Is there an estimated amount of time before the document will not appear in google results?

We have a public records document. One person raised a concern when they saw their "PUBLIC INFORMATION" on goolge. So, I've been tasked with removing the file from google searching.

It's an xls file, so I can't add any meta tags to it. I want to know how long before it will be gone from google?

Please feel free to enlighten me about the other search engines as well.


It varies by website. Each search engine crawls each website at different rates. But if you want those files removed from the search engine results sooner rather then later you can remove them via the URL removal tool in Google Webmaster Tools. I don't know if Bing offers such an option, however.

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  • It doesn't meet all of the google criteria for removal. Like I said, it's public record information. – MVCylon May 25 '11 at 13:15
  • @Doug, if the document is on your website you can have it removed whether it is public information or not. – John Conde May 25 '11 at 13:18

The quickest way of getting this removed from Google is through their URL removal tool. Register your site with Google Webmaster Tools and you have access to the tool. More instructions here: http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en-GB&answer=164734 (click on "I want to completely remove a page from search results" at the bottom). If you really want them to do it quickly then look out for the bit that says:

If you want to report content that you believe warrants removal from Google's services based on applicable laws, this tool will guide you through the process. Completing this form will help ensure that we have all of the information necessary to investigate your specific enquiry and and resolve it as quickly as possible.

As for how long it takes, Google doesn't make any promises.

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In my purely anecdotal experience the quickest way to get rid of stuff off Google is to use permanent redirects. Can you test this for me please? It should 301 permanent redirect any request to an Excel spreadsheet by Google to your honeypot page. Other visitors should still be able to download the .xls files:

RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} ^(file=.*)\.xls
RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^.*(Googlebot|Googlebot|Mediapartners|Adsbot|Feedfetcher)-?(Google|Image)? [NC]
RewriteRule .* /easteregg.html [R=301,L]
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  • I think I need to rewrite my question. I need to make a document accessible to everyone, but search engines. if you type, hsdhf.com/this.xls BOOM! it opens. If you go to hsdhf.com/home click the "this.xls" link BOOM! it opens. If you go to google and search this.xls site:hsdhf.com It returns zero results. – MVCylon May 25 '11 at 14:31
  • I was going to suggest 'deny from googlebot.com google.com' but then I saw the errors of my solution... RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} ^.*(Googlebot|Googlebot|Mediapartners|Adsbot|Feedfetcher)-?(Google|Image)? [NC] – ʍǝɥʇɐɯ May 25 '11 at 14:40

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