Yoast SEO: Search Index Purge


The purpose of this SEO plugin is to purge attachment URLs out of Google’s index as fast as possible. This helps sites
that might have suffered from having too many thin content pages in the search index by removing them in the fastest
way possible.

What does this plugin do?

This plugin makes all your attachment URLs return an HTTP 410 status. It then creates an XML sitemap with a recent last
modified date, containing all those URLs. The XML sitemap with recent post modified date makes Google spider all those
URLs again. The 410 status code makes sure Google takes them out of its search results in the fastest way possible.

With a nice trick, we also show end users the actual attachment image, so the user experience is not as poor as when
they see an error page.

Yoast SEO required

This plugin is an extension to Yoast SEO. It requires it to work.

How long should you run this plugin?

After 6 months the attachment URLs should be gone from the search results. If you then remove the plugin, and keep
Yoast SEO’s redirect setting on „Yes“, you have the best long term behavior for attachment URLs: to redirect to the
actual attachment.

Does Google condone this?

This method has been discussed with and OK’d by Google.

From within WordPress

  1. Visit ‚Plugins > Add New‘
  2. Search for ‚Yoast SEO: Search Index Purge‘
  3. Activate Yoast SEO: Search Index Purge from your Plugins page.
  4. Go to „after activation“ below.


  1. Upload the yoast-seo-search-index-purge folder to the /wp-content/plugins/ directory
  2. Activate the Yoast SEO: Search Index Purge plugin through the ‚Plugins‘ menu in WordPress
  3. Go to „after activation“ below.

After activation


  • The plugin takes over the Search Appearance → Media settings from Yoast SEO.


You’ll find answers to many of your questions on kb.yoast.com.



i´m looking forward to a german discription. It would make it much easier to use this really good tool!

Creates errors

Plugin does not resolves but creates problems. After installing there're plenty of errors in GSC.

At least you offered a solution however

I was hoping that there was more prominent and nagging message about this. better than all other messages I see on admin. this one was very important and I wasn't aware of the problem only when I was checking the plugin settings. so minus star. but since you offered a solution I'm giving it 4 stars. thanks.

Plugin index again all attachment, not purge it

I installed the plugin the same day it was released, and I began to suspect the following days that it was not working properly because it was indexing all the attachments again. My suspicions were true, when I uninstalled the plugin I received thousands of 404 errors in my search console for those attachments that supposedly were being purged from the index. I've also noticed that looking at Google (site: mysite.com inurl: attachment_id) empty pages appear that previously did not appear and correspond to those attachments wrongly indexed. My solution? 1) Copy the attachment URLs from the sitemaps and paste it them in a .txt file 2) Unintall the plugin 3) Block the attachment-id using robots.txt 4) Every day take 1000 url and delete them from the Google Search console. With this method is possible to delete 1000 attachment in a day, so I think is more effective and faster. Everything I have said is based on my personal experience, the plugin may work for other users, but in my case it has not been that way. Even so I appreciate the attempt to create the plugin to solve the problem with Panda that many have suffered.
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Mitwirkende & Entwickler

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Release date: June 27th, 2018

* Excludes attachments from the purge sitemap that were added after activating this plugin.

* Fixes a bug where the Attachement sitemap has the wrong „Last modified“ date, this should be the time the plugin was activated.
* Fixes a bug where the „Redirect attachment URLs to the attachment itself?“ can become „No“ when saving other settings in Yoast SEO.


Release date: May 30th, 2018

Initial version.