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Step By Step Guide To Remove Outdated Content Using Google Tools

Learn to Remove Outdated Content Using GSC

Mahi Kothari
Remove Outdated Content Using Google Tools

Imagine walking into a library where half the books are outdated, irrelevant, or outrightly share incorrect knowledge. A similar experience users get when they scroll through a website with unrefreshed and obsolete content. Removing such content isn't just about decluttering your website or ranking better on Google; it's about ensuring the accuracy, relevance, and trustworthiness of the information users rely on daily. Maintaining its quality is more critical than ever in a world where information is at our fingertips.

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What is Outdated Content?

Obsolete or outdated content refers to dead pages, information offered that is no longer relevant or accurate due to changes over time. This type of content may include old statistics, expired offers, or outdated technology references, making it crucial to update or remove such material regularly to maintain credibility and user trust. Some examples of outdated content are:

1. Outdated information (e.g., old tech issues, discontinued products, old statistics).

2. Event announcements for past events, webinars, or conferences.

3. Sales and discounts that have ended.

4. Information about limited-time products or services is no longer available.

5. Old news articles covering events or updates from several years ago.

6. Previous years' reports or reviews have not been updated for the current year.

7. User guides for older versions of software.

8. Technical specifications for older models of products are no longer in production.

9. Broken external links to resources that no longer exist or have moved.

10. Internal 404 errors lead to pages that have been removed or relocated.

Benefits of Removing Outdated Content From Google

Outdated content not only frustrates users but also undermines the credibility of websites. Regularly updating information ensures that users receive the most pertinent and reliable results, thereby enhancing their overall browsing experience. This practice boosts a website's SEO performance, leading to improved rankings and increased organic traffic.

1. Better User Experience

You do not want to share irrelevant content when users stumble upon your website. Users expect efficient and accurate results when searching online, and outdated content can lead to frustration and confusion. By keeping search results updated, users enjoy a smoother, more intuitive browsing experience, which fosters trust in the platform and encourages repeated use.

2. Improved Website Performance & SEO

Maintaining current and relevant content for website owners positively impacts their long-term and short-term SEO goals. Search engines like Google prioritize fresh, high-quality content and give value to regularly updated content. Eliminating outdated material can boost a site's ranking. This, in turn, increases organic traffic, engagement, and credibility.

3. Enhanced Search Accuracy & Relevance

Outdated content can mislead users by presenting obsolete or incorrect information. Removing such content makes search results more accurate and relevant, ensuring that users quickly find the most up-to-date and reliable information. This improves user satisfaction and trust in the search engine.

Steps to Remove Outdated Content on Google Search Console

Before we discuss the steps to remove outdated content from your website, let's review the prerequisite list.

1. You have the URL on a Search Console Property that you own and must be indexed by Google.

2. You have updated text or information on the page and want Google to treat the page for its new information now.

If the above requisites match the URL, let's take further steps to remove it from Google. With the January 2020 update, you can now use the removal tool on Google Search Console in three ways.

1. Temporary Removal

Temporary Removal of URLs Using Google Search Console (GSC)
Temporary Removal of URLs Using Google Search Console (GSC)

Follow the below steps for temporary removal of URLs.

1. Open the Removal Tool

Start by logging into your Google Search Console account and navigating to the Removals tool.

2. Select the Temporary Removals Tab

Click on the “Temporary Removals” tab to begin the process.

3. Create a New Request

Click on "New Request" to start a new removal process.

4. Choose the Removal Type

You will have two options:

 1. Temporarily Remove URL: This process blocks the URL from Google Search results for about six months. Note that this process does not guarantee complete removal, and the page can reappear in search results after the blackout period. The page will be recrawled before appearing in search results again.

 2. Clear Snippet In Search: Use this feature when you remove sensitive information from a page and want to update your result snippet in Google Search. Note that the page might still appear in Search results if other parts of the content match search queries until the page is reindexed, but the removed information won't appear in the snippet.

5. Complete the Process

Select the desired option (Temporarily Remove URL or Clear Cached URL). Click “Next” and follow the prompts to complete the request.

6. Check the Request Status

The request usually takes up to a day to process and is not guaranteed to be accepted. Check back in the Removals tool to see the status of your request. If your request is denied, click "Learn more" to understand why and how to correct it.

7. Submit Additional Requests for Variations

If multiple URLs might point to the same page, such as variations in URL casing or query parameters, you need to submit additional removal requests.

For example:

2. Refresh Outdated Content

Refresh Outdated Content Using Google Search Console (GSC)
Refresh Outdated Content Using Google Search Console (GSC)

Use the Refresh Outdated Content tool to have Google update search results for pages or images that no longer exist or pages that have deleted important (sensitive or critical) content.

Steps to Use the Refresh Outdated Content Tool

1. Select the Outdated Content Tool

2. Enter the URL of the page or image in the required format.

3. Click Submit.

4. If the page or image still exists at the URL provided, provide 1-2 words that existed in the snippet but are no longer live, if asked.

5. After submission, your request will be added to the request queue at the bottom of the tool.

6. Periodically check back to see the status of your request. If denied, a link to an explanation will be provided.

7. If approved: The page will be removed from Search results if it is no longer available. If the page is still available but has been changed, the snippet will be removed from search results and refreshed the next time Google's crawler visits the page. Note that the effectiveness of this tool depends on whether the page has significantly changed or been removed.

3. SafeSearch Report

Use this tool to report URLs that contain adult-only content. URLs submitted using this tool are reviewed, and if Google feels that this content should be filtered from SafeSearch results, these URLs are tagged as adult content.

