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My site no longer exists, or has moved. How can I "unpromote" it?

Most search engines will eventually discover that a URL is no longer valid and delete it. A few of the search engines have explicit facilities for removing URLs, but most do not.

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One way you can inform the search engines that a URL is no longer valid is to simply promote it one last time. Many of them will take the hint and remove it from their databases a bit faster.

For indexes, things are much the same. Most of the bigger ones will eventually discover you are no longer around and remove you, and some have removal features. If you want to visit the big guys (like Yahoo and Open Directory) and tell them, that would be nice, but it's not essential. The resubmitting trick doesn't work, however.

If your URL has moved, then you should:

It sounds a bit nasty, but your rule of thumb should be "If this particular index gets upset at me for submitting the new URL as well as having the old dead url listed, do I care?" Clearly for something like Yahoo, you do care, so you ought to try and let them know. But for the General indexes, losing one of them (not that it's likely!) isn't a big thing. The exception would be an industry-specific index that seems to be important to you.

If you can arrange for your old URL to redirect to the new URL, that's a good thing, of course.

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