The information that appears in search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo! is gathered and updated by the search engines themselves. The speed in which your information gets updated or removed from those searches depends on how often each search engine updates its information.
We recently had a situation where we updated a web page to remove some outdated and now wrong information and discovered that the search engines aren’t as speedy as you might hope they would be in updating searched pages in their own cache. There are millions if not billions of pages, maybe more than that, indexed by each of the search engines, so it’s not unreasonable that it might take some time for the engines to update any individual page. However, we were looking to speed up that process as much as possible.
It turns out that Google and Bing each have a Content Removal Tool that works generally well. It takes them a couple of days to make the update, and we had to submit the requests more than once because the info was still there even after they said they completed the request, but after a couple of weeks, we were able to verify completion.
Yahoo on the other hand, has no such helpful tool. Yahoo’s support just states, “Answer: Yahoo Search results that “reference” a Web page that is no longer published will automatically be removed from the Yahoo Search results during the next refresh. This refresh occurs regularly and automatically, and can take up to 6-8 weeks.” Now that refers to full pages, not specific content on the page, but that’s the best we could find after searching Yahoo’s somewhat confusing help area.
If wrong or outdated information is incorrectly appearing in search results on the search engine sites, you can contact Google and Bing directly for removal. For Yahoo, it seems you just get to wait it out over 6-8 weeks, and hope they update ASAP.
Here are links to the support information as of today’s 2019 date of publishing…
- Google’s search results: //support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=1663691
- Bing’s search results: //www.bing.com/webmaster/help/bing-content-removal-tool-cb6c294d
- Yahoo’s search results: //help.yahoo.com/kb/search-for-desktop/learn-article-search-result-removal-sln4530.html