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While robots.txt won't remove links from Google, it is a powerful tool for webmasters to use to control what Google sees.

Google has informed me that a link can be removed from Google if the webmaster of the site uses a robots.txt file. However, Google can not confirm if other engines can do the same-MSN, Yahoo etc. Should a webmaster be able to remove a link from other search engines by using the robots.txt file described by Google?

First, let's be clear - it won't remove anything. I assume that someday the link will disappear off of Google as it loses relevance, or maybe Google does something more related to cleaning dead links.

But robots.txt is still important for several reasons.

Robots.txt allows you to tell Google not to look at the pages in the first place. Google doesn't look, and the contents don't get added to its index.

All search engines are supposed to pay attention to robots.txt. And most well behaved major engines do. MSN, Yahoo, and so on are all major engines and do the right thing.

However do know that there are other search engines and crawlers that don't pay attention and will spider your site anyway.

Search Engine World has a good tutorial on robots.txt.

Update: my friend Paul Myers of TalkBiz News sent along this pointer to Google's own page: Remove Content from Google's Index which covers many of the points made here in more detail.

Article C2292 - February 26, 2005 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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2 Comments
brit
October 24, 2006 10:06 PM

wonderful!

Habteleul Wubayehu
October 3, 2008 10:50 PM

I post my CV to expatjobs.com. This site inturn posts my CV on google search engine.I really feel bad.My name is Habteleul.If you searched this name using google,you will get my CV.How can i remove it from this page.

Thanks;

The short answer is that you probably can't. Once something is out on the internet it's copied and mirrored and archived in so many places that removal next to impossible. Check out this article: How do I remove myself from the search engines?
- Leo
04-Oct-2008

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