If you have a Google Webmaster Tools account Google makes it fairly easy to remove a post, article, or what have you from the search results index. If you don’t have an account you really should get one if you have a website. It is free, and pretty simple to add your website. Not to mention it will provide a lot of additional statistics and information about your website and links.
So why would anyone want to remove a post from Google?
There are a number of reasons why you might want to do so. Maybe you recently deleted an article or post from your website, and you want to make sure that it is totally removed from Google.
Perhaps you have a page/content that you just don’t want to be found in a Google search. I know a lot of people would say of course I want it to be found otherwise I wouldn’t have posted it. Well believe it or not, there are quite a few reasons why someone wouldn’t want a particular post to be directly found in Google.
I actually have a join page on the main part of this site that I exclude from Google. I do this because it’s a spam magnet. People search Google for specific terms surrounding this page. When they find it they sign up and instantly go to work posting link spam. So I would prefer that this page isn’t available in Google at all.
Steps to remove a post URL from Google
To remove a post from Google the first thing you will want to do is review this page:
Google requirements for removing content
As you can see you will need to do at least one of the following:
“Make sure the content is no longer live on the web. Requests for the page must return an HTTP 404 (not found) or 410 status code.
Block the content using a robots.txt file.
Block the content using a meta noindex tag.”
If you have deleted a post from your website it would need to be returning a 404 (Page Not Found) error/status when you try to visit the page. If for some reason it doesn’t then you can block it with a robots.txt file.
If your page or post exists (you are not deleting it – you just want to remove the link from Google) then you would need to add the noindex tag to the page header, or use a robots.txt to block it.
When we say: “block” we mean blocking Googlebot, not blocking access to the page for everyone else. The page will still be publicly accessible.
Using robots.txt to remove a URL/link from Google
In the following example I will use a robots.txt file to block/prevent Googlebot from the page. I need to either add a line of code to robots.txt if I already have one, or I would need to create a robots.txt file and add a line of code to it.
Robots.txt should exist (or be created/uploaded) in the main directory/part of your website. If your website is example.com then its location should be example.com/robots.txt.
Let’s assume the link we want to remove from Google is:
If we already have a robots.txt file we would add this line to the file:
If we don’t yet have a robots.txt we could create a basic simple one with the following:
Again, that would need to be saved within your web hosting account to:
Once you have it saved you can login to Google Webmaster Tools and tell Google that we want to remove the link.
After you login to Webmaster Tools, select your domain/website (if you have more than one) and go to:
Click on the “Create a new removal request” button.
Enter the URL/Link in the box and click the “Continue” button.
In this case I would enter:
It does say case-sensitive. So if your URL/Link address contains a capital letter be sure to use one.
You now have the option of choosing
-Remove page from search results and cache
-Remove page from cache only
Make your selection and click the “Submit Request” button.
Once you submit the request it will appear as pending on the “Remove URLs” page. You can cancel the request if you messed up or change your mind.
Usually URL Removal requests are processed (completely removed) within 24 hours. So if you change your mind you would want to cancel the request right away.
Once it has been processed and remove from the Google index your request no longer appears on the “Remove URLs” page.
You can verify that the URL/Link is removed by going to Google and entering the following:
(use site: followed by the real URL/Link you removed).
You should find no result returned or a “Your search – did not match any documents”.