I was stupid enough to develop a new project on a subdomain of another domain while figuring out the domain name for the new project. Now, a few weeks into the new project on it's own domain I realise that the old domain's subdomain (my staging / dev. server if you will) is indexed in google.

I deleted the content of that subdomain a while ago, but this evening decided to re-create it (it's empty) in order to verify it in search console, because I expected it to be removable from there, but it doesn't seem to be the case; only the temporary removal tool. Should I just wait it out or should I use the temporary removal tool?

When reading ou on it there seems to be so many different approaches, all pointing in different directions.

Any best practice advice on this? In the offical guidelines they hint that filing a removal request is the way to go if the content no longer exists.

Thanks in advance!

1 Answer 1


There are several ways to skin a cat.

The cleanest solution if you have already been indexed to to send signals to get those URLs removed from the index. e.g. 404, 410 or a noindex meta tag.

Once the GSC is reporting all URLs as excluded and not indexed, you can do a stronger block. e.g. disallow in robots.txt or even restrict access to the whole site in some way (login, IP blocking etc.).

The removal requires is of use to speed up deindexing. But you still need to be sending the right signals for that to work.

  • Providing the URLs are returning 410 (or 404) then you can use the (temporary) URL removal tool. Providing the URLs are returning a 4xx status then they won't come back.
    – DocRoot
    Jan 14, 2020 at 1:42
  • Thanks for getting back. Right now, the subdomain is just an empty folder, because it no longer contains the wordpress site it used to do. So I have little control over the individual posts and their http codes, but I suppose I could set something up using .htaccess. Should I make just one catchall index file that then has the 410 code? And is there ayway to speed up the process of Google detecting that the pages are no longer there?
    – ask
    Jan 14, 2020 at 8:34
  • If it's an empty folder it should be returning 404s already. At least for all pages besides the home page. changing all to 410 via the .htaccess file could slightly speed up the process. Jan 15, 2020 at 23:58

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