When a site is still in development, you don’t want it coming up in any Google search results. Surprisingly, it’s a very common technical issue whereby inadvertently Google indexes a development server or a staged site.
By accidentally exposing a site that is not ready for public consumption yet, you run the risk of revealing planned marketing campaigns, personal or company data, business intelligence, and you may be opening yourself up to hacking.
The first step to keeping your business website from being indexed by Google is to search for it using the site:domain.com format. There are also third party software and apps that will help find subdomains. In terms of login portals and similar pages, blocking them in the robots.txt file is also a healthy habit to get into.
Beyond the basics, to keep a page out of the index, include server-side authentication on it. There is preferred by many webmasters and is found to help in guarding pages from general browsing and search engines. Also, whitelisting is another method favored in this case. That is, only known IP addresses are allowed to access a certain page. Doing this will help to keep a site secure and, when done correctly, should work in keeping pages off of any search engine.
Blocking pages in a robots.txt file by employing noindex, as we mentioned, is somewhere to get started with however there is something to this in that it notifies anyone who has a hold of that robots.txt file where to find pages.
The worst thing you can do when trying to prevent a site from being indexed on search engines is simply doing nothing and then, wishing for best. Though you might assume no one will ever find the page or link to the area, you can run into issues in the short- and long-term.
Though it’s common to use a disallow in your robots.txt file to block a site from being indexed, this is a big misconception. A disallow is just telling a search engine not to crawl the page. It does not prevent any search engine from indexing a page.
Naturally some people may make the mistake of having a page accidentally indexed. If you’ve made this mistake or any of the mistakes mentioned here in the past, it’s an easy fix. All you need to do is to get into your Google Search Console and submit a ‘URL removal request’. This should be easily found in your options. By putting in a URL removal request, you prevent a URL from being listed for up to ninety days. In that period, delve into the strategies we have mentioned here to ensure your site is being properly protected from Google indexing.
No matter what, don’t just leave a development site out there without any protection because it will inevitably be crawled by Google. By successfully using the tips mentioned, you can plan a proper page release instead of exposing something incomplete to consumers.