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I have recently changed my website links and structure. Now I have about 12000 Not Found pages in my Webmaster Tools. I have changed the URL structure with the use of .htaccess and I have set 404 Not Found headers for those old deleted links.

How should I say to Google to remove those 12000 links so that I don't get the Not Found errors? Is there any other header I have to use?

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To remove about 12000 links in our site from Google index is possible by adding every error links through google webmaster tools. However, it takes too long. Therefore, google has suggested us to handle this by two solutions:

  1. Deny all bots access from folder which contains the error links in htacess.
  2. Write the "Disallow" access from google bots in robots.txt

If you do one of the two, google bots will stop indexing your site which contains, deny (htaccess) and disallow. That means, Google stops storing your links and serve them in SERP.

You can check further details about this issue in: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2011/05/do-404s-hurt-my-site.html

  • Thanks,I change the code of my website.First I return 404 header and then redirect it to the main page. I fetch as google one of my pages and Status was redirected. That wouldn't hurt my seo ,Does it? – hamid Feb 22 '15 at 11:10
  • But I suggest you to use 404 page to handle it not redirect. you can explain (only a bit of info in the 404 page) to your visitor why 404 and give them offer (a) search-box to find other related resource, or (b) give them a link to your home page. As you know and everybody knows that we DONT like redirect, right? :p As far as I can see, redirect will be needed when there's a security problem of a site and it needs more attention from external access – Herman Nz Feb 22 '15 at 11:31
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    If you have changed your url structure, then the correct method would be to redirect the old urls to the new urls by 301 redirect. – user29671 Feb 25 '15 at 9:23
  • yes, what @user29671 says nice. You can redirect to the new url to keep it updated and trusted by your visitor. – Herman Nz Feb 25 '15 at 10:53
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Change the status code of the URLs you want no longer index to code 410. It means gone, and if you have google webmaster tools, it will tell you accordingly that the URLs are in fact 410's and after you deal with them there, google will never complains about them again and then unlist them.

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