De-indexing is the process of removing a web page or website from search engine results pages (SERPs).
This can be done for a variety of reasons, such as removing outdated content, eliminating duplicate content, or removing pages that violate search engine guidelines.
In this article, we will explore what de-indexing is, why it is important, and seven methods for how to do it effectively.
"Deindexing is like scrubbing a page from the internet. It'll still be visible to website visitors who type the URL directly, but they won't be able to find it via Google or other search engines."—Ben Goodey, SEO Consultant
What is De-Indexing?
De-indexing is the process of removing a web page or website from search engine results pages (SERPs). This means that the page or site will no longer appear in search results when users search for relevant keywords. There are several reasons why a page or site may be de-indexed, including:
- Violating search engine guidelines, such as using black hat SEO tactics or engaging in spammy behavior
- Having duplicate content on the site or page
- Having outdated or irrelevant content on the site or page
- Having broken links or technical issues that prevent the page or site from being indexed properly
De-indexing can have a significant impact on a website's traffic and visibility. If a page or site is de-indexed, it may not appear in search results at all, making it much harder for users to find.
7 Methods for De-Indexing
There are several methods for de-indexing a page or website. Here are seven of the most common:
Method 1: Request removal of URL from Google Search Console
One of the simplest ways to de-index a page is to use the "Remove URL" tool in Google Search Console.
Here's a quick guide:
- Go to Google Search Console
- Click "removals" in the side bar
- Click "new request"
- Enter your URL
This tool allows website owners to remove URLs from Google's search results temporarily or permanently. Once you submit a removal request, Google will process it within a few days, and the page should be removed from search results.
Method 2: Contact the website owner directly
If you have a relationship with the website owner, such as a vendor or partner, you can contact them directly and request that they remove the unwanted content. This method is particularly useful if the content is not illegal or violates Google's policies but is simply outdated or inaccurate.
Method 3: Contact Google's legal team
If the content is illegal or violates Google's content policies, you can contact Google's legal team and request that they remove the content. Google has a team dedicated to handling legal requests, and they will review the request and take appropriate action.
Method 4: Use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
If the content is copyrighted and hosted on a website that you do not have a relationship with, you can file a DMCA takedown request. This request asks the website owner to remove the content or face legal consequences. The DMCA is a US law, so it only applies to content hosted in the US.
Method 5: Use the Right to Be Forgotten
If you are a European citizen, you can use the Right to Be Forgotten to request the removal of personal information from Google's index. This method is particularly useful if the unwanted content is related to your personal life and you want to protect your privacy.
Method 6: Use meta tags to block search engines
If you want to remove a specific page from Google's index but do not want to de-index the entire website, you can use meta tags to block search engines from indexing that page. This method is useful if you have a temporary issue with a page and want to remove it from search results temporarily.
Method 7: Remove the content from the website
If you have control over the website that hosts the unwanted content, the simplest solution is to remove the content altogether. This method is particularly useful if the content is outdated, inaccurate, or no longer serves a purpose. Removing the content ensures that it is not indexed by Google or other search engines.
What most people get wrong about de-indexing in Google
De-indexing in Google is a serious matter that requires careful attention to detail. Unfortunately, many people make mistakes that can cause more harm than good. Here are some common misconceptions about de-indexing that you should avoid:
- Assuming that de-indexing is a quick fix
Some people think that de-indexing is an easy and quick solution to remove unwanted content from Google. However, this is far from the truth. De-indexing is a complex process that requires careful planning and execution. It can take days or even weeks for Google to process a de-indexing request, and there is no guarantee that the request will be approved.
- Thinking that de-indexing is the only solution
De-indexing should not be the first course of action when dealing with unwanted content. There are other solutions that you should consider before requesting de-indexing. For example, you can try to have the content removed by contacting the website owner directly, or by reporting the content to Google using the Search Console's removal tool.
- Believing that de-indexing is permanent
De-indexing is not a permanent solution. If the website owner adds the content back to their site, Google will re-index it. Therefore, de-indexing should only be used as a last resort when all other options have been exhausted.
- Assuming that de-indexing is the same as removing content from the internet
De-indexing only removes content from Google's index. It does not remove the content from the internet altogether. The content can still be accessed through other search engines or by directly visiting the website.
- Ignoring the potential consequences of de-indexing
De-indexing can have unintended consequences, such as lowering the overall ranking of your website. This is because Google considers the number and quality of links pointing to a website when ranking it in search results. If you de-index a page that has valuable links pointing to it, you may inadvertently harm the ranking of your website.
What is de-indexing?
De-indexing is the process of removing a page or website from Google's search index.
Why would someone want to de-index pages?
Website owners may want to de-index pages that contain outdated or unwanted content or violate Google's guidelines.
How can I request removal from Google's index?
You can request removal from Google's index using Google's removal tool, which allows you to request removal of specific URLs or entire directories from Google's index.
Can I block pages from being indexed using robots.txt?
Yes, you can block pages from being indexed using a robots.txt file. This method only blocks search engines