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Hiding Files from Search Engines

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

This is actually really quite difficult but in practice:

1. robots.txt would tell the search engines where not to index  - so you could put all your PDFs inside a folder and then exclude that folder. Problem is that users could just look at robots.txt and find where you are hiding them.

2. Remove from site-map will again stop it being indexed in Google.

3. Don't put them on a server!!

4. I don't know if you add a digital product in SquareSpace in a shop whether this means that the product is not added to a sitemap or included in Google Search (I would be interested to know that).

For me the best way to protect files on a traditioanl server is to use htacess and hard-code a password protect on the folder at the server level. No-one gets in.

Hope this helps somehow.

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  • 1 year later...

In the unlinked in the back section of your site, you create a file, upload the pdf into the file, and create a link for the pdf. that you can then use in a button, or in any communications (blog post, email, page)  on your site so that, one someone clicks on the active link, your pdf will open.

Here's a good YouTube video that shows us how it's done: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgZL9cBXckk

Hope that helps!

Edited by Gemma04101
make the message more clear
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  • 1 month later...
On 10/21/2020 at 4:39 AM, erinsydd said:

We have quite a few PDF documents that require opt-in data capture prior to download, however, I have discovered that some of the files are showing up in search results with a direct link to the doc. 

Is there a way to hide them?

7 hours ago, Tgrace said:

Did you ever find the solution to this?

If you have uploaded a file and linked it from a public page, search engines can index the file and show it in search results.

You should be able to prevent search engines from indexing a newly uploaded file if you upload it to a password-protected page, as this prevents search engines from accessing the page to discover and index the file. If you have already added a file that has been indexed, it is best to remove the file, then upload it again after setting a page password. 

Of course, none of this can stop someone downloading a file if they know the direct URL or if they guess it correctly. Files added to password-protected or member area pages are currently no better protected against access than any other files.

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About me: I'm Paul. A SQSP User for 18 yrs, I joined Circle when it launched in 2016 and have been a Circle Leader since 2017. I value honesty, transparency, diversity and good design ♥.
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  • 1 year later...

Adding to this / bump! TLDR: Client doesn't want old PDF files to be indexed.

I have a client who uploads PDFs monthly for governance events and links to the pdf in an event. They upload a 1st version pre-event and replace the link/pdf with a 2nd version post event. Once that 2nd pdf is in there, the 1st version is no longer linked on the page/site anywhere - but they still EXIST in the squarespace "database/file manager." 

They don't want those 1st version pdfs to be indexed by Google after the event. Can PDF files still be indexed and found by search engines if they're are not linked on the site anywhere? Do we need to go in an manually delete them?

Thanks! 

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