To have your site de-indexed means to have it either be temporary or permanently taken out from search engine rankings – In other words, no matter what search term a person uses, a de-indexed site will never appear on SERPs.
Search engines like Google are constantly sending out bots called web crawlers, whose sole function is to navigate content and record what they find. This information is then organized and stored on the search engine’s “index.”
Search engines don’t fetch results from the internet in real time. Their algorithms match users’ queries to these extensive indexes and select from them the results to be shown.
A de-indexed site receives no such web crawlers and does not appear on a search engine’s index, so it can’t appear in search results.
De-indexing can be imposed as a penalty by search engines due to wrongful practices, or voluntarily by a site webmaster.
Why would someone de-index their own site?
While seemingly counter-intuitive, there are several possible reasons for someone to want to prevent their site from being crawled or indexed.
• Duplicate content: Search engines typically penalize websites that contain duplicate content. De-indexing the duplicates is an alternative to avoid being flagged for it.
• Outdated content: Content that is no longer current, but that you wish to keep for any reason (reference, plans to update, etc.) should probably be de-indexed. Sites might want to prevent people from landing on terribly outdated pages and having the wrong impression from their content.
• Gated Content: Pages that contain data that should only be accessible after providing some information or payment are best kept de-indexed most of the time.
• Pages with little or no content: Confirmation pages in e-commerce platforms are a perfect example of this instance. If you have pages that are there just to provide a step on a process that adds little else, it’s probably best to de-indexed it.