How to Remove A Page From Google

While business owners are usually eager to have Google index their site, there are instances where you don’t want Google to index the content on your website.  This may be because you accidentally used copyrighted text or your content is for internal use only.  Regardless, there are two easy ways to remove a page from google.  And while they aren’t immediate, in time they will register on the google search results pages.  

How to Remove a Page from Google

  1. The first method is the robots exclusion protocol.  This involves using the robot meta-element NOINDEX.  By adding NOINDEX to the <head> area of a webpage, you can warn Google off from indexing a website.  Easy peasy.  The hard part is then waiting for Google and Bing to register the change.

    Another option is to use an exclusion protocol with a robots.txt file. A DISALLOW statement in the robots.txt discourages Googlebot from indexing the pages identified in the text document. The page may still be indexed, but the exclusion protocol should keep Google from displaying the content in search results. This is not a reliable way to keep these pages from skewing your analytics, but may help.

  2. The second method is GSC or Google Search Console.  This is a free tool that can be quickly and easily activated.  By using GSC, you can choose a specific page to be removed from Google’s index.  Bing also offers a similar webmaster console that works in the same way.  

In order to remove a URL using GSC:

      • Log into Google Search Console and select the website you’d like to manage.
      • Select “Optimization” in the left-hand navigation menu.
      • Select the “Remove URL” option in the sub-menu.
      • Select “Create a new request for removal.”
      • Enter the URL for the page you want to be removed and confirm your choice.
      • Wait. It may take up to 48 hours.
      • GSC also now provides an update on the state of a removal request. If your request is denied, clicking “Learn more” will give you more information.

It’s important to remember that a removal using Google’s GSC may be temporary.  After 90 days, the removal request expires.  Because of this, it’s important to include a NOINDEX tag in the <head> of the website to guarantee it’s not indexed again.  

  1. Hiding your page behind a login is another way to keep Google from indexing your page.  A password is a guaranteed way to make sure internal content isn’t mistakenly indexed.  Personal and other secure information should always be protected this way.  
  2. Sometimes, you may simply want to refresh Google’s cache of your content.  To do so, you’ll need to remove old content but NOT the URL.  Once you’ve updated the content, you can either request that Google remove the cache or wait patiently for google to re-index your content.  In order to keep the URL but delete the cache, select “Remove page from cache only.”  You can also add a NOARCHIVE tag to the page to prevent it from being cached by Google until the tag is removed.  
  3. The single most reliable way to ensure a website isn’t being indexed is to remove it entirely.  Deleting the page will return a 404 or 410 status code.  Upon receipt of the code, Google will remove the page from it’s index.  

Methods That Do Not Work 

  1. Eliminating links to a page will not guarantee that the page will not be crawled by Google. 
  2. While a NOFOLLOW attribute in a link will stop Google from following that link, there is not a way to stop links to your page that do not have the NOFOLLOW attribute.  The NOFOLLOW attribute does not prevent any page from being indexed by Google.  
  3. Using customizable content such as form inputs, javascript, and flash used to limit indexing, but Google has gotten significantly better at crawling these formats.  

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