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January 12, 2012

Blocked Sites, No Longer Available in Google Search?

Last year, Google released a feature that allowed you to block sites from appearing in your search results. After clicking a result and going back to the search results page, Google displayed a special link next to the result for blocking the entire domain.

The feature no longer seems to work: the "block" link is no longer displayed, the preferences page doesn't mention the feature and the blocked domains still appear in Google's results. The page that allows you to manage blocked sites is still available.

"When you're signed in to Google, you can block a specific website from appearing in your future search results. This is a helpful option when you encounter a site that you don't like and whose pages you want to remove from your future results. If you change your mind, you can unblock the site at any point," explains a help center page.


Update: Google's Matt Cutts says that this could be a temporary issue. "The right people are looking at what needs to happen to re-enable this, but it might take some time."

86 comments:

  1. in my personal experience, if the blocked site is the top result for a query, google tends to show it irrespective of the block status. this has confused me for a long time. but i am not seeing the blocked domains other than the top 1-2-3 position.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting observation. unfortunately, that's the position I'm trying to reserve for good quality search results, not shopping aggregator sites.

      Delete
    2. I noticed the same thing. For example, if I need help on homework there are a few good sites - yet somehow "chegg" ends up holding the top 10 positions at times! Usually just 10 copies of the same problem being worked out, all wrong in their own way most of the time, and you have to pay to view them at all and they have a very low consumer score.

      I tried blocking "www.chegg.com" and it appears on my block list, but chegg still occupies an entire page of google search results. And often times has results mixed into the pages that follow. Making matters worse is I usually read the link description more than the URL, so I keep clicking chegg links.

      As far as I can tell chegg is likely paying google off for high placement and to keep people from blocking them.

      Delete
  2. I have a site blocked, and a pretty loaded search that would bring the site up. Still blocked for me.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh, and I see something at the top of my search that says:

    You blocked 3 results Show blocked results Manage blocked sites

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  4. Hey, take this with a grain of salt because I had a quick passing conversation with someone about this, but I believe this is temporary. The right people are looking at what needs to happen to re-enable this, but it might take some time.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for addressing this, Matt, it's a valuable feature to me.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Glad someone noticed this, this features is really important to me because it means I don't have to see anything from TvTropes when searching for random subjects. Having that site turn up as the first result when searching for historical things makes me want to slam my head into my keyboard.

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  7. Yeah, it may take some time because Google is currently focused on abusing their search monopoly to promote Google+ content while suppressing more relevant content from Facebook, Twitter, et al.

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  8. It seemed like a good idea, but I noticed seeing blocked sites for sites I never would have blocked, including my own pages.

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  9. Very informative post. Thanks for taking the time to share your view with us.washington security systems

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  10. Its working for me. Tested with blocking few sites. This is true personalized search :)

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  11. Yes, today many online sites and services are protesting the impending Internet Anti-Piracy legislation that the MPAA and RIAA are lobbying for congress to pass. The english language Wikipedia site is also down for the day, and other sites are either going to be down, or restrict use in some way.

    ReplyDelete
  12. It hasnt worked for me for at least the last week. Still not as of right now 1/19/2012 3:00

    Annoying as hell, because I HATE HATE HATE ask.yahoo.com "answers" in my search results, because it's usually VERY WRONG information submitted by dumb 12 year olds.

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  13. I too have this problem. I would like it back, I commonly block half-assed blogs that barely give me information but for whatever reason are top in Google results.

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  14. Concur, it's annoying. Have switched to yahoo and bing in the meantime.

    It kept me from having to read through sites which had "regurgitated content." I'm back to doing this again, which is just frustrating.

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  15. Hi - my blocked sites keep reappearing!! Can anyone help me with this?
    Dx

    ReplyDelete
  16. This is something I miss desperately. Google's search results are getting less and less relevant.

