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Indexing 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 for WordPress and Yoast SEO for Shopify make 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?

Yoast SEO makes it easy for you to determine what appears in the search results

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 here to not appear in search engines, it will be noindexed and kept from the XML sitemap. 

Read more: Why doesn’t Google index my content properly? »

Exclude individual posts

If you really don’t want a specific URL to show up in the search results you’ll need to add a noindex, follow tag. Leaving it out of your XML sitemap doesn’t automatically mean Google won’t index the URL. If Google can find it by following links, Google can index the URL.

You can also exclude individual posts from the XML sitemaps from the Yoast SEO meta box in the post editor. Click on the Advanced tab and select No to the ‘Allow search engines to show this Post in search results?’ question.

You can determine on a per-post basis if something should appear in the search results

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).

Check your XML sitemap to see if everything is as it should be

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:

Keep reading: What is an XML sitemap and why should you have one? »

Read on: The sense and nonsense of an XML sitemap »

Keep on reading: XML sitemap insights for developers »

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

  1. Sympline Tech
    Sympline Tech  • 2 years ago

    Great article. Thanks for sharing those important things for us. I’ve used this plugin it give me a better result as i expected.

    • Camille Cunningham
      Camille Cunningham  • 2 years ago

      You’re welcome! And great to hear your positive experiences with our plugin :)

  2. seoclassesonline
    seoclassesonline  • 2 years ago

    Thank you so much for posting this Yoast blog and provide more important content. and I am also using the Yoast plugin. it’s a wonderful plugin.

    • Camille Cunningham
      Camille Cunningham  • 2 years ago

      Thank you for those lovely words! Lots of luck with your SEO :)

  3. Julian
    Julian  • 2 years ago

    Hi, how can I set noindex to the autocreated web pages as https://…../page/1/, etc?

  4. DElEd Guy
    DElEd Guy  • 2 years ago

    I am facing indexing issue now. Is due to Yoast SEO update? I have submited my website in Webmaster regularly but didn’t get index. This is new website and not penalized By Google.
    What is the best solution for the same?

  5. Fokke Hoogterp
    Fokke Hoogterp  • 2 years ago

    I am using the Yoast plugin for several websites, also the premium version. I have made a sitemap/index.xml for a WordPress website. How do I prevent the author-sitemap.xml that is included in the index.xml to be found in the Google search results?
    I do not need everybody to see in the Google search results who the authors of the website are.
    Do I have to delete the index.xml and add the seperate sitemaps?

  6. Nadine
    Nadine  • 2 years ago

    I just upgraded to Yoast Premium – its great.I love it. Thanks

    • Camille Cunningham
      Camille Cunningham  • 2 years ago

      Thank you, Nadine. That’s great to hear!

  7. Wendell
    Wendell  • 2 years ago

    Hello, I am trying to figure the correct option when it comes the the question: “Allow search engines to show this page in search results?”
    Other than yes, there is also “Yes (current default for pages)”, what is the difference between the two answers?


    • Willemien Hallebeek
      Willemien Hallebeek  • 2 years ago

      Hi Wendell, that’s actually the same answer. It just says “default” because if you don’t touch it that’s the default value. Hope this helps, good luck!

      • Aidan
        Aidan  • 2 years ago

        Where can you set the defaults for each post type?

        • Camille Cunningham
          Camille Cunningham  • 2 years ago

          Hi Aidan! When you’re logged into your WordPress website, you have a menu on the left-hand side. If you hover over ‘SEO’ in this menu a submenu will appear and you can click on ‘Search Appearance’. This takes you to a page with a few tabs. Click on the ‘Content Types’ and you will be able to set the defaults for each post type!

          This article has a very helpful video about setting these defaults:

  8. Romel Adhikary
    Romel Adhikary  • 2 years ago

    Thank you for posting this wonderful article. Yoast rocks.

  9. Spotthetreasure
    Spotthetreasure  • 2 years ago


    I migrated from SEO plugin to Yoast. I love it. Thanks Yoast. Soon I’ll be upgrading to the premium. Let’s see what it has got! :)

    • Willemien Hallebeek
      Willemien Hallebeek  • 2 years ago

      That’s awesome, thanks!!

  10. Sotogrande
    Sotogrande  • 2 years ago

    is it possible to use a taxonomy dynamically in a post type’s meta title? For example have a %%city%% taxonomy added to meta title of a content type?

  11. Anas Siddiki
    Anas Siddiki  • 2 years ago

    Hey In my site readability option is not showing. Why?

  12. franko
    franko  • 2 years ago

    Thank you for sharing this SEO information this is helping my web application development company. Yoast seo plugin is very helpful and useful

    • Camille Cunningham
      Camille Cunningham  • 2 years ago

      Thank you for those kinds words, Franko. Good luck with your company!