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How to Get Rid of Unwanted WordPress Categories

Posted on by in WordPress Tutorials

Every now and then when writing new blog posts you have to categorize posts a certain way so they show up correctly in a theme, or post to a certain page. A lot of modern themes and plugins use categories to uniquely place posts.

Unfortunately when using categories like so, they still show up on the blog or website in question. Because these extra categories end up being indexed, it leads to a very fragmented category listing. It also leads to unwanted categories displaying directly on the WordPress blog or website.

This can be fixed two separate ways. The first involves blocking the category in question from indexing on the site, so basically it still exists as far as the theme is concerned, but is invisible visually. The second method involves actually deleting the related category from the WordPress blog or site template.

Method 1: Use The Robots

Most people are probably reading this and wondering, “what robots”?

What a lot of those people don’t know, is that the WordPress installation actually has a file called Robots.txt that handles the related site’s meta data, sitemaps and search engine related information. It also includes information about the internal links, including what we’re looking for- the categories.

The method to blocking categories in the Robots.txt file is quite simple and straightforward, however it only stops search engines from indexing the category in question. This means that the category will be blocked on the site, but will still appear in SERP if there are ANY existing links.

Look for the following code lines in the Robots.txt file:

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User-Agent: Googlebot
Disallow:
 
User-Agent: *
Disallow:

The above code lines may or may not have additional commands attached depending on individual theme or WordPress settings.

Just add in the proper commands to the above code so it reflects the following:

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User-Agent: Googlebot
Disallow: /category/featured
 
User-Agent: *
Disallow: /category/featured

If you use this method to block your categories through the Robots.txt file you also have to block indexing using the following tag in the header section of the related pages. So basically, any pages that display the blocked category need to be given the following code in the header tag:

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<head>
<meta name="robots" content="noindex,follow" />
</head>

Obviously the head tags should not be included if copying the above code directly, the header tags are just to show where the related code should be placed.

Method 2: Making the Categories Invisible

The next method is also quite simple and just involves injecting code into the proper location so that the category in question can be visually hidden.

Categories can show up in many locations like a blog sidebar, navigation panel or home page. Each location where a category shows up needs to be altered with related code in order to be completely hidden from view.

Before doing anything we need to find the cat_ID or the category ID of the category we want blocked. To do this, simply navigate to the categories menu option, under the posts tab, in the WordPress dashboard panel. Then simply hover the mouse over the category you want blocked, and a URL will appear in the bottom left section of the window.

The category ID is the number listed after category&tag_ID in the URL that appears.

Navigation Menu Categories

Important navigation menu commands, and the actual navigation menu itself, for any WordPress enabled blog or site is located in the Header.php file.

To remove a category from the WordPress blog or site’s navigation menu simply enter the following code within the proper section of the Header.php file.

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&exclude=cat_ID to <?php wp_list_categories(); ?>

Make sure to replace the cat_ID tag in the code segment above with the related ID number for the category you want to hide on your blog.

Sidebar Categories

To hide code from the WordPress blog or site’s sidebar panel we will inject pretty much the same code as above but this time within the Sidebar.php file.

Keep in mind that this code segment will not work if the category is being displayed through a WordPress widget. If a widget is being used, you will have to individually edit the code in the widget to hide the category. This does work however if the categories are designed to natively display through the active WordPress theme.

The following code must be added to the category code within the Sidebar.php WordPress theme file:

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&exclude=cat_ID to <?php wp_list_categories(); ?>

Main Page Categories

To prevent any categories from displaying on the main page of the WordPress enabled blog or website we simply need to replace existing code of the page in question.

Note: In order to do this edit we need proper admin access to the blog or website, because it involves editing important source and installation files.

Look for the following code:

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<?php the_category(', ') ?>

And replace the above code with the following (make sure to replace cat_ID with the proper ID of the category you want removed):

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<?php foreach((get_the_category()) as $cat) { if (!($cat->cat_ID=='52')) echo '<a href="' . get_bloginfo('url') . '/category/' . $cat->category_nicename . '/">'. $cat->cat_name . '</a>' . ', '; } ?>

NOTE: It is important with all of the above methods that you don’t just copy paste the related code, make sure to add it to existing code so that the final tags are extended.

For example here is a bit of finished code that has been extended with the above commands:

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<?php wp_list_categories('sort_column=name&title_li=&exclude=108'); ?>

In the case above, the related category section is now set to automatically be sorted by name, and will exclude the category with the ID number of “108”.

Categories Successfully Blocked

No matter what method you decided to use, those pesky categories should now be completely blocked from displaying on your WordPress blog or website. There are additional areas on a site where categories can appear, so if you don’t see your location listed here check out the source for additional information.

Source: Spanish SEO- Blocking and Excluding Categories in WordPress

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Comments (1)

Comment by JIllian says:

So I have a separate category problem. I want my homepage to display the full content of just my most recent post and I changed some code in the loops of my blog but now the post shows up but the small thumbnail of my most recent post is also there. How do I remove that thumbnail? I asked the tech support for the said template but he has been very unclear.

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