It even occurs to the most successful marketers. When you use Google to look for your website, you realize that it has indexed some pages that you would wish to remain private or hidden.
This could include out-of-date material, duplicate content, or information that is sensitive or personal. One of your first reactions after discovering this stuff on Google may be to panic.
Take a deep breath. Also, keep in mind the following options for removing information from Google’s cache:
Remove or update the content
Determine the type of content you’re working with before using the no-index tag:
- If the content in question is private, remove it from your site or make sure that protection is activated on the page so that crawlers cannot access password-protected content. If you’re fully removing the material, make sure to put up a 301 redirect so that users are directed to a relevant page rather than a 404 error page.
- If the content merely has to be changed, make the changes in your CMS and then enter the URL into Google Search Console to have it re-indexed fast.
- If you wish to preserve duplicate content on your website (for example, any blocks of information that appear more than once across the site), keep it as is and use a no-index tag on the pages you don’t want crawling. Additionally, provide a rel=canonical link to the page you DO want to be indexed.
You can now wait for Google to re-crawl your website, at which point the content should either disappear from search results or be automatically changed.
If, on the other hand, the content issue is urgent and you need it deleted right now, go to Step 2.
In Google Search Console, add the URL to the “Removals” tool.
Anyone who maintains or owns a website can use Google Search Console for free.
If you are not yet a verified owner of the website, follow Google’s verification requirements to:
- Go to your account and log in.
- From the “Index” menu, select “Removal.”
- Go to the “Temporary Removals” option and click it.
- Click the “New Request” option (keep it set to “Remove this URL only”) and type the URL of the page you want to be completely removed from Google’s cache and search results.
- Then select “Submit Request”.
In most cases, Google will respond to your request within 24 to 48 hours.
Other choices in this section include:
- If you want the URL to stay the same but the cache and snippet for the page to be updated faster, do the following:
- i. Go to the “Clear Cached URL” tab and click it.
- If you’d like to exclude an entire folder or directory from search results, follow these steps:
- i. Choose “Remove all URLs with this prefix” from the drop-down menu.
When a “Removed” status appears on your Submitted Requests list, you know your request has been processed. Please keep in mind that this is merely a workaround. To remove the material permanently, you must either remove it from your site or edit the source page.
Check the results of the search to see if the removal was successful.
It’s possible that after successfully removing a page from the index, the page still appears in search results and the cache.
Please enter the exact URL into the search field to see what results are returned to determine whether it has been removed.
Because the removal request is case-sensitive, if your URLs do not redirect to their lower-case variants and canonicalization is not enabled, you will need to submit numerous copies of the URL.
Double-check that you’ve followed Google’s removal instructions.
Keep in mind that the link removal request you made through Google Search Console is temporary. If you don’t take the following steps to prevent access to your content, it may appear in search results pages again after 90 days:
- Use robots.txt to block URLs.
- Password-protect your server folders to block URLs.
- Use meta tags to prevent search indexing.
- Turn off your Google+ Local profile and any Google properties.
You should be fine to go now that you have everything in place!