What happens if you have a page on your website which you need to remove in a hurry? Maybe you published something you shouldn’t have done, or something’s happened and you just want to delete all references to the subject. I’m not sure I’d simply delete the page; there may be ‘cached’ (externally saved) copies around the web, including at Google, and when I arrive at a site from a search engine to find a page which has gone away, I often go back to look for its cached copy.
You could ‘301-redirect’ the URL to somewhere else, but that might still take a while to find its way out of the search engines. It may be better to just replace the copy on the page with a message, so that the offending content goes, but Google and other search engines update their cached copies too. Don’t forget to update the page title and description meta tags if you do that.
Alongside this, however, there’s a Google tool for removing pages, as part of Search Console. This used to take a few days to have any effect, but seems to work much more quickly now. So I think I would:
- Replace all the copy on the page with a message
- Use Search Console to ask Google to (re)index it using the Fetch as Google tool
- Use Search Console to ask Google to remove the page
- Once you’ve tested in Google that the page has been removed, 301-redirect the URL to your home page or a replacement for the deleted page