Google Custom Search: Removing Pages From Your Search Engine

Ian Lurie

At some point, you’ll need to delete old content from your Google Custom Search Engine. For example:

A client of ours just launched a new site using the Google Custom Search Engine. Problem was, their custom search tool was still showing links to old pages. When visitors performed a search, they’d get a page full of broken links.

Luckily, Google’s got an easy way to remove those pages, right in your search engine control panel.

Here’s how you use it:

Step 1: First, log in at
Then go to ‘Control Panel >> Sites’:

Exclude from Google Custom Search - 1

Step 2: Click ‘Exclude Sites’:

Exclude from Google Custom Search - 2

Step 3: Don’t worry about URL Patterns or any other fancy stuff just yet. Just enter in the URL you need to remove from your search engine:

Exclude from Google Custom Search - 3

In this example, I’ve excluded every page in the ‘/oldstuff/’ folder. Select the second option to just exclude a specific page.

Optional – Exclude multiple pages: If you’d rather exclude a lot of pages at once, you can click ‘Exclude sites in bulk’ and enter a list:

Exclude from Google Custom Search

Step 4: Click ‘Save’. Within about 10-15 minutes, the pages will disappear from your site index.

This is a fantastic tool. It allows you to keep your site up to date.

You can also use Google Marker to add or exclude pages while you’re browsing.

There are other ways to upload lots of pages at once using XML, OPML or a tab-delimited file. You can check the documentation for those. If I hear from a few folks that they’d like a tutorial on those, I’ll put something together.

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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