The New Google Removal Tool: Use It To Remove Unwanted Content on Third-Party Sites
Google recently announced an improvement to its URL removal tool. This tool was helpful for webmasters or users who needed to have content removed from the search engine results. The original tool was a bit confusing for some users, but the improvement helps walk users through the removal process and gives feedback on the process in case mistakes are made.
What is the URL Removal Tool?
The removal tool is available for webmasters and searchers. For webmasters, they can request removal of pages on their site that they need removed from Google’s search engine quickly. For end-users, the removal tool removes deleted pages and content that still shows up in Google’s cached results when the live pages are no longer active.
The old tool was confusing for end-users, because it was difficult to understand how to remove a URL and what constitutes a valid URL removal. With the new tool, Google has a process that helps walk you through the process.
How to Remove a URL
The Google URL removal tool is found at google.com/webmasters/tools/removals. The page is more self-explanatory than the previous version. First, a list of URL removal requests is shown. You can toggle the view using the drop-down box, but it defaults to “All.” You want to use the “All” option when you need to see canceled, processing and successful removals. If you need to cancel a request, the “All” option will show you any active removals. This option is also valuable when you need to view a list of removals that other authorized users have made such as an SEO or employee.
To remove a URL, enter its address in the text box and click “Request Removal.” The request is immediately submitted, but it can take several hours for the request to complete. If you need to stop the removal process, you can also click “Cancel” to stop the process.
Types of URLs You Can Remove
Google obviously needs to control URLs that can be removed by third-parties. You can’t remove just any page from a website, or competitors would have the competition removed from the index.
You can only remove a “live” URL if it returns a “not found” server status, which is a 404 error code that means “temporarily unavailable.” The error code returned can also be a 410, which means the URL is permanently removed. If the web page is a live page with any other status, Google will not honor the URL removal request.
Another good reason to use the Google tool is for updates when the URL owner makes changes but these changes aren’t reflected in Google’s cache. When Google’s cache isn’t updated, the URL still shows up for a specific phrase, but it’s not found in the live page’s content. Use this tool to indicate that content has changed, but Google needs to recrawl and re-index the new content.
The URL removal tool won’t de-index any content from the search engine, but it’s perfect for users who need to have pages that are no longer active removed. It’s also beneficial to update Google’s cache. Use this tool if your name appears on a website, or critical content needs to be removed from the search engine index.