When I submit my new sitemap of expired links
You should not use expired urls in a sitemap. They are only for current urls.
There is no valid syntax in sitemaps to indicate a removed url.
From http://www.sitemaps.org/protocol.html see
The Sitemaps protocol enables you to let search engines know what
content you would like indexed. To tell search engines the content you
don't want indexed, use a robots.txt file or robots meta tag. See
robotstxt.org for more information on how to exclude content from
I get a warning message that the robots.txt is blocking off
Whats happening is that googlebot sees the url in your sitemap, tries to access it but get blocked by your robots.txt.
It's a misunderstanding, you think you're asking google to delete the url and googlebot thinks you are asking it to crawl a link but then it gets blocked by your robots.txt
So I'm not sure if I need to remove it from robots.txt or leave it. I
keep reading conflicting things whether or not to edit the robots.txt.
The correct procedure is as follows ...
- configure your web server to return a 404 response for all deleted urls
- configure your web server to show the visitor a helpful "404 help" page (optional but nice)
- remove the deleted urls from your robots.txt (this will allow google to try to request them, get the 404 response and understand correctly that the urls have been deleted)
- submit an updated sitemap that only contains currently existing urls that you want google to crawl and index.
Has anyone tried the on-demand removal tool?
The "on-demand removal" tool only applies to "Google Custom Search". It has no effect on the general Google search public search index.
Think of "Google Custom Search" as an entirely separate private search engine just for your site. It just happens to be implemented by Google.
Note that robots.txt has no effect on "Google Custom Search".
Note that "Google Custom Search" & the general Google search public search index use separate sitemaps that do not influence each other.
You can create and manage "custom search" instances from within the "Google Search Console" (recently renamed from "Google Webmaster Tools")
Log into "Search Console", click "Other Resources" at the bottom of the left menu. Then click on
"Custom Search : Harness the power of Google to create a customized search experience for your own website." in the list displayed.
Assuming you are were using a "Custom Search" and wish to remove urls from it's index immediately, you must prefix the URL with a "-" symbol, and submit it in the "On-demand indexing using individual URLs" tool within the "Other Resources -> Custom Search" section of the "Google Search Console" website.
If it's not that urgent you can remove urls from a "Custom Search" index by submitting an updated sitemap that applies only to that "Custom Search" index.