Recently, artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots have started becoming really popular. These bots can have natural conversations and be quite useful for customer service, information retrieval, and other tasks. However, as AI chatbots generate more content across the web, you may want to take steps to prevent Google and other search engines from indexing this automatically generated content.
But why would you want to block AI Chatbot content? Well, here are some good reasons why blocking AI chatbot content from search engines may be a good idea:
- Plagiarism – AI chatbots often generate responses by scraping or paraphrasing content from other sites. This could appear duplicated or plagiarized if indexed.
- Irrelevant content – Chatbot responses don’t always provide useful information and may not be relevant to searchers.
- Spam risks – Third parties could potentially use chatbots to generate spammy pages meant to manipulate search rankings.
- Quality concerns – Automatically generated content typically lacks the depth and accuracy of human-written pages. Indexing large amounts of AI content could degrade overall search quality.
If you don’t take proactive steps to block indexing of AI chatbot output, you risk search engine penalties, poor search visibility, and a negative impact on your brand’s reputation. Read on to learn effective techniques for preventing search engine indexing of conversational content.
Methods for Blocking Google from Indexing AI Chatbot Content
There are several effective techniques you can use to prevent Google and other search engines from crawling and indexing your AI chatbot content:
Use a Robotted Iframe
Iframes allow you to embed one webpage within another. For a chatbot interface, you can load the chatbot in an iframe while adding code to block indexing of just that iframe content.
The important thing you want to remember is to add the
x-robots-tag="noindex" attribute to the iframe element. This tells crawlers not to index the content within that iframe.
Some of the benefits of using a robotted iframe:
- It segments your chatbot content from the rest of your site for selective blocking.
- It prevents duplicate content issues since the iframe content is hidden from search engines.
- Your main site pages remain visible to Google while chatbot iframes are hidden.
- It’s a simple addition requiring just an extra attribute on the iframe embed code.
Iframes only block content within the iframe itself. For full protection, also add blocking methods like X-Robots-Tag headers and data-nosnippet attributes to the page loaded within the iframe.
Test your chatbot iframe by validating it’s not indexed using Google Search Console. If configured properly, the iframe should show as “blocked resource” in search analytics. By utilizing a robotted iframe, it will help prevent your AI chatbot content from being crawled and indexed by Google.
- If your chatbot UI is rendered by a script like
chatbot.js, serve this file with the X-Robots-Tag header to block indexing.
- Use the header on your backend chatbot engine scripts if they dynamically generate content that could get indexed.
Use the data-nosnippet Attribute
data-nosnippet attribute, when added to the
<html> tag of a webpage, tells Google not to show a snippet for that page in search results. This can prevent any automatically generated chatbot responses on that page from appearing in search engine result pages (SERPs).
When Google crawls a page with this attribute, it will show a title and URL in SERPs, but no snippet previewing the content on that page.
This can be useful for chatbot interfaces for a few reasons:
- It prevents responses that may not make sense out of context from showing in snippets.
- It avoids giving away too much auto-generated content for free in SERPs.
- It blocks spammy or irrelevant chatbot output from displaying publicly.
The downside is that it may result in lower click-through rates since snippets help users evaluate if a result is relevant. But for chatbot pages, hiding the snippets likely provides a better searcher experience.
data-nosnippet to your chatbot interface pages and monitor click-through rates from Google to see if it impacts performance. Combined with other blocking methods, it can help keep chatbot content off of Google completely.
Use a robots.txt File
The robots.txt file gives you control over what pages search engines can crawl on your site. Adding Disallow directives for your chatbot URLs prevents Google from accessing those pages entirely.User-agent: * Disallow: /chatbot/ Disallow: /chat.html
This code will tell the crawlers that they shouldn’t access any URLs starting with /chatbot/ or the specific page /chat.html.
Key advantages of using robots.txt:
- It’s a simple method requiring just a text file addition.
- It blocks chatbot pages from being crawled in the first place.
- It prevents any accidental indexing issues if other methods fail.
However, robots.txt may lower visibility of other non-chatbot pages on your site. Use it selectively for only chatbot URLs if possible.
For best results, combine multiple techniques like robots.txt, X-Robots-Tag headers, and data-nosnippet attributes. This provides overlapping protection to ensure Google never indexes or displays your conversational content.
Be sure to monitor your chatbot pages in Google Search Console. Verify they are not being crawled, indexed, or displayed in results. Proactively blocking AI chatbot content protects your site from risks like duplicate content penalties, irrelevant snippets, and spam.
As we continue to watch AI chatbots permeate the internet, something we want to keep in mind as a website owner, is to take proactive steps to prevent indexing of low-quality, automatically generated conversational content. Allowing your chatbot pages to be crawled and indexed by Google comes with substantial risks, including potential search engine penalties, loss of visibility, and damage to your site’s reputation.
Be sure to monitor your chatbot URLs within Google Search Console to validate that crawling and indexing is blocked as intended. Tweak your blocking methods over time as needed to adapt to changes in SEOs and chatbot technology. With smart blocking strategies, you can utilize AI chatbots on your site without compromising your standing in organic search results.