Google Usability Issues with Attachment Pages Explained

Published:  January 29, 2019
Google Usability Issues with Attachment Pages Explained

A client of our recently received a notice from Google Search Console (GSC) about  "Search Console has identified that your site is affected by 2 new issues of type Mobile Usability" and asked us to take a look.
It turns out the error was coming from an attachment page (the page for the image file), which led us into the following explanation about what content should be indexed and what shouldn't

So in WordPress, there's pages, posts and media.  As you'd expect, each page and post has its own URL. So far so good.
But for media files, WP sees each media file (image, etc) as it's own element, so in WP you really have a list of pages, posts, images, etc. And the reason they do it this way is because your images can get indexed separately from your website (as when someone does a google image search).   This is also one of the reasons that if you were to look at your sitemap file, you'd see multiple sitemap (which is the intended behavior)
The image below is from our sitemap index (not the clients) but it shows what "items" WordPress is indexing.
And you can use Yoast SEO plugin (which is what we use) to control what you want indexed and what you don't want indexed.  For example, some people like to have their category pages indexed, while others don't. Large blogs with multiple authors might want their authors page indexed, while smaller sites with a single author might not find it necessary.
At the end of the day, you should check your XML sitemap to see what's being indexed, and investigate from there if you have questions. And if you'd like to check yours right now, here's a short post that explains how to do it.
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