How to stop search engines from indexing a particular Community topic?


Hope you’re all well. :slight_smile: This will be my first time posting here, so I’m hoping I got the Category right.

We have a Discourse community topic that has recently become heated and we’d like to stop search engines from indexing a particular topic. In order for this to happen, would the best route be to go to Security > Settings > Allow index in robots txt, and untick the box (screenshot below)? Or should add the topic to a new member-only category?

Also, considering that the topic already appears in search engines, would unticking the box mentioned above prevent this particular topic from appearing in search engines, or only future topics that I create?

Any help and advice is much appreciated.

Thank you in advance! :wave:

Hi Teresa,

Either of those options may work to remove one topic thread from showing up on search, however if you decide to uncheck the robot index option that may remove the entire site it would not be for only one topic.

Would recommend first moving the topic/thread to a member-only category, then even if it does appear in search that would most likely only be temporary until a new index refreshes search to show that is no longer visible to crawlers but only logged-in members.


Thank you so much for your reply, Dylan! Your recommendation sounds very sensible to me :slight_smile:

If I’m to move this heated thread to a member-only category, any advice you’d be able to give on tutorials/ how to’s for me to make this change? This has been done on this Community by previous managers, but unfortunately I was never taught how to do it and although I have looked everyone I’m not confident I’d know exactly how to proceed.

Thanks in advance :blush:

You literally just need to edit the Topic meta with the pencil next to the title, select the Category drop-down, select its new home and click the tick to commit it.

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Thanks to Robert for answer to that, then there are other options with the admin wrench to unlist, close, archive, or delete a whole topic thread. Unlist means it won’t show up on site topic list, but anyone who has been commenting will be able to continue to talk there unless you close the topic, put it in slow mode, or moderate anyone who isn’t abiding by the community guidelines.

(Note: community members at trust tier #3 can also re-categorize some topics to different categories)

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That’s really helpful thank you Dylan!! Also thank you to you Robert.

Much appreciated, will give it a try now :slight_smile:

Have a great weekend!