Removing URL’s from Google

Recently, I added a Google Custom Search to our Program Builder web site. After this was in place for a couple months, the owners of the web site asked why certain pages weren’t showing up in searches.

Doing a little investigation, I discovered much of the information on the individual program pages was also on the summary page listing all the programs. Because of this duplication, Google was eliminating the individual programs from the search results.

The first thing I did to solve this was add a meta tag to tell robots not to index the summary page. I did this by adding this html code:

<meta name="ROBOTS" content="NOINDEX" />

While I knew I could allow the summary pages to drop off Google’s results pages without any intervention, it could take a while before Google noticed this change. Therefore, I went into the Google Webmasters Tools, and requested that the summary pages be removed from Google’s results.

The option to do this in under the “Tools” tab in the webmaster tools. You tell Google what URL(s) you want removed, and Google then makes sure you’ve done something to tell it to quit indexing the page(s), such as the above meta tag.

After about a day, the summary page dropped off Google’s search results, and the individual programs started appearing instead of the summary page. Mission accomplished.

More information on Google Webmaster Tools is available in this recording of a session I did for the eXtension Learn series. You can also access my Delicious bookmarks for this session.

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