When NOT to use the URL removal tool

The URL removal tool is intended for pages that urgently need to be removed—for example, if they contain confidential data that was accidentally exposed. Using the tool for other purposes may cause problems for your site.

Don’t use the URL tool to get rid of pages in these circumstances:

  • To clean up cruft, like old pages that 404. If you recently changed your site and now have some outdated URLs in the index, Google's crawlers will see this as we recrawl your URLs, and those pages will naturally drop out of our search results. There's no need to request an urgent removal.

  • To remove crawl errors from your Webmaster Tools account. The removal tool removes URLs from Google's search results, not from your Webmaster Tools account. You don’t need to manually remove URLs from this report; they will drop out naturally over time.

  • To "start from scratch" with your site. If you're worried that your site may have a penalty, or you want to start with a clean slate after purchasing a domain from someone else, we recommend filing a reconsideration request letting us know what you're worried about and what has changed.

  • To take your site "offline" after being hacked. If your site was hacked and you want to get rid of bad URLs that got indexed, use the URL removal tool to remove any new URLs that the hacker created—for example, http://www.example.com/buy-cheap-cialis-skq3w598.html. But we don't recommend removing your entire site, or removing URLs that you'll eventually want indexed. Instead, clean up the hacking and let us recrawl your site. More information about dealing with a hacked site.

  • To get the right "version" of your site indexed. Many sites make the same HTML content or files available via different URLs. If you do this, and don’t want duplicates to appear in search results, review our recommended methods of canonicalization. Don’t use the URL tool to remove the URLs you don’t want in search results. It won't keep your favorite version of a page; instead, it'll remove all versions (http/https and www/non-www) of a URL.

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