It’s a bright sunny day, the birds are singing, the washing is drying, the horses are neighing and the chooks are digging out your favourite plant in the garden.
Suddenly, your mobile phone rings, you find out Google has spidered some links on your website which were supposed to be private and not indexed on the Net.
What do you do??? I hear you scream!?*&^ ugh!
4 days earlier….
You rocked into work and decided today was the day you were signing up for Google Webmaster Tools.
The first thing you did was to verify your site with Google. This told Google what sites you had control over. You had the choice to either upload a blank HTML file to the root directory of your web server or insert a meta tag into the head of your home page’s html code. You chose the former as the latter meant arguing with your web developer – something to be avoided at all costs.
Once that was done Google verified you had the authority to access the Webmaster Tools for your website. Success – you were now in control! (Or so you thought…)
It’s 2 minutes since you put down the phone from you privacy infringement disaster. Your panic has subsided and you are now starting to think rationally.
Maybe, you think, the Google Webmaster toolset might have something to help you remove those offending pages.
So now you fire up your trusty Firefox web browser and access the tool set.
Aha – you find what you are looking for – the Remove URLS tool! This tool enables you to explicitly tell Google which urls to remove from their index.
You follow the instructions – advise the URLS to be removed – and voila your problem is solved! Well pretty much – it may take a little time for the URLs to go, but they will fairly quickly.
Now you can go back and chase those deviant chooks out of the garden!
PS – This story is true – well the bit about the privacy infringement anyway – it happened to a friend of a friend of mine – the rest I sort of made up. But registering your site with Google to access the Webmaster tools does make life a lot easier if something does go wrong. The tools do offer a lot more – something to discuss for another day…
The Google Webmaster tools are available from http://www.google.com/support/webmasters
The Google Webmaster Tools Quick Start Guide is available from http://www.google.com/webmasters/edu/quickstartguide/
Further information about the Google Webmaster Tools are available from the eGovernment Resource Centre – http://www.egov.vic.gov.au/ – type “Google Webmaster Tools” into the search box and some helpful external resources will be found.