    ReplyDelete
  17. This was the feature that got me to move off of Bing and back to Google. I do not ever, never, ever, not once, ever want to see any results from Experts-Exchange.com.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would like to shoot whoever runs that site. Along with informer and toptenreviews and softonic.

      Delete
    2. You mean ExpertSexChange.com? They added the dash later on. Stupid site should DIAF, along with all of the other "aggregation" sites. I don't need Google search results to turn into a constant "Yo Dawg" joke.

      Delete
  18. This still hasn't been fixed :(

    ReplyDelete
  19. Gosh, I would love to see this feature fixed. :(

    I really miss having the ability to block sites!

    Thanks for the article.

    ReplyDelete
  20. ...another user here that REALLY wants the blocked feature back. I wanted this for YEARS! The ability to block all results from about.com and facebook.com is priceless!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hey, site blocking feature is working fine, just use click on the "Manage Blocked Sites" link in the blog to go to your google preferences (have to be signed in).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Even that's not working for me. I still get pages of worthless crap from fixya.com despite the site being blocked. (Firefox 13.0.1 / Mac OS 10.6.8)

      Delete
  22. I want it back, I get too many results from websites that only show search results on them!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Interested in knowing how long it takes for blocked sites to take effect. Here's my blocked list so far:

    www.foxnews.com
    foxnews.com
    answers.yahoo.com
    answers.com
    www.supergeniemobile.com
    www.amexpubbooks.com
    softwaretopic.informer.net
    www.ehow.co.uk
    www.ehow.com
    www.zeroone.ch

    Unblock

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mine hasn't worked since January. Not sure why is working for some people, I suspect they are lying about it. TVtropes and Yahoo Answers still plague my results ugh.

      Delete
  24. What the ***? It still isn't fixed? You have no idea the amount of URLs I have blacklisted. You know...the usual suspects offering adware and pay for software scams.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Glad to find this site. I'm so sick of my search results being dominated by Livestrong -- and I while their site is slick, I find it useless and filled with, natch, much publicity placed articles.

    Anonymous, great list!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'm signed in (as required) and existing sites in by blocked list are still being blocked but I don't get a link to block a link after viewing it and navigating back to the search results.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Still waiting for Google to fix this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Google is too busy making "clever" google doddles (they aren't clever by a long shot and are a plague now)

      Delete
  28. Its blocking on my side but I accedentaly blocked a site and now have to enter it manually.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Sort of working on my side. I blocked a site by mistake an now I cant unblock it. It doesnt allow me too.

    ReplyDelete
  30. This clearly isn't ever going to be corrected. Anyone have alternatives for achieving this goal? Firefox plugin maybe? (Or a chrome plugin? (Ha.))

    I've had search results polluted with Fix___ya garbage for way too long. Just discovered this feature was available, and now I'm reading it's been broken since January.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Any alternative to this? Something where I can keep my block resuts on the cloud?

    ReplyDelete
  32. They just don't want to fix this.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Well the http// is not high lighted so I assume I cant block antymore leftwing huffinton searches. This probably has to do with the lefty politics of googs founders.

    ReplyDelete
  34. When is this going to be fixed? This is fucking retarded, offer something to your users and have it not work for 5 months? Bullshit, either get rid of it completely or fix it.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Clearly their priorities are elsewhere. The corporate attention span seems to be influenced by the short attention span of the young-generation staff.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Their too busy ignoring and laughing at people requesting updates to their android devices

      Delete
  36. There is an extension on Chrome for blocking sites and it's working wonderfully for me, look for Personal Blocklist http://bit.ly/JCfO5V

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe they just want us to use Chrome - I don't think I'll ever use Chrome, so that's that.

      Delete
  37. Been six months and still doesn't work. Good job google. you folks are really on top of this stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  38. I f__king hate facebook and I don't want it in my search results... fix the damned thing!

    ReplyDelete
  39. I accidentally blocked a website, no I cant get search results for it and Unblock does nothing, now Google Search is broken. What a mess!

