I took over as WM for our website a while ago. The old website was produced using html code, new 1 using proprietary software. I've tried blocking old URLs in Google (ending in .htm) but not completely successful. Instead it appears some of my current pages (ending .html) have been blocked from searching (403 codes)! There are no robots. Also get messages: "no structured data ...", "duplicate title tags" (all old .htm pages). When I do google search I get the usual result (index page then 6 sub pages) but 3 of the 6 are old website pages. At a loss to what to do. As an amateur any advice appreciated.

  • 1
    How did you try to block old URLs?
    – MrWhite
    Feb 24, 2016 at 12:19

1 Answer 1


What to try:

Set 301 redirects, basically 301 redirect will tell google that this page is moved permanently and redirect robots and visitors to your new page address.

If you have the same content on both the old and new pages, you can always go for rel="canonical" on your old pages pointing to your new pages, but I recommend 301 redirect.

Resubmit sitemap.xml file in Google Console (Webmaster Tools), and make a request for reindex of your site.

Error code 403

In theory: A web server may return a 403 Forbidden HTTP status code in response to a request from a client for a web page or resource to indicate that the server can be reached and understood the request, but refuses to take any further action. Status code 403 responses are the result of the web server being configured to deny access, for some reason, to the requested resource by the client.

Actions you can take

You should add index.php file in every directory of your website if it's lacking, (It can also be empty). You should add a robots.txt file, you should disallow admin, login and search modules and other modules you want to hide from the search engine. It could be a server side problem or file permission problem it would be usefull if you can send a list of the file permissions on your site in a perfect universe your content that should be displayed to both users and google should have a 755 code which means you can read-write-execute , while group and world can read and execute your files.But not all of your files should have 755 permissions, if you need a list of files you need to change I can provide you one.

  • Why "add index.php file in every directory"? Generally, files should not have the execute bit set (directories should), so 644 would be more appropriate.
    – MrWhite
    Feb 24, 2016 at 12:30
  • Adding index.php in sub-directories of your site is essential because then when you try to open /includes for example you will end up in a blank page, and the part with the permissions I already said that you don't need them on most of the files with 755, but there are some you need to ensure 755 permission is set.
    – knif3r
    Feb 24, 2016 at 13:25
  • w3dk: Tried google delete urls - denied. Tried temporary delete - failed. Google search still brings up some old pages (over1 year old). Bing search brings up correct pages.
    – Archer
    Feb 25, 2016 at 9:10
  • knif3r: problem is I no longer have access to the 'old' pages - they went over a year ago. Is it possible they're still sitting on the hosting service's server somewhere?
    – Archer
    Feb 25, 2016 at 9:13
  • If you can view the old pages, they exist.
    – knif3r
    Feb 25, 2016 at 9:16

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