A question commonly asked in the SEO/Webmaster community is how does one expedite the removal of a lot of pages from the Google search results.  According to John Mueller of Google in a help thread, in order to help expedite the process, you can try to use temporary sitemaps.

If you’re only dealing with a small amount of pages, the URL removal tool in Google Search Console is the fastest way to deal with them.  You can read up on the instructions over here.

But, rather than a few pages, if you have hundreds or thousands of pages, removing URLs one by one can take a long time.  John Meuller said that you an use temporary sitemaps to help you out.  First, 404 or set the pages or noindex.  After that, upload a temporary sitemap file with the URLs you want removed.  But make sure you list them with the last modification date as of the date you set them to 404.  This can speed things up by giving Google a hint to look at these pages because they have changed.  Once Google figures out the pages have changed are 404ed, it may remove them faster.

What John Mueller said: “One way to speed this up could be to submit a temporary sitemap file listing these URLs with the last modification date (eg, when you changed them to 404 or added a noindex), so that we know to recrawl & reprocess them,” he wrote in the thread. “This is something you’d just want to do for a limited time (maybe a few months), and then remove, so that you don’t end up in the long run with a sitemap file that’s not needed by your site.

But why would you want a lot of pages from the Google search results removed?  There are a number of reasons for this.  It could be that your site was hacked and tons of pages were created by the hacker.  Another could be that you’re not offering a set of products or services you have listed on your site, or perhaps due to a new regulation and you need to remove specific content or sections from your web site.

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