Removing a URL from Google’s Index with Google Webmaster Tools

You have a beta site in production and project completion is weeks or months away. By chance you catch that the site has been indexed by Google. It could be that your staging server has been indexed. Or maybe your client has shared the beta site’s link on twitter or facebook.

Regardless of how it happened, you are going to want to get this off Google’s index ASAP.

  • The site could start getting visitors who would be viewing incomplete design and information
  • People might start trying to order products if it is an e-commerce site
  • There will be duplicate content issues which could harm the current site’s rankings

Thankfully Google gives us a tool to request the removal of an entire website from its index.

To get started you need to make an account for the site with Google Webmaster Tools.

Once you have this setup, navigate to Site Configuration -> Crawler Access. On this page is a link for Remove URL. Plug in the root domain of your site. That’s it!

We recently had two sites we submitted for removal and both were removed in under two hours.

Now that you have taken steps to remove the beta site from Google’s index, this would be a good time to prevent it from happening again. Take a look at creating a robots.txt file to prevent search engines from indexing your beta sites. Just remember to remove the search engine restrictions once the site goes live!

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