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Why does Google return results to sites that no longer exist?

Participant ,
Oct 28, 2020

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Most pages on my website have a search box. If a user enters a search term here, a list of Google results is returned.

 

For example, go to a page on the site that has the search bar (some more recently updated pages in this site do not have the Search bar). Such a page is  https://www.higgsy.co.uk/binning_sophia_olivia.php

And enter a search. In this example I searched for "Edward". Many links are returned.

bad google results.JPG

 

But all the links with a prefix of the form vnn, such as v37 and v38 and v45 go nowhere because they all point to early versions of my website that were once live and online.    My live site is v55 which is published as  https://ancestry.higgsy.co.uk

 

I have removed all the source files for these early sites off my hosting server.  I have also deleted those domain names.

 

Is there any way to suppress these results from Google? many thanks

Oh dear! redirect at server level, canonical URLs, site Maps, backlinks and even a database! I am frozen into inaction and worry about all these good suggestions. However I have decided to implement a course of action which none of you kind folks suggested - I will remove the search box from the site! I will come back to this question and your kind suggestions at a later date thank you all very much

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Why does Google return results to sites that no longer exist?

Participant ,
Oct 28, 2020

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Most pages on my website have a search box. If a user enters a search term here, a list of Google results is returned.

 

For example, go to a page on the site that has the search bar (some more recently updated pages in this site do not have the Search bar). Such a page is  https://www.higgsy.co.uk/binning_sophia_olivia.php

And enter a search. In this example I searched for "Edward". Many links are returned.

bad google results.JPG

 

But all the links with a prefix of the form vnn, such as v37 and v38 and v45 go nowhere because they all point to early versions of my website that were once live and online.    My live site is v55 which is published as  https://ancestry.higgsy.co.uk

 

I have removed all the source files for these early sites off my hosting server.  I have also deleted those domain names.

 

Is there any way to suppress these results from Google? many thanks

Oh dear! redirect at server level, canonical URLs, site Maps, backlinks and even a database! I am frozen into inaction and worry about all these good suggestions. However I have decided to implement a course of action which none of you kind folks suggested - I will remove the search box from the site! I will come back to this question and your kind suggestions at a later date thank you all very much

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Oct 28, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 28, 2020

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There's not really much you can do with Google to fix that. Nothing that would be instant, or even "reasonably quick"  anyway.

It's best to create a redirect at the server level, to push viewers to your existing site when they type something in or click through to a page that no longer exists.

It's not very difficult to do.

https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/93633?hl=en

 

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Oct 28, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 28, 2020

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Do you use canonical URLS and have an XML site map on your server? 

 

Use Google Console to tell Google bot where your site map is located and request site re-indexing.   When Google detects a URL that's 404 not found, it will eventually drop that URL from search result pages (SERPs), although it may take 3-5 weeks to see results.  If you redirect the old URL to a new URL, Google won't know that it's 404 and should be dropped from SERPs.

 

Nancy O'Shea, ACP
Alt-Web Design & Publishing

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Oct 28, 2020 0
LEGEND ,
Oct 28, 2020

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'Use Google Console to tell Google bot where your site map is located and request site re-indexing'.

 

In my experience Google doesnt always do a good job at re-indexing a wesbite. Some of my clients have a few dead pages still listed from years back and I cant be asked to request a removal by Google, just dont use it for internal website searches would be my advice.

 

Problem with Google is it not only lists current information but also information which is no longer relative. Its a time-consuming art-form trying to sift through the crap.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 28, 2020

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'Some of my clients have a few dead pages still listed from years back "

Google does what Google does.  Fortunately, I don't have that problem.  But I keep my XML site maps up to date which helps alleviate that problem.

 

Nancy O'Shea, ACP
Alt-Web Design & Publishing

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LEGEND ,
Oct 28, 2020

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Yeah, but I haven't a clue why Google still spiders the website and 'finds' a page which is obviously NOT present any longer and hasn't been for many years, yet still it gets listed. You'd think Google, for all the heresay about its 'wonderful' algorithms would be clever enough to realize a website page, listed in its directory, actually isn't there any longer and remove it. It's obviously not all that clever!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 28, 2020

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Is there any possibility that back links are coming to a now dead URL that is redirecting to another URL?

If so, Google thinks it's good.

 

 

 

Nancy O'Shea, ACP
Alt-Web Design & Publishing

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Oct 28, 2020 0
LEGEND ,
Oct 28, 2020

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Not too sure. The positive is the few listing/s arent exactly high priority, so I don't think the client is really that upset and they go to a 404 page with current site navigation so if anyone does click on the listings at least there is some logic.

 

The more pressing issue is if there are multiple occurrences of listings which are no longer current, that's when it becomes annoying for the user of the website. 

 

 

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LEGEND ,
Oct 28, 2020

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Google is a poor option for performing an internal website page search. If your names are held in a database then you should perform a search of the database NOT an external source, which as you have found out is never current and will annoy anyone on your website performing a search of it.

I had the same situation  years ago, after taking over a website for a client, most annoying indeed for users of that website. Eventually when the website was re-designed I put all the information into a database and searched that....only current information guaranteed, is returned.

 

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Participant ,
Oct 29, 2020

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Oh dear! redirect at server level, canonical URLs, site Maps, backlinks and even a database! I am frozen into inaction and worry about all these good suggestions. However I have decided to implement a course of action which none of you kind folks suggested - I will remove the search box from the site! I will come back to this question and your kind suggestions at a later date thank you all very much

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Oct 29, 2020 0