How To Remove Indexed WordPress Categories, Tags, & Attachment From Google

This is a part of our Question and Answer series and if you have any question related to Blogging, SEO and WordPress, feel free to drop your queries via contact form. Selected question will be answered via Blog post. You can also check out previous questions answered here at ShoutMeLoud.

Today’s Question: This is a question by Irfan Siddiqui from and he is facing issues with Site indexing. He owns a WordPress blog and despite of having noindex tag on his Tags and categories pages, Google has indexed WordPress tags and categories pages.

Google Indexing Issue with WordPress Attachment, tags & categories ?

This is one of the common indexing issue where Google indexes few pages from your blog and despite of adding noindex tag, such pages are part of Google. This is normal and as soon as Google will recrawl your site, it will respect the noindex tag and will deindex such part of your Blog. This may take some time but here are few things which you can do to speed up the process.

Google indexed attachment and tags

Make sure your Robots.txt is not blocking access to tags and categories pages, as best way to stop indexing is using Noindex tag. If few of your pages are already indexed in Google and you have added noindex tag and also stopped crawling of that part of your site, Google may not recrawl particular section of your site and will never see noindex tag.  Robots.txt exclusion is useful for parts like Wp-admin and Wp-content.

More over, it’s not a good idea to stop crawling of pages like tags and categories using robots.txt as it will hamper the crawling of your deeper pages. The best way to stop indexing is by adding noindex tag, which you can easily do by using WordPress SEO by yoast or meta robots plugin.

Now in the case of Irfan blog, he has not blocked the tags and categories pages using Robots.txt but before adding noindex tags, Google have already indexed those pages. Here is a quick solution for anyone facing the similar problem.

You can check what pages of your sites are indexed in Google by typing in Google search.

Make sure you use the noindex option for tags and categories pages in WordPress SEO by yoast or Meta robots plugin. If you are using Thesis theme, you can find this option under Site option > Document head > Robots meta tag > Noindex categories and tags.

Now usually our tags and categories pages are seen as directory from search point of view. For example:


We can use the directory removal option to remove the complete directory from noindex tag and within 24-48 hours all your categories and tag pages will be out of Google index.

deindex WordPress Tags and categories

So you need to add and and  select Remove directory option , hit submit request and you got rid of tags and categories pages from search index.

Related reading:

Getting rid of WordPress attachment ID links

This is another thing which not only create duplicate content issue but also add low quality content in Google search. We can again fix this issue by using Meta robots or WordPress SEO by yoast plugin. Though, here is a practice which you should always try to maintain. When you upload an image, make sure your Image link URL is either blank or if you want to make it clickable, use link to image option. See below screenshot for detailed explanation:

WordPress attachment index issue

This will ensure no such links will be indexed in future and additionally here are configuration settings for plugins which I mentioned above:

Robots meta plugin settings:

Settings > Robots meta settings > Permalink Settings > Put a tick mark on “Redirect attachment URL’s to parent post URL.”

WordPress SEO by yoast setting:

WordPress dashboard > SEO > Permalink Settings > Put a tick on “Redirect attachment URL’s to parent post URL.”

That’s it and it will redirect all such >attachment_id= links to respective post and in few days Google will deindex all such links.

I hope this quick solution will help you anybody facing the similar issue. Do let me know, if you ever faced the similar WordPress indexing issue like irfan?

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Article By
Harsh Agrawal is a blog scientist and a passionate blogger. He is blogging since 2008 & writes about Blogging, SEO, Make money online & tech. His blog, ShoutMeLoud receives 1 million Pageviews/month and have over 700K subscribers.


COMMENTs ( 38 )

  1. Brijesh Gohil says

    Hey harsh, I followed your steps to remove category pages from SERP but author archives is already indexed right now. I just set author archives to no-index so my question is do I have to remove directory from Google Webmaster Tools ?

  2. says

    Hi Harsh,

    How are you? I hope you are doing good, recently i have added my sitemap to google using yoast wordpress seo, but it shows error says robots blocks tag and category sitemap.

    Pls can you answer me.

  3. Raktim says

    Hi Harsh

    Should I put a tick on “Redirect attachment URL’s to parent post URL” though I’m not affected by the attachment ID link on google search result?

  4. says

    Thanks for the tips. I have implemented every bit of the information in my Yoast SEO and I am sure it will clean up the unnecessary google crawls and improve search results. I am new to all this SEO game and happy that someone is guiding me in the right direction

  5. says

    Thanks Harsh for this great piece of advice. I accidentally indexed my categories and tags and saw some very strange results in search results.

    I could see that the Google search was showing tags instead of the real post. Now, that I have figured out the issue and followed the steps given by you above to remove the tags and categories. I hope to see some clean indexing.

    Thanks again,
    Pankaj Chauhan

  6. Ubaid says

    Hello Harsh!

    Thank you for such a nice article!

    Just 1 thing with which i am confused is that i have about 5-10 categories and hundreds of tags at my blog, so in Google Webmaster Tool, should i have to enter them individually (one by one) like:

    or will only submitting the main directory link will do the work like following:

    Please help me with this. Thanks a lot in advance!

    • says

      Under URl removal tool, add and select option which says remove directory. Repeat the same step for Tags and that will take care of everything.

  7. Jason says

    Hi, Harsh,

    Thank you for your article.

    I use this solution:
    WordPress dashboard > SEO > Permalink Settings > Put a tick on “Redirect attachment URL’s to parent post URL.
    but there are still google index “/?attachment_id=xxxx ” after 3 three days.

