Google Launches Tool For Easy URL Removal On Third-Party Sites

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As content on the Internet gets modified or sometimes removed altogether, Google wants to help users by providing a tool to have search results updated more quickly. Today the company announced the launch of an improved URL removal tool designed to make it easier to request updates based on changes of third-party web content. Google’s improved URL removal tool can be accessed here.

John Mueller, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, describes the functionality of this tool:

This tool is useful for removals on other peoples’ websites. You could use this tool if a page has been removed completely, or if it was just changed and you need to have the snippet & cached page removed.

Removing a whole pages requires the page to have a proper HTTP result code (403, 404, or 410), a noindex robots meta tag, or a robots.txt file that is blocking the page . Then you enter the URL in the URL removal tool and Google will analyze it to see if it is gone. The removal request will be initiated if Google detects the page is no longer there.

If the page is still live, and you just want to remove content that appears in snippets but is no longer on the actual page, you can use the same tool. Go to the tool and enter a word that no longer appears on the live page and Google will take it from there.

If you’re the actual owner of the site, then it’s a lot faster & easier to use the Webmaster Tools URL removal feature. For more information about this new tool please read the latest post on the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog.

Matt Southern

Matt Southern

Lead News Writer
Matt Southern is the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing flows through in the expert industry coverage he provides.
Matt Southern
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  • Satish

    Oh wonderful! Now what if our competitors find the pages and post them on our basis? Soon our later you can expect a update on having too many 404 and error pages. -_-

    • Matt O’Toole

      I think you’ve misunderstood this completely. Your page would need to return a 4xx, so it’s not going to be possible for a competitor to start getting your live pages removed from Google’s index. I think Google might well have considered that!

  • Jason Smith

    Hi I am a content marketer and an author. I am generally delighted to use that tool. What is that bothers me is the removal of information on other site might remove the whole page. If it is the case then I would say may give rise to negetive SEO. Hope google is taking this into consideration.

    • Boardwalk

      I second that… Whenever we have the ability to do “something” on someone else website, it actually opens up another route for negative seo purposes which I’m so afraid of now

  • Robert Lewis

    So if I understand this correctly, Google has made it simpler to remove one of your URLs from its index, correct? The only other way I know is to add “no index” to the code, but that update wouldn’t take effect until the next time Google’s spiders crawled the page, which may take months.

    Am I on the right path or way off base?

    • Perry Bernard

      Hi Robert, the page needs to return a 4XX code, or be set to no-index, or have a robots.txt file blocking that page. Either will do. Once any of these conditions exist, then you can use Google’s Webmaster Tools URL Removal to remove the URL from the cache. I have used this feature a lot over the last few months for my clients who often have pages showing in the index that really shouldn’t be. This feature has been around a while already for websites that you have claimed ownership of in Webmaster Tools – and proven yours via various tests.
      What Matt is talking about is an external tool (external to GWT that is) that makes URL removal possible even if you don’t own the site in question. This can’t lead to negative SEO because the page is genuinely set to no-index, or returning a 4XX. i.e. the website owner already doesn’t have content they want indexed or the page is actually gone. Google will take no action if you request the URL removal but the page is still live and not set to no-index.

    • Perry Bernard

      By the way, response time for the tool in Webmaster Tools is about 1-24 hours. On average, pages I have requested removal for have disappeared from Google’s index after about 12 hours on average.

  • Krish

    Wow Awesome!! I appreciate Google launching this tool 🙂 (y)