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To remove links from our site, we return a 410 code on on the links we want removed, and shows The page you requested was removed..

In Webmaster Tools, I see all the 410 pages in Crawl Errors / Not Found.

I'm worried that because they appear in Crawl Errors that they could be negatively affecting SEO rankings. Is that the case, and if so, should I change the return codes from 410 to something else?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Don't worry, a 410 is what Google suggests to use if you want a page removed. It falls under a crawler error but will clear itself up. Even if you were to block pages with a robots.txt it shows up as a crawler error. Same with meta noindex. They don't specify exactly the code or reason for the error and just generalize. If it's no longer on your site remove the page entirely, re-submit a new sitemap and wait.

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"Same with meta noindex." Where is this shown in GWT? –  GDav Dec 5 '12 at 8:23
    
If you have meta noindex on a page GWT says it's blocked by robots.txt when your robots.txt can be valid and allowing access. –  Anagio Dec 5 '12 at 8:43
    
Where specifically in GWT? I've been through Crawl Errors, Blocked URLs, etc., and can't see them. Sorry to pester, it must be right under my nose, but I can't find it. –  GDav Dec 5 '12 at 17:59
    
@GDav Health -> Fetch as Googlebot will display a warning icon and message Denied by robots.txt when noindex is used. A plugin had left this meta tag on my index after disabling which was confusing me when I kept checking and validating my robots.txt and it turned out to be a rogue meta noindex. –  Anagio Dec 5 '12 at 18:19
    
Ah, you have to manually fetch it. Thanks, I'll try that. –  GDav Dec 5 '12 at 20:40

I also used once 410 to indicate removal of pages. But Google takes it's own time to remove just like 404 pages because I guess somebody might have done it by mistake. It'd be better if you indicate them in robots.txt and they'd be removed in no time I think.

Also have a look at how you can remove your content in bulk here

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