To get a URL out of the Google index, you can use these methods:
- Use the “Remove URL” tool in Google Search Console: The quickest and easiest way to remove a URL from the Google index is to use the “Remove URL” tool in Google Search Console.
- Add a “noindex” meta tag: You can add a “noindex” meta tag to the HTML of the page to prevent it from being indexed by search engines. The tag should look like this:
<meta name="robots" content="noindex">
- Return a “noindex” HTTP header: You can return a “noindex” HTTP header for the URL to prevent it from being indexed. The header should look like this:
- Use the canonical tag: While using a canonical tag you may get the URL out of the index. Still Google might to show the URL if it is more relevant than the target URL the canonical is pointing towards.
- Redirect the URL to another page: You can redirect the URL to another page using a 301 redirect. This will remove the original URL from the Google index and replace it with the new URL.
- Use the “noarchive” meta tag: You can use the “noarchive” meta tag to prevent Google from displaying a cached version of the page in its search results. The tag should look like this:
<meta name="googlebot" content="noarchive">
These are the most common ways to remove a URL from the Google index. However, it’s important to note that removing a URL from the index doesn’t guarantee that it will disappear from search results immediately, and it may still be accessible through other sources, such as cached versions or links from other websites.
Which methods don’t work to remove a URL from the Google Index?
Although often red in SEO books and blogs as options how to remove your pages from the index, the following methods are not suitable to deindex URLs, based on own experience:
- Block the URL in robots.txt: You can block the URL in your robots.txt file to prevent search engines from crawling and reading your content, but not from indexing the URL. Why? Because if the Google Bot should deindex the page it needs to read out any information such as a “noindex” meta tag or a canonical. If the URL is blocked for the bot via robots.txt Google will keep the URL in the index, but is showing in the title and meta, that there is no information about the page available.
- Implement password protection: If the URL is part of a secure site, you can password protect it to prevent search engines from crawling but not from indexing the page. Same patterns happening as for blocking URL via robots.txt