How to remove pages and images from Google sitelinks

Okay, you’ve built a beautiful website and worked hard to build SEO-friendly content and pages. One day, you go to Google and search for your website and you’re HORRIFIED. Some random page or image on your website is showing up as a sitelink in the Google search result. What do you do?!

What are sitelinks?

Sitelinks are the links that Google displays within Google search results under your main site link. For example, these are the sitelinks that are currently shown for Zainatain. I’m overall pleased with the pages that Google is displaying, but there’s really no reason that my Privacy Policy should be showing. It’s important and it should be available, but it shouldn’t be front and center on Google.

Sitelinks are links to pages or media on your website that Google automatically generates based on what they think prospective site visitors would be interested in. Because these links are generated by Google, we have no direct control over what displays and how it displays; however, we do have the ability to block links from being found by Googled and therefore the ability to “remove” sitelinks. You can read more about what a sitelink is from Google.

Removing sitelinks for WordPress websites

If you’re using WordPress, follow these steps:

  1. Download the Yoast SEO plugin (you don’t need the Premium version)
  2. Once it’s downloaded, navigate to Search Appearance. The Content Types, Taxonomies, and Archives tabs will allow you to dictate the types of content that you want to show in search results.
  3. If you have the issue of images showing up in your Google Sitelinks, navigate to the Media tab under Search Appearance and select “Yes”. This will prevent Google from crawling your image links.
  4. If you want to prevent a specific page or post from showing up in sitelink, go to that specific page in WordPress and scroll to the bottom to the Yoast settings. You can select to hide that page from search results.

Removing sitelinks for Squarespace websites

If you’re using Squarespace, you will only be able to hide pages from search results. To do so, follow these steps:

  1. Open the page in Squarespace, and open Page Settings
  2. Within Page Settings, select “Hide Page from Search Results”

Let Google know you’re ready

Google will periodically crawl your website and eventually remove these links once they have been blocked, but you can submit your updated sitemap to Google to expedite the process. In order to do this, you will need to have Google Search Console set up for your website. Once it’s set up, navigate to the Sitemap screen and submit your sitemap.

If you urgently need to remove a link from Google, you can request to have it temporarily removed on the Removals screen. This is only temporary though and you need to make sure to block it or remove it as a long-term solution.

Statement of caution

These steps are the most effective way to hide pages and media from your Google sitelinks, but keep in mind that these steps will completely prevent Google from crawling and displaying these pages in Google search. So if you have a page that you want to hide within your sitelinks but you still want it to be searchable via Google, then don’t hide them from Google.

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