The Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin Noindex Media Tutorial article is part of a series of SEO tutorials to support the Stallion WordPress SEO Plugin and the Stallion Responsive WordPress SEO Theme.

Can also be used by Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin users to check if they have set any damaging Yoast Noindex robots meta tag options.

This WordPress SEO tutorial covers the Stallion WordPress SEO Plugin – Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin Noindex Media Warning and the Stallion Responsive Theme – Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin Noindex Media Warning.

Return to the main Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin Warnings article or the main Stallion WordPress SEO Plugin Documentation article.

Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin Noindex Media Warning

If under the “Stallion WordPress SEO Plugin” : “SEO Plugin Warnings” Tab : “Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin Warnings” you see the following SEO warning:

“Titles and Metas – Post Types : Media”
“Meta Robots: noindex”

Yoast Noindex Media SEO Warning

Yoast Noindex Media SEO Warning

You have a serious search engine indexing issue on your WordPress site regarding your WordPress Media Attachments (image attachment pages).

While you have this SEO warning, the Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin is stopping all search engines from indexing your WordPress Media Attachment Pages!!!

Yoast SEO : Titles and Metas – Post Types : Media

To receive this Stallion SEO warning you have set under the Yoast SEO plugin options

“SEO” : “Titles and Metas” – “Post Types” Tab : Under “Media”

Meta Robots: noindex

Yoast WordPress SEO Noindex Media

Yoast WordPress SEO Noindex Media

The noindex robots meta tag stops the webpage from being indexed in Google etc…, as long as this option is set none of your WordPress Media Attachment Pages will be found for relevant searches in any search engines including Google!

The Yoast noindex robots meta tag option to block the indexing of WordPress Pages causes minor SEO damage, this would result in ALL your Media Attachment Pages NOT being indexed in Google etc…

This Yoast SEO option is SEO damaging, so I haven’t added an equivalent Stallion WordPress SEO Plugin Not Index option.

What Are Media Attachment Pages?

Every time you upload an image or other resource using the WordPress Media Upload features (like the “Add Media” button on Post and Page Edit screens), WordPress generates a corresponding Media attachment Page which WordPress themes may or may not access (depends on the theme). Under your WordPress Dashboard click the “Media” menu link and you can gain access to all your sites media attachment page (View) links.

WordPress Media Attachment View Links

WordPress Media Attachment View Links

For example the SEO theme I use and develop is Stallion Responsive and it generates media attachment pages like the one which opens when you click the previous screenshot.

I don’t normally link to the media attachment pages because I tend to write large Posts :-) and the media attachment pages are limited in content options- unless you’ve created a specific template for them, they start with an image at the top, if you add something to the Description form (when creating/editing a media item) and the theme used uses the Description, that’s your text based content.

For short pieces of content they are pretty good SEO wise, optimized title tag, optimized image alt text and you can add a little bit of optimized content. Similar to a WordPress Static Page with one image at the top and a small amount of text content. They can even have their own comments.

The way in which to link to a media attachment page is when adding media to a WordPress Post/Page. Under the “Attachment Display Options” : select the dropdown menu “Link to” and set “Attachment Page”.

WordPress Link To Attachment Page

WordPress Link To Attachment Page

For an uploaded image (like the image above) it results in a clickable image link, when the image is clicked it goes to this URL http://stallion-theme.co.uk/yoast-wordpress-seo-plugin-noindex-media-warning/wordpress-link-to-attachment-page/.

The “WordPress Link To Attachment Page” image is attached to this Post, WordPress generates the URL above using the URL of the Post the attachment is attached to (http://stallion-theme.co.uk/yoast-wordpress-seo-plugin-noindex-media-warning/), plus the slug of the attachment file minus .jpg etc… (wordpress-link-to-attachment-page).

Media Attachment Pages SEO Value

Many SEO’s argue WordPress media attachment pages have no SEO value and some argue they are SEO damaging. In my opinion they have limited SEO value IF you know what you are doing, but probably best to stick with WordPress Posts/Pages SEO as it’s easier to manage.

For example you have to avoid SEO mistakes like naming a media attachment you’ve link to the same as a WordPress Post or Page, (I have a linked media attachment page above with the title “WordPress Link To Attachment Page”, so have to avoid creating a Post with the same title). If i lost track and named a Post “WordPress Link To Attachment Page” this will result in a Post having the same title tag as the media attachment page above and in a perfect SEO world every indexed webpage will have unique title tags: you can make this same basic SEO mistake when creating Posts/Pages, you can create two or more Posts with the same title tags by mistake (or design).

As mentioned above I rarely link to the media attachment pages, so Google probably hasn’t indexed any on this site (I haven’t checked). As long as I don’t link to them from within Posts etc… they aren’t costing this site any link benefit to keep them indexed or ranked for relevant SERPs, so nothing to worry about SEO wise.

The interesting thing about WordPress is you don’t have to link to a specific type of content for it to ‘exist’, I never link to the monthly archives (via the Archives widget) or the daily archives (via the Calendar widget), but the monthly and daily archives still exist:

2016 Yearly Archive: http://stallion-theme.co.uk/2016/
October 2016 Monthly Archive: http://stallion-theme.co.uk/2016/10/
October 29th 2016 Daily Archive: http://stallion-theme.co.uk/2016/10/29/

There will be at least 400 archives which COULD be indexed like the ones above for this site, but I don’t link to them, so for the most part Google etc… doesn’t know they exist.

The same is true for the almost 1,000 images and other attachments added via the WordPress Media Uploader, they’ll have their own Media Attachment Page, but I for the most part don’t link to them, so Google doesn’t know they exist.

If Google has indexed any of the Media Attachment Pages they won’t be causing any SEO harm, in fact they’ll be adding SEO benefit because they link back to the Post they are attached to and whatever is linked from the sidebar etc… And you never know they might generate a few very long tail SERPs : since I don’t link to them, Google won’t consider them very important, so though Google might index them, probably won’t rank them for anything.

If you have a WordPress site where most of your images are linked to their respective Media Attachment Pages, the last thing you should do is use the Yoast Noindex Media Option, this wastes ~15% of the link benefit you’ve sent to them (via the links). The best SEO option (if you don’t want to spend link benefit on them) I’m afraid is manually edit all the Posts with images linked to their respective Media Attachment Page and manually remove the link (this assumes you want to remove them, with SEO effort they can have SEO value). There’s a WordPress plugin called Broken Links Checker, you can use it to scan your entire site for links (internal and external) and this might help you narrow down which Posts have links to media attachment pages (still have to manually edit them).

It’s unlikely external domains have linked to the media attachment pages, so any you’ve stopped linking to will slowly be dropped from the Google index: could take a while and if there’s even one link from another site to a page it can keep it indexed.

David Law

David Law > AKA SEO Dave
*
: 20+ Years Experience as a Freelance SEO Consultant, WordPress SEO Expert, Internet Marketer, Developer of Multiple WordPress SEO Plugins/SEO Themes Including the Stallion Responsive Theme (tested to WordPress 4.8.1 August 2017).

Website - SEO Tutorial for WordPress