If i remove all links to a page, but do not delete the page from the site (nor block it from being requested), will google eventually "forget" about it when it reindexes the site? Assuming of course there are no other links to the page somewhere else externally.

Or will google continue to request the page and verify it in the index and keep it around so long as it returns a valid page?

Is this similar for Bing et al?

  • I've seen GoogleBot attempting to read some of my pages years after they were gone. It has an elephant memory... and even trying to "remove" those pages may remove them from their indexing, but not from their memory. – Alexis Wilke Oct 27 '15 at 3:01

If a search engine knows about a page they will remember it and request it even if it is not linked to. If you want Google to remove a page from their index you should request it in Google Webmaster Tools and then block it via a variety of methods including robots.txt or the x-robots HTTP/meta tag.

Sample robots.txt:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /path/to/file.html

Sample HTTP header:

X-Robots-Tag: noindex

Sample meta tag:

  • Yes, I considered those methods to be part of the "block it from being requested" mechanisms. What I wanted to know was your first paragraph, if google would just forget about pages if there wre no links to them. Thanks for the answer. – Erik Funkenbusch Apr 6 '12 at 17:57
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    While it's not directly relevant to the original question, I'd like to point out that there's a big difference between the robots.txt Disallow directive and the noindex meta tag / HTTP header. The former only tells search engines not to crawl the page, the latter tells them not to index it. – Ilmari Karonen Apr 7 '12 at 0:26

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