Steps to Use SafeSearch Tool

Using SafeSearch Filtering in Google Search Console (GSC)
Using SafeSearch Filtering in Google Search Console (GSC)

1. Access the tool to manage URL SafeSearch requests.

2. Submit the URL

3. Check the status of each SafeSearch filtering request:

 1. Processing Request: Pending review.

 2. Request Canceled: Canceled by the user.

 3. Request Denied: Denied by Google.

 4. Filtered: Tagged as adult content and filtered from SafeSearch results.

Note that SafeSearch filtering is subject to Google's discretion and review process.

Follow the Below Steps for Permanent Removal of the URL

To ensure the URL is removed permanently, take the following steps:

1. Use the 'noindex' Tag: Add a 'noindex' meta tag to the page's HTML head section. This tells search engines not to index the page, ensuring it won't appear in search results.

2. Delete the Content: If possible, delete the content from your server. It is the most straightforward way to ensure it won't be indexed again.

3. 404 or 410 Status Code: Configure the server to return a 404 (Not Found) or 410 (Gone) status code for the URL. It signals to search engines that the content is permanently removed.

4. Update the Robots.txt File: Edit your robots.txt file to block Google's crawlers from accessing the URL. Note that this prevents future crawling but cannot prevent indexing of already indexed pages.

When to Remove or Refresh Content?

Outdated or irrelevant content can hurt your website's SEO performance and lead to poor user experience. Knowing when to remove outdated content or refresh existing content is key to optimizing your site’s visibility and credibility. Let's find out some key factors to decide when to remove or refresh outdated content:

Deciding Factors on When to Remove

1. If the content has significantly low traffic, high bounce rates, and low engagement, it may no longer be relevant or interesting to your audience.

2. Content that is outdated, inaccurate, or irrelevant to your industry or audience should be considered for removal.

3. If multiple pages on your site cover the same topic, removing redundant content can help avoid SEO penalties and improve overall site quality. Be careful not to lose valuable backlinks.

4. If the content is shallow, lacks depth, or fails to provide value, it's better to remove it to maintain your website's credibility and authority.

5. Content with numerous broken links can harm user experience and SEO, making it a candidate for removal.

Deciding Factors on When to Refresh

1. Content that remains relevant but has seen a decline in traffic and engagement should be updated with current information, statistics, and best practices.

2. Pages with valuable backlinks should be refreshed to retain their SEO benefits and improve relevance.

3. Content created using outdated SEO practices should be updated with new keywords, meta descriptions, and headers to improve search engine rankings.

4. Refresh content with updated images, better formatting, and improved design to enhance visual appeal and user experience.

5. High-performing evergreen content that continues to attract traffic over time should be periodically updated to keep it accurate and valuable.

6. Regularly audit content to maintain relevance and accuracy.

What Is the Difference Between GSC Removal Tool and Refresh Tool?

The Removals tool is used when a page or image still exists and you want to temporarily (for 180 days) remove it from Google Search results or if the page or image has already been removed but still appears in the search results. To use this tool, you must own the property in Search Console.

The Refresh Outdated Content tool is used when a page or image no longer exists on the web or has been updated, but the old version still appears in Google Search results. This tool can remove or update outdated content in the search results. Website ownership is not required to use this tool.

How Quattr Helps You Find Out Outdated Content

Quattr offers a comprehensive content audit feature that helps you evaluate the performance of your website’s content. It analyzes metrics such as traffic, engagement rates, and SEO factors. The detailed assessment allows you to pinpoint exactly which content needs attention.

By leveraging advanced SEO insights, Quattr helps you understand which pages lose visibility in search results due to outdated practices or content quality issues. It highlights areas where content can be improved or updated, ensuring your website remains competitive and relevant in search engine rankings.

Additionally, Quattr tracks changes in industry trends and audience behavior, alerting you to content that may no longer align with current interests or standards. It helps your site continuously deliver valuable and up-to-date information, enhancing user experience and maintaining its authority.

Remove Outdated Content With Quattr's Help Today!

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Remove Outdated Content Using GSC FAQs

How does outdated content impact ranking and user experience?

Outdated content can affect both search engine rankings and user experience. Search engines prioritize fresh, relevant information, while users become frustrated with obsolete data, resulting in higher bounce rates. Regularly updating content is crucial for maintaining engagement and ensuring your website remains competitive in search results.

Do I need to own the website to request the removal?

No, you do not need to own the website to request the removal of outdated content using the Refresh Outdated Content tool. However, to use the Removals tool, you must own the property in Search Console.

Can I remove images from Google search results using these tools?

Yes, both the Removals tool and the Refresh Outdated Content tool can be used to remove images from Google Search results, depending on whether the image still exists or has been updated or removed from the web.

About The Author

Mahi Kothari

Mahi Kothari is the Senior Content Strategist at Quattr. With over three of experience in content marketing and SEO, she has successfully driven organic traffic growth & brand visibility for various B2B SaaS companies. Mahi specializes in developing comprehensive content strategies from scratch, managing content teams, and optimizing SEO practices. She is passionate about all aspects of content marketing, including content creation, SEO optimization, and strategic content distribution.

About Quattr

Quattr is an innovative and fast-growing venture-backed company based in Palo Alto, California USA. We are a Delaware corporation that has raised over $7M in venture capital. Quattr's AI-first platform evaluates like search engines to find opportunities across content, experience, and discoverability. A team of growth concierge analyze your data and recommends the top improvements to make for faster organic traffic growth. Growth-driven brands trust Quattr and are seeing sustained traffic growth.

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