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?

  • What is your URL structure? Commented Dec 7, 2011 at 15:26
  • http://www.site.com/blog/2011/12/this-is-a-post-dont-you-like-it/
    – tjb1982
    Commented Dec 7, 2011 at 15:27
  • Double check with your editor to get the exact workflow she's using.
    – ChrisF
    Commented Dec 7, 2011 at 15:38
  • I'm pretty sure there is some link to the article somewhere on your site. Otherwise it shouldn't happen IMO.
    – PeeHaa
    Commented Dec 7, 2011 at 16:48
  • 1
    @tjb1982 By default Wordpress pings some website that submits it to a lot of other websites. It's in your Settings -> Writing -> (at the bottom) Update Services. Try removing that url and see if it still happens.
    – ZippyV
    Commented Dec 8, 2011 at 14:50

2 Answers 2


Actually in WordPress after creating a Post in the top right you can click the edit link next to Publish immediately Edit and set the future date the Post should be published. This is better than setting them to private and then public.

Google is finding them because when a Post is created WordPress pings Google and other sites letting them know of the new post. You might also have a sitemap plugin generating the URL in the sitemap.


Private - WordPress will create a post that is accessible to users/viewers, but the content of that post will be hidden until its unlocked. I would suggest saving it as a Draft.

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