How can I remove a URL on my website from the Google Index?

To remove a URL (web page) from your own website from Google’s search index, while leaving it active on your website, there are two options available. One uses the robots meta-tag, the other is a quick method using Google Search Console

Option #1: Use the robots meta-tag with NOINDEX

Add the meta-tag robots to the source code of the page which is not supposed to appear in the index and set the value to NOINDEX.

By adding the following, the URL will be removed from the index:

<meta name="robots" content="noindex">

You have to add the meta-tag in the <head> area of the specific page:

Example of the robots meta element in code
line 6: robots meta element with the value NOINDEX in the source code

If the page already has the robots meta-element with the value INDEX, you can simply replace it with NOINDEX.

Done. Now you just have to wait until the desired URL is removed from the Google index. Depending on the site, this can take a few days.

By using the meta-robots value NOINDEX, the URL will also be removed from the index of Microsoft’s search engine Bing ad other search engines that react to the noindex tag.

Can I use WordPress to set NOINDEX on a URL?

The common WordPress website management system does not have a method for doing URL-level index control as standard but there are additional plugins that can be added that will give you this feature. Yoast is a common SEO plugin that can be used to add the NOINDEX code. Some themes may include a page template, tag or category that includes the NOINDEX code.

Option #2: Use the Google Search Console

Using a setting within the Google Search Console, you are able to have a URL removed from the Google index. This is a quick but temporary method. For the permanent removal of a URL, you need to add the NOINDEX feature as described above, or remove the page itself from your website, in addition to performing the temporary removal option.

If you are not yet using the Google Search Console (GSC), you should activate your website for the free statistics and control. How to connect to GSC.

Removing a URL from the index with the Google Search Console

  • Log into the Google Search Console and select the desired website. In our example we selected asite.com
  • Click on “Temporary Removals” tab at the top of the main box
  • Click on “NEW REQUEST” in the main box. (A red button)
Google Search Console image
  • You will now be asked to type in the URL of the page that you want to be removed and confirm your choice by clicking on “next.” If you wish to remove a set of pages, you can enter a prefix.
Google search console

After removing the URL via Search Console you have to wait up to 24 hours until the desired URL is removed from Google’s index.

Removing a URL from the Bing index

The search engine Bing also provides their own webmaster tools, which you can use to have URLs removed from their index.

Google Search Console
Bing webmaster tools option of blocking a URL from being indexed (http://www.bing.com/toolbox/webmaster)

Steve Paine
24.08.2021