February 2019 Newsletter
New! System Status Page
We have added a System Status page to our website, which will report on the current operating status of our system, provide updates during performance disruptions, and also give information on past events.
We work hard to avoid service interruptions, and we know that you want to be aware if there is an issue. If we do have an unplanned degradation of performance or an outage, we work to get things back up and running as soon as possible.
We will continue to send email notifications at the beginning of an event, and upon resolution. Any scheduled maintenance windows are scheduled during non-working hours. In either case, we want to make sure you are aware if things aren’t running as expected.
SEO Pro Tip
What to do if something gets indexed that you don’t want indexed
We’ve had several questions recently about removing content from search results. There are two parts to this: filtering the pages out of your results (quick), and getting the search index updated to remove the items (slower).
Filtering the URLs
To filter a page from appearing in results, use our Filter URLs feature:
Admin Center > Content > Domains > Advanced > Filter URLs
If you need to block a whole folder or subdomain from your results, email us and we can add a filter in the back end for you.
Updating the Index
To get the URL out of the index, there are a few options after the URL has been filtered from the result.
If the page has been removed from the site:
- If the URL is returning a 404 status, you’ll need to wait a bit. The commercial search engines will hang on to 404s for a while, in case they were thrown in error. Search.gov does a regular sweep to clear out any pages returning 404s.
- If the URL has a 301 redirect to another URL, all search engines will update their indexes to clear out the old URL and replace it with the new one.
If the page is still live on your site, but you do not want it indexed by search engines, please see our tips on robots noindex meta tags.
If the page has been taken down, but the URL is still returning a 200 OK response, search engines will have no way of knowing the page needs to be removed.
It’s fine to block the URLs or folders on your robots.txt file, but you will still need to change the page’s status response to something other than 200 OK, preferably a 301 redirect to another location. Robots.txt file settings control crawling, but do not have an affect if an indexer accesses a URL directly, such as via a link from another site, or from a sitemap.
Want to learn about the latest features, fixes, and focuses of the Search team? We post monthly Release Notes on our website.