Learn how to remove wordpress categories and tags from Googles Index to ensure your most important pages are ranked first.
Just as much as there is an importance to adding and submitting your website to the search engines, it is almost just as important to clean things up from time to time. Make it easy for Google .…right?
In a nutshell, well go through the following:
WordPress is a great tool but it can also be a pain in the ass with certain things. Real convenience will always come at the cost of some inconvenience.
Out of the box WordPress will index your category and tag pages if you select to allow search engines to crawl your site.
What is the problem with that? Isn’t submitting lots of information to Google a good thing?
Well….yes and no. Without a lot of customization, and a lot of content, the category and tag pages might be displaying the same or almost the same content.
Isn’t the point to also have links that help the crawlers make their way through your website to help SEO?
Yes, but here is the problem.
You might be at risk for duplicate content if you do not have enough posts per category or if you use multiple categories for a post. While this is not ENTIRELY true, unless you run a very large blog with LOTS and LOTS of content, this risk is possible for you.
If you use categories the right way and do not add multiple categories to a post, then you would not really have to worry about this. The most common way of removing category pages are by using its direct permalink url in Google Search Console. That is to only remove a given category from indexing.
Tags are used more freely. Most people will go tag-crazy and just add a bunch of crap that pops up to their brains. Problem is that you run a higher risk of coming up with tags that might not be used again, therefore having multiple tag listing pages that will show the same preview content of the same article they are a part of.
Ways of removing a URL from Google’s Index
Before jumping into how to remove the URLS from the Google Search Console, I want to explain the two ways of removing things from the web. You should also take a note that this step is a temporary step that lasts about 90 days and Google recommends you take alternative steps to this by either removing the content from your site or telling the crawler not to index a specific URL.
Note – this also applies to non wordpress websites and in general for removing any URL from any website.
Be careful when pasting the URL’s and always verify what you are doing and make sure you do not remove a whole subdirectory that you intended on keeping.
Steps to remove a URL from Googles index
Login to your Google Search Console account
Select your website property
On the left side navigation, click on “Google Index” -> Remove URLS
To get the category page URL Go to wordpress dashboard > Posts > Categories. Then select the ‘view’ option for the category name, this will take you to the direct URL of the category.
To get the tag page URL go to wordpress dashboard > Posts > Tags. Then select the same ‘view’ option for the tag name, this will take you to the direct URL of the tag.
If you want to remove only one given specific category or URL, use the direct permalink url. But if you want to remove all category and tag pages, then remove the tag name from the URL (http://my-website.com/blog/category/ or http://my-website.com/blog/tag/)
Now click the “Temporarily Hide” button and paste the URL you would like to have removed. That’s pretty much it!
Remember to make a note of your URLS so you can reference back to which pages you have hidden in the future steps.
There is a meta tag that will tell crawlers from Google and other search engines to NOT index your page. Additionally, you can use a robots.txt to specify the urls that you don’t want indexed. Here is an example of the meta tag you can use in your custom WordPress theme.
<meta name="robots" content="noindex">
Placing this tag in the <head> HTML section of your site will do the trick. Of course, with WordPress convenience where you don’t have to code your site, you’ll need a plugin or go the runaround way which is described here. Most articles describe how to do this using Yoast, but what they don’t tell you is the free version doesn’t help you with this.
Turning off Index on category or tag pages in WordPress can be done in a couple of ways. But we feel the easiest one can be the robots.txt file
Assuming the following: If your blog wordpress website is at the root of your domain (Example: http://my-blog-site.com) If your blog is located in another sub folder of your website (like /blog) then be sure to prefix /blog with the urls shown below (Example: /blog/category/apples, etc)
If you do not have a robots.txt file, create a plain file and add to the first line: User-agent: * and save the file
Now, refer to the following below to see which disallow statement would be best for your case.
If you want to remove a specific category make sure your robots.txt file looks something like:
If you want to remove all category pages from indexing add the following:
If you want to remove all tag pages from indexing: