How to Remove Content From Search Engines
In today’s market, your online reputation could be the difference between success and failure. With the rising number of platforms for consumers to publish reviews and opinions on, it is not uncommon for competing businesses and or disagreeable customers to publish unfair negative content. If you or your company has undergone any sort of online defamation, you need to take steps to protect your reputation.
One of the most common questions we get asked is “can you remove a page from my Google search results?” So we decided to make a guide that will explain what types of things can and can’t be removed, and show you how that process works.
Note: This guide covers Google content removal submissions. Even if Google approves your submission, the content may still exist in it’s original URL, but it will not show up in any Google search results, making it much less likely that anyone is going to see this content. In order to completely remove content from the internet, the webmaster who owns the page must delete it from the website.
What can be removed
There only time Google will automatically remove content from its search results is when the content contains child sexual abuse imagery, or the content is in direct conflict with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Because Google crawls and organizes so much information (nearly the entire internet), nearly all other content removal cases must be submitted in order for Google to become aware of the problematic search result.
These types of violations are virtually guaranteed to be taken down upon request:
Here’s a list of things that Google lists and highly likely to be removed if found online:
- National identification numbers such as a Social Security number, etc.
- Bank account information
- Credit card numbers
- Images of your personal signature
- Nude or sexually explicit images that have been uploaded or shared without your consent
There are also a number of other things that Google will consider taking down. These are usually handled on a case by case judgement, so be sure to include as much 100% accurate information and valid reasons for removal when submitting a request to remove:
- A picture of yourself
- Certain personal information
- Inaccurate or incorrect information about yourself
- Inappropriate or malicious content
Google holds the right to index or remove all content unless it is in direct violation of their policy or applicable laws. And just because one removal request is denied, does not mean that your case is over. If you can find new evidence or valid reasons, you can submit a new removal request.
What can’t be removed
Google’s goal is to organize all of the information on the internet for it’s users. Therefore, they do not like to remove any information that has already been indexed unless it is in direct conflict with their terms of service or any applicable laws.
Even if content is slanderous or misleading, it’s very possible that Google will not remove it unless it is in some way illegal, or you can prove that it is part of a strategic malicious attack on your reputation.
Here are some things that have a very low chance of being removed from the search results by Google:
- News Articles
- Date of birth
- Telephone numbers
- Yelp and other product/company reviews
Now just because these have a very low chance of being removed, doesn’t mean you should not submit a removal request. As we stated before, Google handles these on a case-by-case basis, so even though your chances are low, it can never hurt to try.
If Google does not approve your removal request, there are other options. Most newspapers will allow you to make an article removal request. If the webmaster deletes the information off of their website, then it will automatically be deleted from the search results.
How to submit a Google removal request
Submitting a Google removal request is fairly straightforward. Here are 3 links that you’ll need in order to submit a removal request:
- Personal Information Removal Requests
- Legal Removal Requests
- Google Removal Policies
- Google Guide for Information Removal
- Google Terms of Service
What to do if your Google removal request is denied
If your Google removal request is denied, and you still wish to pursue your case, there are basically two options.
- Contact the webmaster
You should be able to find out who owns the website that the content you wish to have removed appears on. Contact them by any means possible, but try to get at least a phone call with someone who has authority on what is published on the site. They should be able to tell you whether or not you have a chance of getting it removed.
- Try to suppress the content
This method, while it will not remove the negative URL, may be just as, if not more effective. Our ORM Strategy Guide explains all of the steps necessary to start taking control of your online reputation. Publishing strategic, positive, honest content will eventually change the search results for your name or brand, and can push the negative URL down in the search results so that people don’t see it.
If you have any questions about Google content removal, or would like to speak more about the process with a Royal Reputation team member, please call us at (813) 203-2621 or send us a message below.