How to Remove WordPress Pages From Google (and Other Search Engines)

To remove your WordPress website – or just specific pages – from Google and other search engines results pages is easy. Maybe you want to hide your entire website while it’s under development, or maybe you just want to hide one or a few specific pages and posts before the official launch. 

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Removing your Entire WordPress Website from Search Engines

I always hide my entire website from Google and other search engines while I’m in the development phase. I don’t want Google to index it so that people can find it via search and drop in to an unfinished website.

💡 Did you know that it’s super easy to see what content Google has indexed from your website? Just go to google.com and search for site:mydomain.com (replace mydomain.com with your own domain name) and you’ll get the complete list.

Removing your WordPress website from the Google search results page (SERP) takes less than one minute.

  1. Go to your WordPress dashboard
  2. Head over to Settings » Reading in the left hand menu.
  3. Tick the checkbox to the right of the heading Search engine visibility with the label “Discourage search engines from indexing this site”.
  4. Click the blue Save Changes button to save your settings.

That’s it! Google and all other search engines will now know that your entire website not should be indexed or listed in the SERP.

Remove a WordPress website from the search engines

⚠️ Friendly reminder! Don’t forget to disable this setting when the website is live and ready to be indexed.

How long does it take before my website is removed from the search engines?

If your website already has been indexed by search engines, it could take a few days or even a couple of weeks before the search engines have re-crawled your website and found your new setting.

If it’s urgent to hide your website you can use Google Search Console and Bing Search Console to temporarily remove specific URLs quickly.

Is it 100% sure that people can’t find my website via search engines now?

The short answer is no. As stated in the WordPress settings:

It is up to search engines to honor this request.

If you want to be 100% sure that unauthorized people will not lurk around, you should password protect your website.

I prefer to combine both password protection and the negative Search engine visibility setting on my staging websites.

Removing Specific Pages and Posts from Search Engines

Maybe you want your general website to be indexed by search engines but you want to remove specific URLs from the SERP. It could be a draft that you published for client proof-reading or category pages, author pages and other content that you just don’t want to be indexed by Google.

There are a few ways to achieve this. You can disallow search engines in robots.txt or you can add meta robots tags. But why make things complicated when almost every WordPress website has a SEO plugin like Yoast or Rank Math installed?

Both these popular plugins let you hide specific pages and posts as well as taxonomies and archives from search engines without you needing to edit any files manually.

Method 1: Removing a URL from search engines using Yoast SEO

Yoast SEO is the worlds most popular free SEO plugin for WordPress. It was launched back in 2008(!) and has over 5 million(!!) active installations, according to the WordPress plugin repository. Here is how to remove specific pages, posts or products from search engines using Yoast SEO.

  1. Edit the page, post or product that you want to hide from the search engine results page.
  2. Scroll all the way down to the Yoast SEO settings box.
  3. Make sure that the default SEO tab is open and scroll down and expand the Advanced tab.
  4. Click the dropdown below the heading Should search engines follow links on this Page and select No.
  5. Click Update (or Publish) to save your settings.

That’s it!

Yoast SEO search engine visibility settings

⚠️ Do you use the Divi Visual Builder? If so, you need to edit the Yoast options before you enable the Visual Builder. Just go to the page and scroll down to the Yoast settings box without clicking the Edit With The Divi Builder button.

Removing post types and taxonomies from search engines with Yoast SEO

You can remove entire post types as well as taxonomies like categories and tags from search engines using Yoast. Here is how.

  1. Go to your WordPress dashboard and head over to Yoast SEO » Search Appearance
  2. Click the Content Types tab to select which post types – for example pages, posts, projects and products – that you would like to hide from search engines.
  3. Go to the Taxonomies tab to select taxonomies – for example categories and tags – that you would like to hide from search engines.

Removing Archive pages from search engines using Yoast SEO

Last but not least, you can remove archive pages – like author archives, date archives and special pages archives – from search engines. I almost always set all Archive pages to not be indexed by Google.

  1. Go to your WordPress dashboard and head over to Yoast SEO » Search Appearance
  2. Click the Archives tab to select which archive pages – for example authors, date and special pages like 404 – that you would like to hide from search engines.

That’s it! Don’t forget to save your settings.

Method 2: Removing a URL from search engines using Rank Math SEO

Rank Math is a great alternative to Yoast SEO. Rankt Math has a neat Divi integration and is more agile compared to the competitor. And Rank Math is no small player, it has +1 million active installs and a five star rating in the WordPress plugin repository,

It’s easy to hide pages and posts as well as taxonomies and archive pages with the free version of Rank Math SEO. Here is how.

  1. Edit the page, post or product that you want to hide from the search engine results page.
  2. Click the Rank Math icon to edit the settings.
    ⚠️ The settings location will differ based on which page builder you use. If you use Gutenberg you’ll find the icon in the top right corner (a red SEO score box). If you use the Classic Editor you’ll find the Rank Math Settings below the content fields. If you use the Divi Visual Builder you’ll the Rank Math icon to the right of the purple Divi menu button in the bottom of the page.
  3. Click the Advanced tab (the briefcase).
  4. Tick the No Index checkbox under the Robots Meta heading.

That’s it! Don’t forget to save the page or post.

Add No Index to a page or post with Rank Math SEO

⚠️ Do you use the Divi Visual Builder? If so, I have good news for you: RankMath has a nice integration with the Divi Builder. Just enable the Divi Visual Builder and click the round RankMath icon in the bottom of the page to update your settings.

Removing post types and taxonomies from search engines with Rank Math SEO

You can remove entire post types as well as taxonomies like categories and tags from search engines using Rank Math. Here is how.

  1. Go to your WordPress dashboard and head over to Rank Math » Titles & Meta
  2. Click the tab for the post type (for example Posts or Projects) or the taxonomy (for example Categories or Tags) that you want to hide from search engines.
  3. Scroll down and enable the Robots Meta toggle.
  4. Tick the No Index checkbox for the post type or the taxonomy that you want to remove from search engines.

That’s it! Don’t forget to save your settings.

Hide post types and taxonomies with Rank Math SEO

Removing Archive pages from search engines using Rank Math SEO

You can also remove archive pages – like author archives, date archives and special pages archives – from search engines. I almost always set all Archive pages to not be indexed by Google.

  1. Go to your WordPress dashboard and head over to Rank Math » Titles & Meta
  2. Click the tab for the archives – for example Post Formats, Authors and Misc Pages (404 error pages etc.) –  that you want to hide from search engines
  3. Scroll down and enable the Robots Meta toggle.
  4. Tick the No Index checkbox to hide the archive from search engines.

That’s it! Don’t forget to save your settings.

Hide archive pages from search engines with Rank Math SEO

That’s all for today!

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