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Frequently Asked Question #50. How do I control whether my journal and entries appear in search engines?

There are a variety of settings you can change to limit your your journal or community's exposure to external search engines. Conversely, these same settings can be used if you wish to promote your journal or community. However, please note that there is no way to guarantee that external search engines will behave as you want or expect them to.
The following settings can affect your journal or community's visibility to external search engines:

Posting your entries with an appropriate security setting
  • Limit: Post your entries with a protected security setting. If your entries are protected, search engines cannot access and index them. Setting a minimum security level for your journal can help with this, as entries that are posted publicly can be indexed within seconds of being posted, even if they are quickly changed to Friends-only or Private.
  • Promote:Search engines cannot index entries posted at the Friends-only, Members-only, or Private security levels. Make sure that any entry you want to be found on a search engine is posted publically.

Minimize your journal's inclusion in search engine results
  • Limit:Check this option, found on the Privacy tab of the My Account Settings page. This changes the robots.txt file and <meta> tags in your journal to allow or disallow search engines to index your public entries.
  • Promote:Uncheck this option on your My Account Settings page to allow search engines to index your journal.

Comment Search Inclusion
  • Limit: Check this option, found on the Privacy tab of the My Account Settings page. This prevents LiveJournal's Search tool, powered by Yandex, from cataloging comments made to your journal entries.
  • Promote:Uncheck this option to allow LiveJournal Search to index comments made to your journal.

Contact information on your profile
  • Limit: By changing your preferences on the Edit Profile page so that your contact information is not displayed publicly you will minimize the chance that your journal can be found by a search for your name, location, email adress, etc...
  • Promote: Edit your profile so that your contact information is accurate and publicly viewable. This will help maximize your journal's discoverability via search engines.

Notify Weblogs.com & Content Promotion
  • Limit: These features broadcast your entries in order to increase readership and increase the chances that your journal will be indexed by a search engine. To limit your journal's exposure to search engines you should deselect the options on the Privacy tab of the My Account Settings page.
  • Promote: In order to spread your journal entries to the maximum extent, make sure that both of these options are selected.

Latest Entries page
  • Limit: The Latest Entries page on LiveJournal shows the most recent public entries published across the entire site. To prevent your entries from showing up on this page please visit the Admin Console and enter the following code: set latest_optout yes for your personal journal or set for <communityname> latest_optout yes for a community.
  • Promote: To ensure that your entries are being included on the Latest Entries page please visit the Admin Console and enter the following code: set latest_optout no for your personal journal or set for <communityname> latest_optout no for a community.

Help! My journal is appearing on a search engine

If you have already taken all of the above steps to limit your journal's exposure to search engines, but some or all of your entries have been indexed by a search engine anyway, there is nothing LiveJournal can do to remove them. You will need to contact the search engine directly and request that they remove your content.

Why can't search engines find my journal?

There are two further settings that may be affecting your journal's visibility to search engines.
  • Social Capital - If your social capital is too low your robots.txt file will disallow indexing of your entire journal.
  • Adult content - If you indicate that your journal contains Adult content then your robots.txt file will disallow indexing of your entire journal.

Last Updated: January 25th, 2013

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