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Right now they show 404 and all the internal links to them have been removed. Is this the fastest way to remove them from Google's main index? I know they will linger for ages on supplementals, but I just want google to know that these pages no longer exist, and I want them to find that out asap. I am afraid that google will wait weeks, 404 after 404 before acting.
These pages have also been marked on the database so with 1-2 hours of work, I have the option to put to <meta name="robots" content="noindex, nofollow"> on them.
Assuming that these pages have contributed to my penalty, I'd like the "return to previous rank" count to start as soon as possible.
any suggestions? Thanks.
You can use Google's URL removal tool - I've done it to correct URLs that I didn't want indexed (thanks to the Google toolbar). The instructions are pretty clear, but some have removed thier entire sites by accident. That's probably the fastest method.
That process (URL removal) does eventually expire so you really need to make sure these pages are gone or you block them with robots.txt (which I did).
However, I feel that I may not have enough data on some pages so I am removing them--for now. Once this is cleared I will review them one by one and more info. I think links did me in...combined with borderline thin content on enough pages. It all started when I linked from another site of mine. I linked only from the homepage, but a post-nuke rewrite screwup made it seem like 8000+ pages (relative links, and all bogus folders and files showed the front page :)). Who knows, but I have to try. Maybe the links earned me and others a manual site review.
Tedster, I remember reading the 410 comment too, I think from Matt. I was shocked but I am sure they have their reasons. How fast would a noindex work, and would Goog still calculate (even if they don't display) them?
If the page does not exist, then Google hangs on to a copy of it for a year as a Supplemental Result. They do this simply so that someone who looked at that page a few weeks or months ago can still find it in the SERPs. They can then view the old cache even though the page no longer exists within your site.
Your custom 404 error page should be there to tell the visitor that the page has gone and to present them with a set of links to the major content sections of your site.