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I've got a website coolevent.example.com, which I want completely removed from Google and Bing index. What is the fastest and most reliable way to get rid of it?

Should I remove the website files (and subdomain) or keep it alive and just set all pages to noindex? I've got Google and Bing webmaster tools, so I also looked there. It gives me the option to temporarily remove a website from index for a couple of months.

My idea would be to

  1. keep website, but set meta on all pages to noindex
  2. temporarily remove website from index via webmaster tools
  3. once I don't find my subdomain in the index anymore, delete all files and the domain from the server, so once the temporary removal is over, Google and Bing won't find it anymore to crawl again?

Is that the best method?

  • Presumably you want to also remove your site from public access, not just from the SE index? – MrWhite Jun 26 at 14:34
  • Yes, the website will not exist anymore. – user828591 Jun 26 at 16:15
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    "temporarily remove website from index via webmaster tools" - It's only "temporary" if your site pages still exist and return 200 OK. If the pages don't exist then the site removal (tool) becomes permanent. – MrWhite Jun 28 at 12:28
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If you are fully deleting your site, it can be a one step process:

  1. Delete all files and the domain from the server.

Googlebot and Bingbot will the pages from the search index the next time they crawl them and get an error. It could take a couple weeks for all the pages of your site to be removed from search engines, but it will happen.

If you want to speed up the process from Google you can use Google's URL removal tool. There is no need for the site to up with noindex tags to use this tool. The tool can be used even is the site is removed from your server.

Another trick to slightly speed up removals is serving a "410 Gone" status rather than a "404 Not Found" status for your removed pages. Googlebot still has to crawl each page before it will remove it, but it will remove it as soon as possible after crawling. With a 404 error, Googlebot gives a day grace period and retries the page before removing it. To serve a 410 error for the whole site, simply use a .htaccess file with nothing but:

 Redirect 410 /
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Yes, the three step plan you outlined would be the best way to completely remove a site from Google's index. Set all pages to contain a noindex tag either via the meta robots tag or the HTTP response header. However, keep in mind that this process may take a while depending on how large your website is and how often and deep google crawls your site. So if you're site is only 12 pages, then google will crawl through all pages in one run, but if your site is 12K pages, then it will take google longer to crawl through all the pages and recognize the noindex tag.

You may also want to consider submitting an xml sitemap to google just to kick-start the crawl process. Or if you know that there are certain sections of your site that google tends to crawl less frequently, then create an xml sitemap for these pages and submit via search console.

Once you see that most pages are gone from the index then simply return a 410 HTTP status code to google to tell that the site and pages are gone forever.

I wouldn't bother with the temporary removal tool in search console, that simply "hides" the pages in the index, it doesn't actually remove them.

good luck!

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    Although since the OPs goal is to remove this content from the internet entirely I fail to see why following the OPs "three step plan" and actually keeping the website alive initially would be the "best way"? Keeping the pages with noindex meta tags is not going to remove pages from the index any quicker that serving a 410 Gone (or even removing the subdomain from DNS entirely) to begin with? Whilst the "temporary removal tool" might just "hide" the pages initially - they are still not available in search (same result) and if the pages don't actually exist this change becomes "permanent". – MrWhite Jun 28 at 19:29

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