How can you remove old web pages from the Google index?

I have a client who was advised by some cowboy search engine optimisation company to create lots of web pages stuffed full of spammy repetitive keywords.

He now knows this is a bad thing, and has deleted the pages from his site.

But the old pages still appear in the Google index. He’s been told there is nothing he can do about it.

Google will automatically remove dead pages from the search results as part of the indexing process. Pages with 404 messages (not found) or 410 (gone) will eventually be disappear from the index and the search engine results.

But this can take time.

The quick solution is to use Google’s Webmaster’s Remove URL’s tool. It can be used to remove any content that you don’t want appearing in the search results. Google says the removal request typically takes 3-5 business days to process.

The Google Webmaster toolkit is full of useful utilities for optimising your site, and learning about your site performance in Google.

Keep in mind that it might be best to simply update the offending page and let the spider re-index the new content.

You might also want to keep the content on your site, and just block Google from indexing it using appropriate meta tags and the robots.txt file.

The URL removal tool does just that: it removes the page entirely.

And remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Humans don’t like spam, and neither does Google.

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