Most people think of search engine optimization as an exercise to make more pages indexed by search engine spiders and then having them rank highly. That’s fair.
Now imagine yourself in a situation where your pages rank too high… Or rather, the wrong pages rank too high?
I found myself in such a situation when the representative of a large company approached me politely and requested I remove information which I was not authorized to publish. I tried to cooperate as much as possible but time was against us. Most people know that it takes weeks if not months to have Google reindex a site and update the pages already scanned.
I would like to share two ways of accelerating the solution to this problem — when the issue is urgent.
The first is to contact firstname.lastname@example.org and to explain the situation and ask for their help. In my case Google’s representatives responded within 48 hours (not bad keeping in mind they serve 200 million searches a day). The message from Google’s support person was that they will reindex the site in the next 5-6 days.
Since waiting a whole week to remove sensitive information was too long for me, I researched a more expedient way of removing web pages from the index and the cache of Google.
The first step is to clearly indicate to the spider that this page is off limit by placing the following META tags in the HEAD of the page:
The second step is to create an account with Google at:
The third step, once logged in at Google’s site, is to indicate the specific page that needs to be removed by inserting its URL.
Within 24 hours I had my page removed — not bad!