Filters affecting Google search results


Search Engine Optimisation

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In some cases, Google may apply filters while building search results, and these filters can affect which results are shown. Filters include removal of pages due to legal reasons or by webmaster request, results from websites that we think are currently unavailable (“down”) and results removed due to manual spam action.

Since these applied filters are usually due to temporary urgent issues, or are requested by mistake, Google may in some cases retain the pages in their index for a period of time to help websites recover quickly after the issue is fixed (for example, after the site becomes available again). Because of this the data we show in index Status may not be fully reflected in our search results.


The above is an original snippet of how Google used to explain their search filters. What interesting is how this comment has changed over the years when you Google the above content. What I will be discussing in future blogs are some interest areas from the above content, for example”

  • How long does Google actually “retain” the data?
  • What is “manual spam action?” and how do the filters tie in with alerts?
  • Why did Google remove the line “Because of this the data we show in index Status may not be fully reflected in our search results.” from their current webmaster central?

What is also clear from this is that Google’s “search results” are not necessarily always in sync with the “index status”. This is a very interesting thought when considering the time factor from one to the other. More on this in future blogs.

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