Removing Content from Google Index

Whether it is for reputation management, eliminating duplicate content for SEO purposes or removing sensitive information indexed by search engines, you might want to remove content from Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

As with your health, prevention is better than cure. As a webmaster, you may try preventing the search engines from finding your pages by not linking to them, using nofollow attribute or hide them behind JavaScript.  However, there is no guarantee that these steps work.  If you have sensitive content on the site that you would like to keep it hidden from the prying eyes of search engines, your best bet is to hide it behind authentication.  You may also consider using robots.txt file to disallow search engines from crawling and/or indexing those pages.

If Google has already crawled and indexed the pages you did not want to be public, you can file a request to remove the page from Google index through URL removal request tool in Google Webmaster Tools.  Once the request is submitted, it usually takes up to 48 hours for Google to either accept or deny your request.

Remove Content from Google Index

Requesting Removal of Content from Google Index

For Google to remove a page from its index, you need to ensure that the page is no longer live on your site and returns a 404 or 410 HTTP status code, or block the content through robots.txt file or meta noindex tag.

You can also remove pages from Google cache by either adding a meta noarchive tag to the page or change the content of the page all together. One word of caution: make sure you know what you are doing and what pages you are removing.  Because the content removed from Google index using this tool will be excluded from the Google index for at least 90 days.  You can only request for a re-inclusion after the 90-day cooling period.

Filed Under: Search Engine Optimization


About the Author

Nima Asrar Haghighi is an Internet Marketing consultant with expertise in SEM (PPC Advertising), Organic SEO, RSS, Social Media and Web Analytics (Google Analytics IQ Certified). Nima holds an MBA in marketing, B.Eng. in Electrical Engineering, Project Management Certification, and CIW (Certified Internet Webmaster) in E-commerce. You can reach Nima at +Google Plus or LinkedIn.

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