Sorry, I’m going to pat myself on the back now: I’ve been asked to be a Contributing Editor at Practical Ecommerce, a leading online magazine for ecommerce merchants. YAY! I’ve been writing SEO articles for PEC and its sister site Ecommerce Developer regularly for two years now, and am so pleased to join the team a little more officially. Plus, when I attend SES Chicago next month I get to go as a member of the press. So cool.
Barry Schwartz broke the news today on Search Engine Land that Google’s URL removal tool has allowed you remove URLs from ANY domain, not just domain you own and verify.
Yes it’s a faux pas on Google’s part and clearly needs to be fixed, but how is it much more than an annoyance? Google’s guidelines for the tool state that the URL requested for removal needs to either 404 or be restricted using meta robots noindex or a robots.txt disallow either before or soon after you submit for removal.
To ensure your content is permanently removed, you must do one of the actions below before or soon after you submit your URL removal request. If you don’t, your site may later reappear in search results.
So unless the site owner you’re trying to sabotage has kindly already sabotaged himself using one of these methods (404, etc.) the removal from Google’s index should be temporary, especially for sites that are crawled frequently. Which makes sense because the same Google Webmaster Tools help page also states that the tool is for emergency URL removal. If it’s that big of an emergency then it should be removed from the site as well. Google recognizes that you can’t always do that immediately, but if after several crawls that URL is crawlable and there happily serving a 200 OK, it’s fair game again for indexaion.
Still, Google had wisely disabled the feature for now.
Originally posted on Web PieRat.