Indexing & sitemaps in Yoast SEO: Show x in search results?

Before a search engine can rank a page or a post, it needs to index it. A crawler must discover a piece of content before it can evaluate if it is a valuable addition to its index. One of the ways crawlers discover pages, is by crawling XML sitemaps. After a page has been indexed, a search engine can rank the piece of content if it fits the users search query best. Yoast SEO makes it easy for you to determine what should be indexable.

Show x in search results?

Determining what has to be indexed by crawlers and what not tends to be hard to understand and it’s easy to make a mistake. You wouldn’t be the first to have unknowingly set a whole post type to noindex, making it unavailable to search engines. We’ve thought long and hard about this and drastically simplified this process for you. Now it all boils down to asking you a straightforward question: Do you want x to appear in search engines?

Search appearance snippet variables

You can find the individual settings for making your content available for indexing in the corresponding parts of Yoast SEO. You’ll find the settings for posts and pages in the Content Types part of the Search Appearance tab. Taxonomies like categories and tags can be found in the Taxonomies tab.

By saying Yes to the ‘Show Posts in search results’ question in the post settings, for instance, you make sure that your posts will appear in the XML sitemap and, therefore, in the search results.

If you want to exclude something, you can switch this toggle to No, and the taxonomy or post type will not appear in the XML sitemap. Because of that, it will not appear in the search results. Whenever you set something to not appear in search engines, it will be noindexed and kept from the XML sitemap.

Exclude individual posts

Of course, you can also exclude individual posts from the XML sitemaps from the Yoast SEO meta box in the post editor. Click on the cog icon and select No to the ‘Allow search engines to show this Post in search results?’ question.

exclude post from sitemap

View your XML sitemap

You should always check your sitemap to see if the content you want to include appears in the XML sitemap. While you’re there, you should also check if the content you want to exclude from the sitemap doesn’t appear in it.

You can find your XML sitemap by going to General >Features > XML Sitemaps > ? (click on the question mark).

xml sitemaps yoast seo

We’ve taken away a lot of the confusion around indexing content and XML sitemaps by simplifying things. But, most importantly, it is now so much easier to determine what should and should not appear in search results.

More on XML sitemaps

XML sitemaps are a kind of treasure map for search engine robots. They crawl them to discover new or updated content on your site. Every site benefits from a sitemap. Your rankings won’t soar if you add one, but it does help the crawlers to discover your content that much easier. If you need more information about the use of XML sitemaps on your site, we have some further reading for you:

Read more: What is an XML sitemap and why should you have one? »

Keep reading: The sense and nonsense of an XML sitemap »

29 Responses to Indexing in Yoast SEO: Show x in search results?

  1. Bob
    Bob  • 8 months ago

    Hi – I just got an error notice from Google. It seems that most of my tags are now “no-index” ?
    I didn’t change anything and checked the settings and “show” is selected on everything. it shouldn’t be no-index.
    – Any ideas?

  2. Mad Hatter
    Mad Hatter  • 8 months ago

    Well, Today i find out google indexing my every images on SERP. First pagination came and now media. If i need to do these things noindex with robot. txt then why should i need to use yoast? Very well. Old Yoast was fine and Now it become kind of problem. Thinking to remove yoast forever. Did you ever heard from users what they really expect from yoast? Good luck!

  3. Marcelo
    Marcelo  • 8 months ago

    Hello guys, hopefully I found this article. I felt lost with the intensive cleanup of the UI. You should have added more documentation visibly linked and explained what changed and where did our beloved screens gone.

    In regards of the nice unification you did on this thread’s topic, I miss two things very much:

    1) The link to the sitemap is hidden by default, making it not that obvious to find. Some of my customers trying to deal with the new Yoast SEO were lost because the sitemap thing is a bit hidden. Can you make its link a bit more visible please?

    2) The lack of a textarea to insert the IDs of pages you don’t want to have indexed by spiders is very missed. It would be very cool if you could enable some interface/mechanism to add a large list of page IDs to be skipped by spiders, cause there are cases where a site may use blocks of pages that shouldn’t be spidered and cannot be set as drafts. For whatever reason, I can mention several scenarios in which you may have the need to exclude hundreds of posts, and having to edit every one at a time, like v7 is requiring, is a PITA. At the very least, a nice workaround would be adding a selectable option in every list of posts (posts, pages, whatever), so that you can select several ones and massively set them to “no-index”. Got it? That would rock!

    Thanks in advance!

  4. Mike
    Mike  • 8 months ago

    updated plugin and then discovered that the “exclude posts feature” was missing from the sitemap section.

