Google explains what the URL Removal Tool does
Google’s John Mueller responded to a tweet about the URL Removal Tool and why it wasn’t working as expected. The question was in the context of a site that was hacked and generated Japanese spam pages.
Google search results show hacked pages
One of the most frustrating things that can happen to a site is getting hacked. The frustration is compounded when Google shows spammy URLs that don’t exist in search results.
This scenario is exactly what the person asking the question was dealing with. They tried using Google’s URL Removal Tool, but it didn’t seem to have the expected and desired effect.
According to the person ask the question:
“A website is attacked ‘Japanese Spam’, the owner cleans up the code, optimizes and secures the website, but the search results will take their time to offer neat results.”
They then describe the problem:
“Even after removing URLs from the SERP via Search Console, URLs tend to come back in search results or remain in the index although 404 pages.
Why does Google get these 404 pages back in the index after deleting them? »
Even after removing URLs from the SERP through Search Console, URLs tend to come back in search results or remain in the index although 404 pages.
Why does Google get these 404 pages back in the index after deleting them?
—DigitalSearch (@DigitalSearchIN) January 5, 2021
How Google’s URL Removal Tool Works
The person asking the question was confused as to why the URLs remained in Google’s search index. It is a common perception that using the URL removal tool will remove the URL from the SERPs and the index.
But that’s not what really happens.
John Müller replied via Twitter:
“The Search Console URL Removal Tool temporarily hides pages from search results, it does not remove anything from the index.
Sometimes these pages take a while to re-index (and usually these show up less frequently in search anyway, so not many people see them).
Search Console’s URL Removal Tool temporarily hides pages from search results, it doesn’t remove anything from the index. Sometimes these pages take a while to re-index (and usually these show up less frequently in search anyway, so not many people see them).
— 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) January 5, 2021
Google Search Console Help: URL Removal Tool
Google’s webmaster support page for the URL Removal Tool states very clearly that the tool results in temporary removal. The word “temporarily” is used eleven times on the page, clearly indicating that the effect is not permanent.
The page says:
“The removal tool allows you to temporarily block pages from Google search results on sites you own.”
Further down the page, it is stated that the tool is effective in preventing a URL from appearing in search results.
“Follow this procedure to temporarily block a URL from appearing in Google search results.”
In a way, it’s a bit confusing to call the tool a removal tool since the word “removal” has a sense of permanence.
The definition of the word “deletion” is as follows:
“The action of removing or abolishing something undesirable.”
This definition does not take into account the temporary nature of the displacement.
But the fact is that the effect of the tool is only temporary.
Maybe Google should rename it from URL Removal Tool to Temporary URL Removal Tool?