07 Jun How to Remove Your Information from the Google Index
Admit it. At one point or another, you were curious enough about your online presence to Google your own name. You might have been delighted to see your resume pop up or a newspaper article mentioning a prestigious accomplishment. Or you may have noticed an embarrassing picture or comment you left that could affect a potential job opportunity if the hiring manager ever saw it.
Although the personal footprint you’ve left online can affect you, the material tied back to your company will have much greater repercussions. Especially if people have made negative comments about your company or if you or your employees have made a mistake.
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Why Would You Want to Remove Your Information?
Any talk about your company online is good, right? Not necessarily. Here are a few reasons why you would want to keep certain content from showing up in the search results:
- It’s private. Although it seems like Google can provide the answers to absolutely any question, they don’t want to give away your sensitive information. Google will typically remove government-issued identification numbers (like a U.S. Social Security Number), bank account or credit card numbers, or images of signatures.
- It’s illegal. An example of this is plagiarized information. Google demonstrates little tolerance for plagiarism anyway, dropping URLs with duplicate content. Take off content that matches the content on other sites.
- It negatively impacts your company. You may not convince Google to remove content from its search engine because someone said something rude about your business. However, you should talk with the site owner to either remove false information or to amend the situation. If you made an insensitive comment on your own website or accounts, remove them.
What Are Some Solutions?
Remember, Google’s job is to scan all the information on the Internet and give you the answers you need. So while many people believe that they need to go to Google to have information removed from the search engines, the most efficient method is to remove the content from the web altogether.
If you own the website with the problematic content, change it. Then you can use the URL removal tool in Google Webmaster Tools if it’s urgent to get the page off Google. For example, you might use this tool if you exposed confidential information on accident. Otherwise, Google will crawl those URLs again and update its search engine results accordingly.
If you don’t own the website, contact the person who does. Google states that, even if they delete a URL from the search results, a user could still access that page through other means. You want the webmaster to remove it entirely. After the site owner makes changes, you can use the public URL removal tool to keep the content from coming back as a cache copy. The owner will see your request in Google Webmaster Tools.
Finally, take control of your reputation. Optimize your company’s official website and the positive, helpful content about your products and services. Claim your Google My Business listing and other directory listings, and add the correct information. If you do, the troublesome content may be so far down the search results that you don’t even have to worry. Just make sure you and your employees watch what you say online in the future.
What’s the Next Step?
Many people will go to Google first to learn about your small business. Make sure they see the correct information. If you would like to improve your site’s ranking and push negative content aside, contact your SEO company.