    ReplyDelete
  40. So much for being 'temporary'. Google should concentrate on getting the basic things right - and working - before it starts messing about with adolescent name changes.. Google 'Drive', Google 'Play'... Pff!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Anonymous June 6th -- In your settings go to "Manage Clocked Sites" and you can remove the site you don't want to block there.

    I, on the other hand, wish this feature would just *work* again!

    ReplyDelete
  42. I'm stuck at 43 sites blocked out of the 500 promised, and can't seem to add to the list. I expected more from Google.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same here! I REALLY want this to work. I HATE websites that show up with answers to questions but are nothing more than advertisements.

      Delete
  43. Same as The Wild Haggis. Where's the 500 that they promised. Because a lot of trash in Google nowdays

    ReplyDelete
  44. Thanks so much for the pics! They are great and I wish we had been able to go.

    ReplyDelete
  45. f. u. google and your 'do no evil' crap...everyone does succumb to corporate greed at the end.

    ReplyDelete
  46. No longer working and it looks like nobody at google is ever trying to fix it.
    Google search results became so inaccurate they are almost useless, I'm actually using yippy.com

    ReplyDelete
  47. Just discovered this problem while trying to block a splog. Definitely hope this is restored soon. Meantime... off to install Personal Blocklist.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Just noticed this broken while trying to block a Debian-oriented splog. Sadly this splog is coasting near the top of results, by having copied and slightly modified official Debian documentation. I hope Google not only fixes this issue, but lets us make our blacklists social. A move like that would pretty much force me to sign up for Google+.

    Meantime... off to install Personal Blocklist.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Google is too busy making "cute" little statues that make their front lawn look like a white trash family's after a post Christmas sale at Walmart, this feature will only come back if they can figure out some way to force Google+ into it "4000 Google+ members blocked this site! Join today!"

    ReplyDelete
  50. Still not working. What a joke

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  51. what a shame, thinking about turning internet off

    ReplyDelete
  52. Pathetic response from Google. A pox on their servers!

    ReplyDelete
  53. Wow - eight months since this article went up, and it's still not working. and yet it's still in their help pages. Sad, because this makes Google less useful to me.

    This, combine with the quiet disappearance of the mandatory (+) operator, is making me seriously consider making Bing my home page...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The feature works for me, so it's still available. The only change is that Google no longer shows the link that allowed you to block any site from the search results. You have to manually block sites here: https://www.google.com/reviews/t?hl=en

      Regarding the plus operator, use quotes. Instead of +col, use "cool".

      Delete
    2. Just because it works for you doesn't mean it works for other people. Still non functional for me.

      Delete
  54. Trying to block amazon and facebook to no avail

    ReplyDelete
  55. I don`t think it is a secret anymore, that Google is a insidious abusive corporation. Yes, their search engine is still the best, unfortunately. Yet they do their best to annoy us by trying to force feed us the crap they keep inventing daily... They will never block sites they promote their crap on...Google needs more money...screeeeew the users, right? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They just shouted "SCREW YOU" to masses with what they have done with youtube mobile, watching a video in Safari on the iPad no longer uses the built in fullscreen player instead it uses some html5 video thing that can't go fullscreen all so they can force awful ads on us. They also refused to renew the Youtube app license with Apple so say goodbye to the ad-free clutter-free design of Apple's app and say hello to having awful ads and god awful featured videos rammed down your throat when you want to watch your subscriptions when you use Google's new app.

      Delete
  56. If I select the "Use personal results" radio button the blocked sites in my list, or at least DMV.ORG, the only one I tested, no longer show up in results.

    If I select "Do not use personal results and hit Save, the blocked site then returns to the search results.

    Personally I don't think Use Personal Results and blocked sites should be linked, but for now, for me, that's how I got blocked sites to work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This was it! Thank you I now have blocked search results again

      Delete
  57. Jolly well done @Michael Kenny .. that was my resolve here. Furthermore since with personal results option enabled, google offers a manual disable button anyway on any occasion this feature may need to be disabled again. Thanks lad.