    Deleted plugin and reverted back to the previous version
    Please consider adding this back so I’m not stuck using an older version. The ability to remove certain posts from the sitemap is a must

    • Mike
      Mike  • 8 months ago

      very good, thx for the tip!
      I’ll reinstall and check it out
      I’m sure many are scratching their heads wondering the same
      A much used feature, but suddenly became hard to find

    • Edwin Toonen

      Hi Mike. You can exclude specific posts from the XML sitemaps from the Yoast SEO meta box in the post editor. Click on the cog icon and select No to the ‘Allow search engines to show this Post in search results?’ question.

      • Mike
        Mike  • 8 months ago

        Did a test, though it looks like the functionality of the sitemaps exclusion changed

        In updated version it applies a

        tag to the post (using your suggestion commented
        which is not what we want

        Before (older version of plugin) it allowed merely to exclude the posts from the sitemap, rather than adding that tag

        The reason for request:
        This is due to agencies that use automated programs to scan for noindexing tags. (Of which now it would reveal)
        The older version simply allowed an exclusion from sitemap, so that the posts are not resubmitted to the Google console

        (sort of a form of lighter exclusion than a “noindex” tag)

        aka: will have to revert to previous version of this plugin
        Can you put in request to software developer??

        • Mike
          Mike  • 8 months ago

          (tag got removed from comment)
          no index tag

  5. Vicky
    Vicky  • 8 months ago

    How often should we submit Sitemap to Google Webmaster If we post 2 articles in a week?

    • Edwin Toonen

      Hi Vicky. You shouldn’t have to do anything. Once you’ve added your sitemap to Googe Search Console it should be updated automatically.

  6. Brad
    Brad  • 8 months ago

    As an agency, we relied heavily on the exclude posts feature. It’s now gone. What happens when we upgrade Yoast on all of the sites using this feature? Do we lose all of those settings, and then search engines will now see these in the sitemap?

    • Edwin Toonen

      Hi Brad. You can exclude specific posts from the XML sitemaps from the Yoast SEO meta box in the post editor. Click on the cog icon and select No to the ‘Allow search engines to show this Post in search results?’ question.

  7. Mousam
    Mousam  • 8 months ago

    The XML Sitemaps settings are missing in the new update of Yoast SEO. Can you tell me how to access those settings?

    • Edwin Toonen

      Hi Mousam. The settings are integrated in the various other settings. You can activate and view your XML sitemap in General > Features > XML Sitemaps. Individual index/noindex settings are inside Search Appearance.

  8. Up-SEO
    Up-SEO  • 8 months ago

    Lately, something strange with indexing in Google is happening. What I mean is: after publishing an article and indexing it with google search consoles does not appear in results as before. It takes a few days to be indexed. Why?

  9. Szymon
    Szymon  • 8 months ago

    And what about “Show Format in search results?” should I mark it ?

  10. Maxcast
    Maxcast  • 8 months ago

    How do I make the xml sitemap more relevant in just a few pages?

  11. frberani
    frberani  • 8 months ago

    how do I know that my pages are indexed ?
    site-map.xlm where do I find results ?
    YS201834501 subscription #

    • Edwin Toonen

      Hi. You can find your XML sitemap by going to General > Features > XML Sitemaps > ? (click on the questionmark).

      • Chris Evans
        Chris Evans  • 8 months ago

        If i click the ? i just get
        “Nothing Found”
        Sorry, the post you are looking for is not available. Maybe you want to perform a search?

  12. Marc
    Marc  • 9 months ago

    What happens when I, for example, enable the “Date archives settings” but choose NOT to show them in search results? What’s the purpose of enabling/disabling them?
    Thanks! :)

  13. Bhagyesh
    Bhagyesh  • 9 months ago

    Should I enable show date Archive and show it in search results?

  14. Raman
    Raman  • 9 months ago

    This Content is really helpful for a beginner I really appreciate Yoast-SEO team

  15. Freddy G. Cabrera
    Freddy G. Cabrera  • 9 months ago

    Hey Edwin!

    Good tips on indexing and sitemaps. I like the Yoast SEO Plugin sitemap features – which are very user-friendly. It is important for website and blog site to have a sitemap. You should also submit it to the Google Webmasters tool for faster indexing.

    Thank you for sharing this! :)

    Best regards! :D

    • Edwin Toonen

      Hey Freddy,
      Thanks for your comment. You are right about Search Console, don’t forget to submit your sitemap. And don’t forget to check Search Console regularly to see how your site is doing.

      • Paul
        Paul  • 8 months ago

        Under taxonomies you used to be able to check noindex follow, now all that is available is “show categories in search results” does the “follow” part naturally occur?

  16. Jed Finch
    Jed Finch  • 9 months ago

    Thanks for amazing guide !
    Good tips to make my site improving search terms !

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