Google Improves Content Removal

    April 18, 2007

Last week Yahoo announced they had improved the options for removing pages from their index. Proving that “anything you can do, we can do better” still exists in the search space, Google has announced new webmaster tools options for removing pages, directories and caches from their index.

Google and URL Removal

Want a full run down of how it works? I’d do it myself, but Danny Sullivan has already posted an in-depth review. You have to give Danny credit, when he sinks his teeth into a story, he doesn’t stop until he’s devoured every aspect of it.

One thing worth noting, the new tools allow you to remove content located on someone else’s web site. There are some safeguards to prevent competitor sabotage, but Danny did find one weakness. Here’s his take on being able to remove the cache of any web page in Google’s index…

Submit the URL, then find some of the words that have been removed (such as “diner sucks”). Enter these words into the “Term(s) that have been removed from the page” box of the Cached page removal form. Submit, and Google checks the page. It sees the words are gone, it knows the page has changed and processes the request to remove the cached copy.

Site owners — DO feel free to freak out over this! You should.

To be clear, anyone can wipe out your cached pages in Google for up to six months using this third party tool even if you have NOT yourself used the required meta tag.

No big deal? Who cares about cached pages being gone? Remember, it’s not just that your cached page will go. The description for your listing will disappear, too.

We expect Google will fix this loophole quickly.