    ReplyDelete
  58. The blocked sites I have defined are still appearing in my search results, even when the Personal Results radio button is checked. I wish they'd fix this issue so I don't have to wade through a bunch of crappy intelius, spokeo, and mylife results every time I look someone up.

    ReplyDelete
  59. I'm waiting for this blocking feature available again.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Not working at all for me. Very frustrating!

    ReplyDelete
  61. Also not working for me. And also very frustrating!

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  62. too bad that this function is not working ....

    ReplyDelete
  63. Firefox users have a choice of Greasemonkey userscripts for blocking.

    See: https://productforums.google.com/d/msg/websearch/kDJBHbJQX_Q/ndXOB1jNu3UJ

    ReplyDelete
  64. Does anyone know if Bing has site blocking?
    I've been blocking informer.com, software.informer.com, java.informer.com, porn,informer.com, etc. but it still shows up.
    If you don't already know, informer.com is a spam site that has thousands of shill backlinks and hundreds of spambots that's constantly update their meta data and steal web space to host ambush porn. It's all those porn sites you see that your kids run across. They upload porn to insecure dedicated servers/vps/cloud and stream them to their websites based in the Dominican republic, Nigeria, and Sversk.

    I hate to admit it, but they are some smart puppies, updating their virii and spyware that automatically install onto your PC just from the search link Google shows.

    I've been a network security administrator (legal hacker to you youngsters), since 1996 and designed the first 8-bit game for stand-up consoles in 1989.

    Please stay away from that site for your own good, AVS won't work.
    PS If you're wondering why your Windows 7 system suddenly got slow after December 23, three weeks after Microsoft release Windows 8, take a look at the December 23 .NET update (if you have the ability to view the raw code/decompile). A changed class for the Sata/IDE control now has it at 1/100*100 giving 100% speed, being 1.5Gbps for SataII/3Gbps for SataIII SSD. The code has been changed to 1/100*(mtimernd/80*60)
    The Random class reads:
    mtimernd = mtime($random)

    The new code cuts your Sata speeds consistently by 20%*40% with the mtimernd causing the access latency to randomly be anywhere from 0-100% of what it should be, instead of constant 100%.

    MS also hired several thousand people in East India to answer these trouble tickets and inform customers that they need to upgrade to Windows 8. They have all been trained using a guide called bythebook, which is standardized policy on training India tech support how to legally scam customers.

    The truth is out there.

    ReplyDelete
  65. The blocked sites arent blocked for me anymore, and the radio button to use personal results button is no longer there in search settings.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Screw Google. Get Google Hit Hider from userscripts.org. It has more options, better options, and best of all: you don't have to be signed in to Google for it to work!

    ReplyDelete
  67. Yeah, well it's been a year and the shit still isn't available. Google doesn't give a damn what people want, their programers are complete idiots with no clue as to what people want, and even if they did they don't care.

    They are more concerned with accessing every piece of personal information about you and using it, as well as making it available to the government. Google doesn't even have a decent help program and the people answering questions on google.support are unpaid idiots.

    My favorite answer to a question on google support, when someone asked what google remote viewering plug in was for & whether it was needed to run any programs & could it be disabled: it's something google put there so you don't need to worry about it. The name itself is worrying. He didn't answer the question and that answer pissed off a lot of people.

    ReplyDelete
  68. If the feature doesn't work - and it doesn't - then Google should remove the option to select it until it does work. The "right people" have been looking into this issue since June 2012 and the option is still available and it's still not working. Sure glad the "wrong people" haven't been working on it.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Google Chrome has an extension called "Personal Blocklist" which integrates into Google Search and replaces this feature... probably a way to sway people to use Google Chrome (which I love)

    ReplyDelete