Updated: April 5th, 2015: Deleted posts still showing on Google and Bing, noindexed urls and post still shows? This and many more complains are everywhere: however, this tutorial shows you the seo best practices to removing indexed and noindexed blog, posts, deleted articles e.t.c. both on Google, Bing and other search engines.
This tutorial is broken down into the following questions and guidelines of note:
- Deleted articles on my blog are still showing up on Google and Bing
In most cases, people experience this sort of annoying situation; however the following should be properly followed if you want to totally remove deleted posts and blog from Google index.
- Make sure that the item, article or post is actually deleted from your blog/website
To check this, make sure that a proper 404 error page is returned anytime you click on the address. This is the standard SEO practice for a deleted page.
- Make sure that you do not redirect the deleted page to somewhere else, e.g. homepage, related posts e.t.c.
- Try and locate backlinks that are pointing to that particular page, post or blog; make frantic effort to delete them from this sources (this is quite tough, especially if you do not have control on such, but try and reduce the backlink source to a minimum. The reason for this is because Google bots and other search engine spiders follows the link from the backlinks and as such they are under obligation to still show it on the search page ( or the Google webmaster dashboard). Over time, as they are seeing the page as 404, they will stop crawling it.
I highly recommend using this tool to check for backlinks
- Check within your blog/website and fix broken link issues i.e. no more interlinking to the deleted page/post
I highly recommend using this tool to check for broken links
- If deleted page is related to category, tag e.t.c. that is being blocked by robots.txt, remove it from the robot tag. Blocking such page will make it permanent and Google spiders will not be able to see and crawl. It is only when they crawl that they can be removed from the index. Infact, the overuse of robots.txt is an anti Google SEO practice
After you have properly implemented the above, follow these steps:
- For a deleted post or page, go to Google webmaster dashboard
- Under Google index, locate ‘remove urls’
- copy and paste your url into it and chose remove from search and cache results
- In the case of yahoo and Bing search results, go to the Bing dashboard ( you must be registered and verified your blog/website)
- Towards the left hand side, check for ‘block url’, copy the address and paste in inside the box.
SEO best practices to achieving this set objective
The following are the recommended ways by the search engines if you want to remove deleted posts and blog from Google index and search.
- The first option is to NOINDEX the blog or post; instead of deleting, the preferred way is to NOINDEX it, then after some few days or week ( 2 weeks max), you can then delete it
- And if you have deleted the post or blog, follow the laid down guidelines above
Relevance of sitemap
However, in some instances, the deleted post(s) might still be showing up in Google search and this might be to the sitemap used in question. By default, your sitemap contains a data of all posts and pages ( though page is optional), So, if you delete a post, it should automatically be removed also from the sitemap, however, this might not happen and as such, as far as the url is in the sitemap, the search engines will still be seeing it.
The major cause why this happen is due to the sitemap plugin used. Thats why it’s always good to check your sitemap once in a month. if you notice such things ( deleted post is still in your sitemap or showing in Google search), simply deactivate all your plugins and log out of your wordpress account. Clear the cache, cookies and browsing history from the browser, close the browser, then restart the system.
After restarting the system, activate back all the plugins ( with the sitemap plugin included), you will notice that by now, the deleted post will no longer be in the sitemap. if such error is still happening, simply deactivate and delete the sitemap plugin. Then r-install it.
Google, most especially takes time for recrawling, so little patience matters. For Bing, they are fast to commence recrawling.
So, be patient!!