I'm new to WordPress and SEO, generally, but we've been running into problems with our site that don't seem to make sense to me.
The problem is that our editor likes to schedule posts and/or mark them private until she is ready to make them public, but somehow Google is crawling these posts and getting 404s (because they are password protected). How does Google know they exist in the first place? I checked the sitemap.xml file and don't see a record of the post. One of the offending posts was marked public, but is scheduled for a future date. Could that have something to do with it?
I've tried to Google the answer, and I came up with a good amount of reassurance that this won't hurt the site, but I'm still wondering how it's happening in the first place. It's hard because I don't know exactly what the editor's workflow is. Is it possible she's posting publicly first and then revising it to be private only after it's too late?
Does anyone know how Google finds WordPress URLs it shouldn't have access to?