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The disappearing act: removing a page from the Google index

7 minutes of reading
The disappearing act: removing a page from the Google index
Category SEO

There’s no doubt that Google is the king of search engines and what it decides to index (or not) can have a huge impact on your website’s organic traffic. Whether your content is there by mistake, or whether it’s simply not relevant to what people are searching for, removing pages from the Google index is something you might want to consider in order to improve your rankings and boost your traffic.


Link building is the process of creating links that point back to your site. These links can be established by a variety of means, including social media shares, guest posting on other websites, and more. Links are important for SEO because search engines like Google use them as indicators of relevance – the more links you have pointing at your site, the higher it will rank in search results.

Internal linking

Internal linking is the process of creating links on your website that point towards other pages on your site. When you link to another page, both pages will benefit by getting an increase in organic search engine rankings and traffic.

External linking

External linking refers to the act of linking away from your site and directing readers off your website. This can be done through blog commenting, social media, or any other online forum where links are allowed.

Natural profile strategy is all you need

Natural link profile strategy is the best way for you to build up your website’s authority and popularity. When you have links coming in from all over, it raises the chances that someone will find your site organically through a search engine. The goal is to create a balance between different types of links (dofollow, nofollow, sponsored, ugc) so that they complement each other.

Why might you want to remove a page from Google?

Unwanted page and link building strategy

There are many reasons you may want to remove your page from Google. It might be because the page is outdated and no longer relevant, it might be due to negative publicity, or it might be for other personal reasons. Whatever the reason, there are some steps that you can take in order to remove your site from the search engine index.

In the context of link building strategy, it can sometimes be advantageous to remove an unwanted page from the Google index. If you have pages that are receiving links and traffic but do not meet your company’s standards, it may be advisable to disappear them rather than let them continue to rank and receive links. Otherwise you could end up with a very low-quality backlink profile that might even hurt your site. Plus, removing pages will allow you to set higher expectations for content quality on other sites in the future.

Removal vs. deindexing vs. delisting

  • Removal is the permanent removal of content, including removing the HTML code. A page that has been removed will not appear in search results for any keyword or phrase.
  • Deindexing is similar to removal, but instead of removing the HTML code, it adds an HTTP header that prevents pages from appearing in search results.
  • Delisting is when you reach out directly to Google and request they remove your website from the index.

What should I use as a replacement?

It is important to have an alternate web address for your website that can be used in the event that you need to remove a specific page from your site and want it removed from search engine results. One way of doing this is by adding links to all the pages on your site to other, more relevant pages on your site. This will ensure that the content is still available for searchers even if it was removed from the original page.

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How to disappear?

First identify the URLs

First identify the URLs where the page is live and crawling. You can use the command line tool curl, wget or any other site crawler. These will help you identify all of the links on a webpage and find those that are indexed by Google. You should also examine your internal linking strategy and confirm that all links are pointing in the right direction. Finally, change every instance of this URL so it points to either another page on your site or an appropriate 404 error message.

Removing a single page or entire website

Next, you have to decide whether you want to delete single page or the entire website. Removing a single page, which is much less intensive, is the best way for an individual or business to hide a negative piece of content. Doing so will minimize the appearance of that content in search results and make it easier for you to tell your story. Removing an entire website, on the other hand, may be necessary if you’re trying to remove an entire site from Google’s index rather than just one page.

Temporarily blocking URLs on your site

An effective link building strategy is about more than just getting links. You also need to maintain the quality of your backlinks and remove any harmful or low-quality links. To do so, you can temporarily block URLs on your site. Blocking pages for indexing in robots.txt file will help ensure that these pages are not crawled by search engine bots.

Canceling a Request

If you want to cancel a temporary block in search results, use Google Search Console. Open the removal tool, find your request in the history, and then select the “cancel request” section.

URL blocking

URL blocking is an act that prevents someone or something from being indexed by the search engine. It can be done manually by request to the website administrator, or it can be accomplished automatically with specific coding. The most popular method of automatic URL blocking is through the Robots Exclusion Protocol (REP), which will tell crawlers not to index pages on a certain domain. Other ways of doing this are through IP address blocking and directory exclusion.

Permanent removal

Permanently removing content is difficult because there are no guarantees that it will be removed from the search engine. However, if you can’t or don’t want to delete the page, one way of achieving removal would be by preventing web crawlers from accessing it. Remove or update content on your site. Block access to the content, for example by setting a password protection. Make sure that the page should not be indexed using the noindex meta tag. This method is less secure than the others. In this case, the use of the robots.txt file is discouraged.

301 Redirect

A 301 redirect is a server response that tells the browser the resource it is requesting has been permanently moved and there is no forwarding address. This status code will be sent by the web server when it receives an HTTP request that asks for a file or directory.

Robots.txt file

A robots.txt file can tell web crawlers which pages to crawl and index, as well as which URLs should be blocked or ignored by web crawlers. With the right settings, you can prevent your site from being indexed altogether. Keep in mind that this only works for a single page or directory, it won’t block all of your site from being crawled and indexed.

Nofollow or noindex tag

A quick note on the difference between nofollow and noindex tags. The former prevents search engines from following links in your content, while the latter tells them not to index your content at all. Although they both serve similar purposes, it’s best not to use them together. Doing so can confuse Google crawlers and sometimes lead to errors with crawling. Noindex is preferable for pages that are less important or want to be removed from indexing entirely. Using this tag is also an effective way of telling webmasters that you have updated the page or don’t want it crawled any longer.

The last thoughts

It is possible to remove pages from the search engine, but doing so can be difficult and time-consuming. If you’re looking for a way to disappear from the search engine, it will likely require some work on your part. However, by knowing what steps to take and what pitfalls to avoid you can make disappearing easier.

Aleksandra Pietrzak
Curator at the National Museum in Poznań, graduate of Art History at the Jagiellonian University and Contemporary Art at the Pedagogical University of Krakow, curator of exhibitions and author of scientific and popular texts. A lover of contemporary art, literature and travel.
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