I'm currently using woocommerce and by chance when looking through google search console I noticed well over 15,000 pages had been indexed. Instantly raised a concern because I know I should have no more than 400 actual pages.
After looking into it, I noticed that absolutely every possible parameters "variations, grid styles, shipping methods" etc is being indexed causing what is 400 into 15,000 variations.
Does this have an affect on google ranking showing 15,000 pages when really there are only 400.
I can not find a single resource that explains whether google indexing so many variations has a positive or negative impact on google rankings.
Finally how to prevent google or any other search engines from indexing url's with parameters. I've seen advice using robot.txt but no recommendation of what standard woocommerce filters should be excluded or if that's a bad idea?
I have a feeling I am losing alot of link juice by having so many indexed pages with parameters?
( 6 months ago )
WordPress by default expects that you wish to share everything because why not? Surely if you have 15,000 items that are index-able surely you'd be more mad if your site decided on a whim to hide parts of that without you knowing. It is understandable that this would be confusing though, and quite rightly it is always better to have control over which parts of your site gets seen by search engines.
Anyway there are plugins which allow you to customise which parts of a website are visible or hidden to search engines by providing a mechanism for generating an XML site map (an index of which pages should be crawl-able). A very common plugin I see people use is called Yoast SEO. Another one I have had some success with is called Google XML Sitemaps, you may find another to work better for you, but that should give an idea of what you need.
Also if you are not getting visited often by google bot then take the sitemap from one of those types of plugins and submit via the google console to help google better understand your site.