HELP! Private Members Names Showing Up With Activity in Google Search

HELP! This is really an issue for my Membership website.

I am using Business Portfolio Theme with Membership and BuddyPress plugins.

This is an extremely sensitive support site for women.

But, if you google the site name and any members name google shows an excerpt of their last activity, forums or their profile.

How can this happen with a private membership site with protected pages?

How can I stop this?


  • Arun Basil Lal
    • New Recruit

    Hello JoAnn,

    That is bad. And a bit strange.

    Can you please check if the page that Google is picking up is directly accessible? i.e. go to the link as a visitor and see if the page is visible? Ideally this should take you to the protected content page.

    Also there is a chance that this is coming up from the forum rss feed, is it so? Can you check if the RSS feed is accessible? There are some plugins that I can suggest to make RSS feeds totally private.

    Let me know!

  • JoAnn
    • The Incredible Code Injector

    Hey Arun,

    Yes, if I click the link I am taken to the no access page.

    I really don't know where this is coming from, but here's what I have done so far.

    I installed the plugin Robots Meta and made the pages noindex nofollow.

    I added the 'disallow' function to my robots text for all the pages I want excluded.

    Installed Disable RSS plugin.

    Please advise if these are the plugins you would recommend and let me know what else I can do to get those google references to go away.



  • Arun Basil Lal
    • New Recruit

    Hello JoAnn,

    If that page is taking you to the no access page then search engines cannot read it as well, unless there is a copy somewhere else.

    Do you use any caching plugin? like wp super cache or w3 cache? Caching plugins could do this. It would be a good idea to prevent caching from the members only pages. If your site doesn't have non-member traffic, disabling caching plugin itself won't hurt I think.

    I will pass a note to Barry, the developer to see if we have missed anything. Thanks!

  • Barry
    • DEV MAN’s Mascot

    As Arun mentions, the search engines can only see what a user can see - so it's concerning.
    If you view the cache of the search results, do they have any dates on them so we can judge at what point they were cached?

    If you sign up for Google Webmaster Tools, you can request that certain pages / groups of pages be removed from the index - they (google) are usually quite quick at doing it, so this may be a method of getting those pages off there asap. You can also use the tools to see what a page looks like to the search engines robot, so can double check that the search engine isn't seeing those pages now.

  • JoAnn
    • The Incredible Code Injector

    I do not use a cache plugin. I have attached two pages of search results showing what I mean. I realize that only the excerpts show, but their names show and a bit of what they wrote.This is very disturbing to my members who value their privacy--as I do.

    I do use Webmaster Tools, but I google will only remove pages that are no longer live and return a 404.

  • Barry
    • DEV MAN’s Mascot

    Hi @JoAnn looks like your pages didn't show.

    You can remove sensitive pages from Googles index using webmaster tools - see this page below:

    However, if you urgently need to remove content from Google (for example, if you’ve already removed, updated, or blocked a page accidentally displaying confidential information like credit card numbers), you can request expedited removal of those URLs.

  • JoAnn
    • The Incredible Code Injector

    I really don't see how I could possibly list all the pages that I wanted removed. I have hundreds of members, almost 2,000 topics, each with dozens to hundreds of comments. As you can see from the examples, these pages also include activity, forums, topics, groups, etc. This is like a giant pyramid.

    In an attempt to cover that, which I hope will work, I requested that google remove all the page.Let's hope it works.

    My concern is how and why this happened and how to prevent it from continuing.

  • aecnu
    • WP Unicorn

    Greetings JoAnn,

    I am sorry to hear that these pages were spider-ed though you did not want them to be. Though I do not have any advice to have them removed that you have not already taken, I do have advice to hopefully prevent it in the future.

    It is using a robots.txt file to tell Google and other search engine not to spider either an entire site or just folders/directories that you choose. Not all spiders/search engines obey meaning yes there are rogue search engines out there, but for the most part they do obey and Google certainly does.

    A robots.txt file if a plain text file you put in the root of your web site and almost all search engines actively process it. Below is a sample of a robots.txt file:

    # Place this code in a robots.txt to prevent search engines to
    # index your wordpress folders.
    # If your site is in a subfolder, edit the file as necessary,
    # i.e. /wp-content/ becomes /subfolder/wp-content/, etc. and
    # place the file in the domain's root folder.
    User-agent: *
    Disallow: /wp-content/cache/
    Disallow: /wp-content/themes/
    Disallow: /wp-content/plugins/
    Disallow: /wp-admin/
    Disallow: /wp-includes/
    Disallow: /wp-login.php
    Disallow: /wp-register.php
    Disallow: /images/
    Disallow: /imaging/
    Disallow: /our-members/

    In the last line I included the folder listing your member that you indicated in your last post.

    I have attached below a ready made robots.txt file for you to go ahead and download, unzip, and then upload to the root of your WordPress installation.

    For more information about robots.txt I present to you Introduction to "robots.txt"

    This should do this task for you in the future.

    Cheers, Joe

  • JoAnn
    • The Incredible Code Injector

    Thanks so much Joe. I did write a robots txt and it seems to have solved the problem. A few are still showing up but I think they are slowly filtering out. IE does not show any while Chrome still has a few.

    I am hopeful that any references to my members will eventually disappear.

    Thanks again.


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