    Why ? Please help


  8. Martina Valachova says

    Thank you very much for this post! I have just removed a number of attachment_id pages from the search result. I am still very confused regarding of the categories. On seo moz I was adviced not set categories as noindexed as they will help google understand the structure of the site. I am realy very confused now. My site has property categories in the main menu and I realy do not know if I should now no indexed them:-(

  9. Ben Hof says

    You should not use the URL Removal tool in this way.

    Don’t use the URL tool to get rid of pages in these circumstances:

    To clean up cruft, like old pages that 404. If you recently changed your site and now have some outdated URLs in the index, Google’s crawlers will see this as we recrawl your URLs, and those pages will naturally drop out of our search results. There’s no need to request an urgent removal.

  10. Madhav says

    Thanks. With it I deindexed category and tags from search. One more question, is it better to deindex author pages from search.

  11. Michael says

    I have enabled “Redirect attachment URL’s to parent post URL.” in Yoast but I do not see any difference. All the attachments being indexed is starting to annoy me and I don’t fancy disallowing them one by one in robots.txt.

    Have I gone wrong somewhere?

  12. madhu says

    I have one question, i’m using google xml sitemap generator in my blog, can i use Yost plugin at a time, to prevent indexing of these categories, tags, attachment images etc…
    will it cause issue?. please help me.


  13. Achmad Aris says

    Hi Hars…
    I have installed Robots meta plugin, but there is no “Robots meta settings” in settings menu, I use wordpress 3.5.1 versions. How can I solve it, please help me..

    • says

      It should be under settings > Robots meta
      If you are using WordPress SEO by yoast plugin, that plugin also have all the options which you need here.

  14. Ahmad Raza says

    Great info,, But in my case, i have a photoblog containing alot of images and all the attachment pages are indexed by google(more than 10k) and recently i am affected by Panda update.
    Now, obviously i don’t want to redirect my attachment page to parent post because its a photo blog and also i want to deindex those attachment pages and don’t wanna allow search engines to index my further uploaded images.
    and also using noindex tag will my images be removed from Google Images?

  15. says

    Thanks Harsh,

    Trying to deindex my tags and categories from Google Search, using Webmasters tool.

    I had a question : I have recently changed the Meta, description of my blog quite a few times but can’t see the same updated in Google search. Is there any frequency factor for that?

  16. Clint says

    Thank you for this information. It really helps me regarding how to deindex my tags and categories in google search, and I really thought it was just fine when they show up in search engines though I really don’t like them to show up, but I really don’t know how to deindex them not until now. I have already WP SEO by Yoast installed and I just follow what you posted. Thanks.

  17. Taswir says

    Great sharing Bro.. My very first site also got categories and tags indexed in Google, for which I was thinking to find a solution.
    Your tips will help me to de-index those.

  18. K Bharath says

    Thank you for this detailed post on deindexing the categories and tags. almost all my tags and categories are indexed i will use meta robots plugin for deindexing.

  19. PrIyAnGsHu says

    Yes, we should deindex our tags, categories and attachments from the search engines so that the main post can get more traffic and accordingly the users can get the post they have been looking for. I usually use All In One SEO, and these things can easily be deindexed from the search engines using this WordPress plugin.

  20. Kashif Minhaj says

    My blog categories are already deindexed from google with help of Yoast SEO plugin.
    Thanks for sharing :)

  21. Nizam says

    This is really useful and you made it more clear by describing how to configure attachment ID links using Robots meta and Yoast plugins. Thanks Harsh for this wonderful and useful post :)

  22. Hafeez Ansari says

    Nice article on a common problem. Many people are facing this problem. Thank you for guidance and sharing a nice tutorial. :)

  23. Zenil Shroff says

    No indexing tags, categories and archives is nowadays most important part of SEO. Also it is important nowadays to repair old crap content or completely get it de-indexed it using noindex tag.

  24. says

    i am suggesting all my friends to not deindex it.
    because it is may drive some good organic traffic to your blog.
    but many times it disguide visitors, at that time your indexed tags sucks.
    so, it depend on your blog’s category….

  25. sureshpeters says

    Recenlty i also faced this kind of issue. If everyone faced this problem, then its coz of Algorithms for sure. I spoke with Srikar few days back about this and hope we able to solve this to some extent. I stumbled upon this post on seomoz
    The best post i can say, Even though we are very good at WP but checking the post which makes fundamentals even more stronger. I recommend everyone to check it .

  26. says

    Thank you so much for the article on my question I didn’t expected that I’ll get a nice tutorial on my question.

    I just have removed that tag from being indexed into Google using webmaster tool all credit goes to your tutorial. I hope within 48 hours it will be deindex.

  27. srikar says

    yeah,i have been hit by panda couple of times and lately it makes me wonder if its the trailing slash thing and this categories,tags and pagination pages that is causing the duplicate content issue,i do not see any other reason coz with content i have tried my best and have moderated to follow the quality guidelines,so it just makes sense that this is the root of all issue :|

  28. srikar says

    I am in a bit of confusion if i should disallow category or not,i see some errors in html improvements area with duplicate tittle tag with categories ….disallowed tag, archives,page etc but im not sure with category …

    • says

      For a normal blog, I would recommend it to keep it deindex as it will create a duplicate content issue.
      if it’s a micro-niche site, it all depends upon how you planning your site SEO. Usually in micro-niche sites, we have less content and static content where we can also take advantage of categories for SEO, but for a normal blog it’s not recommended as it not only create low quality content issue but also create duplicate content issue. As you already mentioned you are seeing duplicate title tag issue here.