Monday, 1 November 2010

How to remove a blogger entry from google cache

I've learnt from my own stupidity, and hopefully this advice benefits others. First of all, don't write anything on your blog or website you might regret later.

The benefits of blogger and google are clear. You write something, almost instantly its available to the World via Googles search results. The downside, when you do something in the heat of the moment, you cannot get rid of it easily.

I removed the page, but google had cached it. No worries, it won't link to the page, but snippets are still viewable in Google. Eventually, the little cached link appears and you can still view what was written anyway.

At this point, I did the usual searching and was pointed to googles webmaster tools, and the Web Removal Tool they use. I requested the item to be removed (still pending). I then removed the blog compeltely, and tried to use the Web Removal Tool to remove the entire site. This was rejected by Google.

Why? Because I couldn't edit the Robots.txt preventing google from accessing the removed pages, thus forcing them to recache and remove. But, Blogger doesnt allow you to edit it. This is a major flaw in the Blogger product in my opinion as it means it's very difficult to have parts of your site which you don't want cached by the World.

The way I solved the problem was to add a Meta Tag to the home page which blocked google from caching this page, and any subsequent pages. This forced them after a couple of hours to remove the web link the page which no longer existed. I used  META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="INDEX,NOFOLLOW   which I added to the Head of the HTML file for the blogger template.

This solved the issue of the page displaying in Googles cache and users being able to view the page with the text you didnt want to display but it was not removed from the home page of the blog. Users still get a preview of the article in the cache, but its no longer viewable.

I'm yet to find a solution for this. I've removed all the Meta Tags and changed the blogger settings back to get picked up by the search engines again, but it still remains. I guess a simple solution would be to fill the home page with fake blog posts until it tips over the home page limit for entries.

Update: 2.11.2010

I managed to get the information from the home page cache by adding new blog articles, and then google will recache it.

Another solution is to submit a Web Removal request for CACHE ONLY on the grounds that the content has now changed. It will then update the cache for you.

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