How To Remove URLs From Google Search (5 Methods)

How To Remove URLs From Google Search (5 Methods)

More than 50% of the traffic of all the websites come from organic searches.

This proves that SEO is an innate need of every website. With SEO, they have a continuous online presence, increasing traffic, conversions, sales, profit, etc. Thus, for every web page of a website uploaded on the World Wide Web, the important part is the webpage getting and indexed. But what if there are some pages which you don’t want to be indexed? There may be many reasons for the need of removal of URLs such as duplicate content, similar content, wanting to limit access for some users, etc. So, how do Remove URLs from google index? Let’s understand. But, firstly, let’s check out its if the page is being indexed in the first place.

How to Determine if a URL is Indexed?

The easiest way to check out if a URL is indexed is by opening Google Search Engine and typing in “site: Your URL”. However, it isn’t always right. Thus, the best way would be by registering your website on the Google Search Console (previously Google Webmaster’s Tool). You can use the Index Coverage Report within GSC which lets you know if the page is indexed or not. Or else, you can simply enter your URL in the GSC. Also, there are a number of URL Inspection Tools using which can do the deed.

Now that you know your URL is indexed, and you have determined that you wish to remove it, let’s see how to do it. There are various ways in which this can be achieved. The methods which you use may vary based upon various things including – if you control the page, if the information is sensitive and you wish to restrict the access, if there is a similar page and you want that to be indexed, etc.

How to Remove URLs From Google Search?

Following are the various methods using which you can remove the URLs -

Robots noindex tag: Within the webpage code, there are meta robots tag and x-robots tag, where you can add the function of ‘noindex’. Using these two tags you can stop the search engine from indexing the page, PDFs etc. Another option would be you sending a HTTP request. This request should contain a ‘nonindex’ header, that will disallow the indexing.

Remove the content of the page: You can simply remove the page with the content on it. And while the page is not actually available because being removed by you, a cached version may be available. But, that’s fine as it remains only temporarily, and then the server will be responding with error code of 404 i.e. not found or else 410 i.e. gone.

URL removal tool: In cases of cases of emergency like leakage of sensitive data, personal information, or some security problems, you can temporarily hide the content of the pages using a tool. While it is called URL removal tool, this process is rather temporary with Google Search Engine crawling the content, but hiding it from the user for about six months; and Bing hiding it temporarily for three months. Again, this is a temporary URL removal method, and you need to apply any of the other mentioned permanent method.

Canonicalization of the pages: This is the method you apply in case there are a number of versions of a single page. In this case the best option would be that you would want to keep a single page which is the most optimized, while the other versions are removed for the users. This is necessary to be done as similar pages can be considered as duplicate content, and can negatively affect your website’s SEO. There are two ways in which you can achieve canonicalization – (i)You put in the Canonical tag in the source code. This tag will specify which webpage you want to be the canonical page. Do remember that the Canonical tag is simply a hint which would not work if the pages are not similar. (ii) Adding a Redirect is another way. You can add in a 302 redirect which specifies that the page has been temporarily moved (to the one you want to be your canonical page). Or you can add in a 301 redirect which means that another page has taken over this page permanently.

Restricted Access: Use this method if you have some pages which you want accessible for limited users - such as for staging or for development sites or for test, content which is only restricted to the member, content for internal networks only, etc. Thus, if you want only a group of people to have access to specific pages and the search engine should not be able to access it; this is your method. You can restrict the access by adding a kind of login system, thus only those with a password i.e. with HTTP Authentication will have access. You can also opt for IP Whitelisting, so that only specific IP address get access to pages.

These are the 5 most common methods using which you can Remove URLs From Google Search. Removal of URL form search is many times required as a part of the SEO Audit. As it removes the unnecessary clutter, or deletes the pages which do not fetch traffic. This thus becomes an important step towards good SEO practice.