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Removing Your Stuff from Google

posted Jul 12, 2016, 2:18 PM by Anjuan Simmons   [ updated Jul 21, 2016, 4:43 PM ]
A friend sent me a question about removing information from Google:

hey anjuan. i'm hoping you can help me. i went through the process of googling myself and ran across some listings i want removed - one in particular was page that was indexed on a blog i've since made private and others are random stuff. is there any easy way to do that?

This is what I shared with her:


Hi  <REDACTED>,

Thanks for the question!  There are a few ways you can remove results from Google searches:

1.  Prevent the Page from Being Indexed Yourself:  If you own the pages you want to be removed, then you can add what's called a robots meta tag to the header section of the page and keep search engines from indexing it.  It looks like this:
<meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow" />

This will keep search engine spiders (which are programs that search the web and update the index of sites like Google) from looking through the site.  However, you'll have to wait for the spider to go through your site and remove it from the index so this is not an instantaneous fix.

2.  Ask the Owner:  If you don't own the site, then you can ask the owner to essentially do what I described above.  Your success at doing this will depend on the willingness of the owner of the site.

3.  Ask Google:  Google has a site that can be use to request information to be removed from its index.  You can go to https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/removals, log in with your Google account, and then request that certain pieces of information be removed. The removal site will usually ask that you contact the owner of the site first before using it, and it will only remove information if its something really sensitive like your social security number.

4.  Bury the Information:  If you can't get the results removed using the previous steps, you can create content online and associate it with your name.  This can be done by setting up a blog about a subject you're passionate about, creating the online newsletter of an organization to which you belong, or becoming active on Twitter.  As you build your online presence, the objectionable material will probably pushed down in rank since Google prefers fresh content over old content.  I have essentially done this with my brand.  The first results when my name is searched usually point to my blog, my Twitter feed, or the articles that have been written about me online.