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Outdated Content And Google Custom Search

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Outdated Content And Google Custom Search
Photo by Fredy Jacob on Unsplash

Note 7.15.22: This post refers to my previous iteration of built with GatsbyJS.

Yesterday I pretty much completed this site. There are still things to do, add, etc. But that will happen over time as needed.

There was still one very important thing I hadn't addressed. In fact, in my opinion, it's AS IMPORTANT as the code a site is created with. However, it only relates to sites that have been propagated from one hosting service to another AND share the same URL, or simply content that has been removed from an existing site. In my case, the site contained the same URL at the old hosting service and the new one, BUT the former was HTTP and now it is set to HTTPS. This point too is important.

Removing outdated content from Google Search

What am I talking about? Removing outdated content from Google Search. For me this was especially important because I added Google Custom Search to the site. This means that people search for content using Google Custom Search, which uses Google Search to create custom searches on sites. Whatever the visitor searches for on the site will appear in the Google Custom Search, a site's customized view of its content in Google Search. So if a website owner has deleted a lot of content from the prior hosted version of their site or deleted from their existing site, it will STILL appear in the current site's Google Custom Search. That is just not very cool, right?

Perhaps those of you who are devs think is is a very rudimentary or boring topic. However, no one knows this information by default, and there are those who are not developers, who might want to know! And besides, why would they want to pay someone to do something that really is quite simple, when they could do it themselves and save their resources for bigger, better, and more complicated, code-related things they don't want to and can't implement themselves.

There are steps you have to take in order to take advantage of Google's outdated content feature.

First, and most important, you need to have a gmail account. This gains you access to all Google products. Next, you want to make sure that you are recognized as the owner of your web property (site). I have had web properties via the Google Search Console (formerly known as WebMaster Tools) since 2010, when Google WebMaster Tools was released. I have also been using Google Analytics forever, so Google recognizes me as the owner of the sites I have added as properties that I own. You can also bypass Google Analytics and add a web property via the Google Search Console. I personally like to use Google Analytics (now programmatically improved upon by gtags) so I can know how much traffic I am getting on my site and where.

If you are already set up in some way with the Google Search Console, you can immediately take advantage of the remove outdated content feature.

Happy outdated content removal!