Removing Content From Google
Removing Content from Google Search Results
Negative Google search results can be a major problem for your business reputation or personal brand. Whether you’re wondering how to remove a webpage, remove personal information, remove outdated content, or remove other negative information from Google search results, there are ways to do so.
The problem can be addressed by either removing the search result from Google, or removing the webpage (or at least the unwanted information) itself. And in cases where it’s not possible to repair and remove this unwanted content, it’s very often possible to push the content back in Google search results, so that it’s hidden past the first page of results (where almost no one ever looks).
Why does it matter?
Today, one of the first steps consumers take when they’re unsure about something is to look the info up on a search engine. The topic can be a matter of personal curiosity, such as “How many people use the internet worldwide?” (hint: the answer is about 3.2 billion people!), or it can be something of greater concern–for instance, finding out more about you or your business. Since many of those aforementioned 3.2 billion internet users are likely to be using search engines, don’t you want to ensure their searches are met with positive content? If they look a business up and find negative reviews, the likelihood that they’ll seek out goods and services elsewhere is extremely high. (After all, wouldn’t you?)
When can results be removed directly from Google?
As we mentioned, negative search results can’t be removed 100% of the time. Cases when they can be removed include, but are not limited to:
- Copyright infringement/violations
- Illegal content
- Financial info
- Other confidential info, such as medical records
The search engine won’t remove it–what can I do otherwise?
If the negative information you’re looking to have removed doesn’t fall into the category of content that Google or other search engines are typically willing to remove, you have other options. More specifically, you can ask the creator of the website to delete the information from their website, so that it no longer exists on the internet at all. You may have to offer to pay the owner of the website so that they’re willing to do so.
If they won’t actually delete the content, you can request that they remove the strongest keywords so that it won’t pop up as high in Google search results. You may also ask that they add a no-index tag to the page’s HTML header, which would prevent that page from being indexed by Google and other search engines.
More aggressively, if the content is against the website host’s policies, you can contact them as well, which may result in the entire website being taken down.
What about reviews?
Negative reviews, such as those on Yelp, can quite literally make or break a company. Because Yelp operates on the reliability of its reviews, both positive and negative reviews must be included; otherwise, customers will not trust the site. Only if the reviews violate Yelp’s Terms of Service will they typically be removed. You may also attempt to convince the original poster of the review to alter it. On other sites, the methods by which negative reviews may be removed or changed may differ.