Google’s New Removals Tool
Google’s new Search Console includes a helpful Removals Tool that allows you to temporarily exclude your content from search rankings, as well as analyze user engagement, and gauge analytics on your outdated content and pages affected by the SafeSearch filter.
Using the Tool
Go to the “Index” menu in GSC and hit “Removals,” as shown in the screenshot below:
The Removals tool provides three useful features:
- Temporary removal of your content from search rankings.
- Gauging statistics on content that has fallen out from search results due to its non-relevance.
- Detecting URLs affected by the SafeSearch adult filter.
How the SafeSearch Filter Works
The SafeSearch filtering section showcases the pages that were flagged as adult-only content by third-party users. You can turn to the Webmaster Forum to appeal against the placement of your page under the filter. Then the person who made the request may cancel it, or Google’s administration may deny it. If the request is approved, your URL will not float up in the search dropdown of users having SafeSearch turned on.
URL Removal from Google Search
Third-party removal of your content from search is almost always undesirable. But under certain circumstances, you may wish to hide certain URLs yourself. Google provides easy ways to do this. The beauty of this option is that you take no irreversible steps. Once you need your content back in search, you can cancel your earlier directives.
Removal requests work for about six months, which gives webmasters time to update their content, find another solution to make it more meaningful and relevant to users, or completely delete unnecessary pages.
You can choose one of the following scenarios:
Clear Cached URL
With this scenario, your page’s snippet will be removed from the search dropdown. A new snippet will be generated if and when you post updated content and the page is crawled. Until that moment, it will remain unavailable.
Use this option if you have to significantly amend page content and do not want to mislead users with an outdated description. The important thing to keep in mind is that you should use the exact URL version that is featured in search. For example, if you forget to add the .html ending to the URL, the tool may interpret your request in the wrong way.
Temporary URL Removal
In this scenario, you isolate your content from ranking for half a year. After the expiration of this period, crawling resumes, and hidden pages will float up in the search dropdown again. The page’s cached copy and snippet will be cleared.
You are free to block a single page or a group of pages that share the same prefix.
This option can be used as the first stage of ultimate content blockage.
If users think that the information on your website is no longer relevant and requires an update, they can flag it as outdated content via a special public tool.
You can access data on public removal requests made over the past six months in the Outdated Content tab of the Removals Tool. Each record in your history table will include the URL that is the subject of the request, the type, date, status (approved/denied) of the request, and the reason for the appointment of a particular status.
Approved requests will change the how your content is featured by Google. If the claimed content has been deleted or is no longer relevant, the URL that leads to it will be wiped out from the search dropdown.
Value the Removals Tool Delivers to You
If you are an SEO specialist, a webmaster or a business owner who wants to know whether your online platform performs well and satisfies user demand, the Removals tool is indispensable for you.
If you do not have time to quickly update your content and do not want obsolete information to mislead your target audience, you can hide it from ranking for a while to prepare new material, or permanently if certain pages are no longer needed. Also, you can track public removal requests, get an idea of content that impairs rather than improves your online presence, change it or get rid of it altogether.
All excelling businesses know that customer satisfaction is a key priority. Google’s new features allow you to establish an ongoing dialog with users, to understand their preferences and expectations and better cater to their needs. Take advantage of the Removal Tool to create meaningful and relevant content.