How to remove outdated content from Google (quick and easy)

There are a couple of ways to remove outdated content from Google. Below I’ll dive into a few that I use from time to time. It might not work for every case scenario, but it can be a handy guide to keep bookmarked when you need it.

Remove outdated content from Google

Google Search Console’s removal tool is meant to be used for legitimate purposes, so don’t abuse it. Submissions are manually checked. As Google states:

  • The request form only works only for pages/images that have already been modified or removed from the web.
  • If you need to remove personal information or content with legal issues, you should submit this request. They also have some guidelines on how to remove personal information. With GDPR and concerns with personally identifiable information (PII) these days, you can usually get a website owner to remove content if needed.

With that being said, this tool can come in very handy for a variety of reasons. Perhaps there is a page that has been taken down on a third-party website, but the information is still showing in SERPs. Cached snippets can sometimes take weeks to go away, depending on the crawl rate on the site.

Using this tool can be an easy way to speed up that process. And if you’re working with clients, usually their patience is pretty thin.

If you’re trying to get content out of SERPs from a website you own and control in Google Search Console, you can force recrawl it. I recommend the following steps for content and pages you don’t have control over.

Option 1: Outdated page removal

For outdated page removals, follow the steps below.

Step 1

Go to the removal tool in Google Search Console. Enter the URL of the outdated content (page) you need to remove and click “Request Removal.”

Google Search Console remove outdated content tool
Google Search Console remove outdated content tool

Step 2

They’ll analyze the page (URL), and if they detect it has already been taken down, it’s a quick and easy process. Click “Request Removal.”

In this case, I had a phone number for an old business on a Pinterest page that I could no longer access. Pinterest worked with me to deactivate the page.

Request removal tool
Request removal tool

You’ll get a confirmation that they received your request.

Removal request
Removal request

You can see all of your page removal requests at the bottom of the tool. They’ll remain pending until they process your request.

Outdated page removal
Outdated page removal

Option 2: Changed content

For changed content, follow the steps below.

Step 1

Go to the removal tool in Google Search Console. Enter the URL of the outdated (changed) content you need to remove and click “Request Removal.”

Google Search Console remove outdated content tool
Google Search Console remove outdated content tool

Step 2

They’ll analyze the page (URL). In this option, they’ll detect that the page (URL) is still live, and you’ll be prompted with two choices. Choose the appropriate one and click “Next.”

In this case, I needed to get some information removed from SERPs that was still cached in a snippet.

Snippet cache outdated
Snippet cache outdated

Step 3

They will ask for the content that is still live on the page that you need removed from SERPs. Then click “Request Removal.”

In my case, I was trying to get a phone number out of SERPs on a 10-year-old Yelp business listing. Yelp never removes profiles, but I did manage to get them to remove the phone number. Unfortunately, after months, it was still showing in SERPs. Some sites crawl rates are insanely slow, and so this was the next step. This is technically PII data, but Yelp handled their side, and Google was the last responsible party.

Content is still live
Content is still live

You’ll get a confirmation that they’ve received your request.

Removal request
Removal request

You can see all of your page removal requests at the bottom of the tool. They’ll remain pending until they process your request.

Google content removal requests
Google content removal requests

Content removal confirmation

Whenever I’ve used the tool they’ve always processed the requests within 24 hours. They are surprisingly fast.

Content remove success
Content remove success

Summary

Hopefully the tips above help you get the content you need removed from SERPs in a timely fashion. If you’re using the tool appropriately, this helps everyone involved. It improves data quality in SERPs and in some cases, protects important information that perhaps should no longer be showing.

If you have any comments regarding the above steps, drop them in the comments below. I also recommend reading more from Google on how to get content removed and reasons why your request might not be successful.

Brian Jackson

I craft actionable content and develop performance-driven WordPress plugins. Connect on Twitter or subscribe to my newsletter (twice a month, no spam).

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