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Some of my previous questions on Stack Overflow contain test links to client websites. However, my client would prefer these links not to show in google. Is there a way to do this without hindering the question for future users? .

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Oct 20 '11 at 17:44

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Edit the questions to remove the links. Google will eventually pick up on the change. And in the future don't use links to actual client sites for questions. Use fiddles/codepads to demonstrate problems, or put the sample pages on an unrelated server. –  Marc B Oct 20 '11 at 17:32
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I read your question like this: "I painted my client's name in all signs on this street. Is there a way to avoid people from reading my client's name without removing the client's name from the signs?" –  Adrian Oct 20 '11 at 17:34
    
Main issue is that if they are deleted they actually won't show up in google which Marc B answered so that's all ok. I'll be sure to change all links to another 'test' domain. cheersy –  Kelly Oct 20 '11 at 17:37
    
@MarcB Could you make that comment into an answer? –  Chris Frederick Oct 20 '11 at 17:54
    
Ah, if I'm not wrong,all links have rel="nofollow", right? Doesn't it mean every link posted by user is/are ignored? –  genesis Oct 20 '11 at 17:59
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You don't post them in the first place. Also, asking people to go to a website to fix your bug is not acceptable here. –  Won't Oct 20 '11 at 18:12
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Unfortunately, it still happens all the time. –  Chris Frederick Oct 20 '11 at 18:20
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@genesis nofollow doesn't mean they'll be hidden –  Sathya Oct 21 '11 at 5:15
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2 Answers

Edit the questions to remove the links. Google will eventually pick up on the change. And in the future don't use links to actual client sites for questions. Use fiddles/codepads to demonstrate problems, or put the sample pages on an unrelated server.

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If it really needs to completely vanish (e.g. serious information leak through just the URL alone) you can make an edit and then flag for a moderator developer to make the previous versions vanish entirely from the history. (I've only done this once, after approving an edit that removed a real, working API key from an answer).

I think that's probably not productive use of moderator/developer time though if there's going to be 10s or even 100s of these. An edit combined with a firewall/DNS change is probably most appropriate to make it disappear. If you control the site google have a number of ways of removing it from their side too.

As a side note: If you post lots of links to your clients site in lots of questions it looks a lot like spammy promotion of the site - it would be better all round if the question was more abstract. This would also have the side benefit of probably making it more useful to future visitors.

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♦ moderators can't remove previous version histories, only SE devs can do that... –  studiohack Oct 20 '11 at 23:40
    
@studiohack - I did wonder; it took longer to happen than usual when I raised that flag, but it did happen in the end so I assumed it was the correct thing to do. –  Flexo Oct 20 '11 at 23:42
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it is the correct thing to do, it took longer because the mods called a dev over to do the job. –  studiohack Oct 20 '11 at 23:45
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