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    Is Password-Protecting Equivalent to Deleting a Post for Google?


    Hi all,

    I am deleting a few posts that I suspect might adversely impact my website EAT (ie.: reviews of health and nutrition books when I deal with social skills).

    Do you think that password-protecting those posts and filing a removal request through Search Console is equivalent to deleting?
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    Depends to some extent on how you password protect. Most authentication would return a 403 code if not authenticated rather than a 404, so 403 means it still there where as 404 means it is not. If your goal is to remove all trace deleting and 404 ing it would be more definite than password protecting.
    Making sure it is not crawlabale, not indexable and not findable would help this situation too.
    Do that and request removal from GSC.
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    Yep, you're right.
    Password with wordpress returns 200 (weird, but maybe it has something to do with Sucuri).

    Password-protecting with Sucuri returns 403.

    Any idea on making that page "dsappear" in Google's eyes without actually deleting it?
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    If the content is not important then just remove it.. but you have stated you want to avoid doing that.

    So as I see it you have this solution, rather complicated, but it does avoid deleting the content ....

    This page you want removed, somewhere there is a link on the net that points to it. As such Google is going to come back time and again to crawl it because of that link.

    First you need to remove the link from the internet. Chances are you are not able to find that link and hence your problem. In any event that page is in the index and Google is going to attempt to crawl it.

    So to make this page go away for good you need to convince Google it is gone. A 410 status code will do this.

    So I suggest the following....

    When Google comes and crawls your site you need to detect the googlebot.

    Then make sure the page in question is behind a login if this page has value to your user base.

    Now make a redirect for all googlebots and any other bots, like bingbots and yahoo slurp bots, and have that redirect go to a page that returns a 410 status code.

    The end result will be that Google will remove the page from the index within 24 hours after it's next crawl of that page.

    This also fixes the issue of a link anywhere on the net causing googlebot to recrawl the page.

    By putting the page behind a login, you are not serving two versions of the page that can be misconstrued to manipulate the rankings.

    This solution requires that you have coding skills, so if you don't you will need to out source this work.

    Here is what you need if you're on a linux server. This example assumes you are using php files, also you will have to have a rewrite condition for "Each Bot"
    Google I think uses 9 different bots
    Then there is Yahoo and Bing bots to add.

    Code:
    RewriteEngine on
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} = bot-user-agent
     
    # you will have to include a RewriteCond line for each bot you want to block
    
    RewriteRule    "^/my-page-I-want-blocked\.php$"  "/my-410.php"  [R]
    Like I said rather complicated, but it will solve your dilemma and let you keep the pages on your site and remove them from all indexes. Also you can not block this page in your robots.txt file. The reason is you want the SE's to crawl and recognize the 410 status code.
    Last edited by KnowOneSpecial; Apr 10th, 2019 at 11:46 AM. Reason: Clarity
    If you have never failed in your life, you have never achieved anything Noteworthy !
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    you could simply rename the page in question and include a robots meta tag for noindex nofollow.
    Pointless doing it on the current URL if google already know about the page.
    Belt and braces would also be to put a password on the new page.
    IMHO
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    Thank you KnowOne!

    And thank you Chedders!

    Given my limited tech skills I like the changing URL idea.
    Seems like an easier solution for tech-challenged folks.
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    Quick follow-up doubts: do you guys think it's enough to use Yoast for marking the new pages as no-index or should one manually change the robot.txt file?

    And should one then avoid linking to those pages from any other page?
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    Do not depend on robots.txt, you will just end up with more pages in the index that you wished were never indexed.

    Nowhere do you see a robots directive that implies "no index". Robots.txt is used to prevent crawling of a page by a search engine. It does not, it will not prevent indexing.

    The robots meta tag or header-x tags are used to prevent indexing.
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    Thank you KnowOne.

    And would this Yoast's option take care of that?

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    Personally I haven't used Yoast in many years. Not saying it isn't of any use, far from it. I use other alternatives that are better suited for me.

    But I do think you are in the correct place, and you only want the robots meta tag to be "noindex" for that page, "NOT SITE WIDE". That would kill your site in the serps.
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    Thank you KnowOne!

    If I might dare saying, your nickname couldn't be more wrong: you do are special to many here
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    If anyone asks who help you... just say, "know one special" helped me !

    Just for the record, I took my name as a spin off from "THE LEGEND OF ODYSSEUS AND POLYPHEMUS".

    If you're not familiar with the legend, Odysseus told the Cyclops Polyphemus his name was "Nobody", This cyclops ate 12 of Odysseus's men, then Odysseus blinded him after getting him drunk on wine. The cyclops then started howling and screaming in pain, the remaining cyclops came and asked who was hurting him, he said "nobody was hurting him". Odysseus and the remainder of his men then escaped from island of Sicily where the Cyclops lived.
    Last edited by KnowOneSpecial; Apr 11th, 2019 at 06:25 PM.
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    Ahaha will do that.

    And cool story, I do am familiar with Ulisses and his voyages.
    Indeed I always thought of calling a possible future dog "Argos" as that was his dog's name

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