Inappropriate Use of Google’s URL Removal Tool

Google URL Removal Tool

Google’s URL removal tool [1] was created with the purpose of removing pages that contain sensitive information that has been accidently exposed, or for other immediate situations [2]. It should not be utilised for the reasons outlined below.

Cruft Cleanup

Since the tool is for urgent removals, it is not appropriate to use it to clean up outdated URLs on a site. This will be done automatically when the site is next crawled by Google.

Webmaster Tools Errors

The removal tool only deletes information from the search results. It does not work in Webmaster Tools, as there is no current way to remove URLs by hand. The outdated URLs will disappear from the report over time, as the site is recrawled and reindexed.

Restarting a Domain

The URL removal tool should not be used for a domain that has been purchased from another party and may carry questionable history. Google and other search engines obtain information from other sites in order to better understand a particular site, such as descriptions and links. Even if this information is removed, most of it often returns once those sites are crawled again. Webmasters who are worried about unpleasant domain history may file a reconsideration request with Google to explain the issue, as well as the changes that have been made.

Site Removal After Hack

Webmasters may use the tool to remove bad URLs created by a hacker. It is not recommended to remove the entire site, but best to simply clean up and allow the search engine to reindex the legitimate pages. Erasing the whole site will only extend the recovery process.

Version Control

The tool should not be used for canonicalisation purposes as this will remove all versions of a page, whether it uses www or not. This happens because the majority of webmasters do not want repeating content to be indexed. Google has specific methods for canonicalisation, such as selecting a preferred domain and using redirects.

By following the guidelines above, webmasters can avoid problems with sites while honouring the purpose of the URL removal tool.


[1] Google URL Removal Tool,

[2] When NOT to use the URL removal tool, Webmaster Tools,

Dan Petrovic, the managing director of DEJAN, is Australia’s best-known name in the field of search engine optimisation. Dan is a web author, innovator and a highly regarded search industry event speaker.

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