, you might want to set up password protection or use a visibility restriction app available in the Shopify App Store. Always make sure to test changes in a development environment or on a duplicate theme before making them live, to avoid unintended side effects on your store.

Hide from Customers:

If you want to hide collections from customers:

  1. Go to the specific collection you want to hide.

  2. In the Visibility section, select Hidden.

  3. Save your changes.

Adding the noindex meta tag will tell search engines not to index the page, but if the page was previously indexed, it might take some time for search engines to de-index it. It's also essential to remember that not all search engines will honor the noindex tag, but major search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo do.

This will hide the collection from your online store, but remember, if you've shared the direct link with anyone, they will still be able to access it.

Lastly, if you're trying to hide products or collections on a more advanced level, consider hiring a Shopify expert or using apps available in the Shopify App Store that provide more granular visibility controls.

Last updated