How to get content removed from Google

We're getting a few calls about this at the moment, so I thought I'd write a blog post about it. Bear with me because it is quite long.

There could be many reasons for you to want content removed from Google – it could be that Google has 'cached' a page on your site with the wrong info or prices, or that an old version of your website is still hanging around. It could be that something is written on another site about you that's untrue or defamatory, or it could be one of many other reasons.

Whataver the reason, there are two areas to this – is the content on a site you have control of or not? The answer to this dictates the steps you take.

How do I remove content from Google's cache that is to do with a site I own?

This is the easiest. The steps are simple.

1) Remove the pages or site that you no longer want to appear (or add a 'no-archive' meta tag or a 'no-index' tag.)

2) Open up a Google Webmaster Tools account if you don't have one already

3) Within Webmaster Tools follow the steps to 'verify' that you own the site (this is done by either uploading a file, or adding a META tag)

4) Navigate to 'Site Configuration' –> Crawler Access and you'll see a tab titled Remove URL

5) Click on 'New Removal Request', add the URL of the page or site and submit. Give a reason for removing, and submit again – the URL will now show as pending removal. It can take a while, but check back regularly and the content should be removed

If you don't own the content, it's a little trickier.

How do I remove content from Google's cache if it's on someone else's website?

1) In the first instance you will need to approach the owner of the website that houses the information and ask them to remove or block it with the no-archive tag as above. Without this being done, Google will not remove the URL upon your say so – otherwise we'd all be removing our competitors' websites form the index on a constant basis!

2) Visit the Google Public URL Removal Tool and request that the page is removed. You have to give a reason, and please note that THE PAGE HAS TO BE BLOCKED OR REMOVED FOR IT TO BE CONSIDERED. Google will not even attempt to remove something form their index that isn't blocked or removed.

What if I can't get the website owner to remove the content, but it's illegal?

Google say on this page:

If a site that appears in Google's search results contains content that you believe violates your legal rights, please contact the webmaster who is responsible for that content. Once the webmaster revises or removes the page, you can submit a request for Google to update its search results so that the old content does not appear.

If you cannot resolve the issue with the responsible webmaster, there are some cases in which Google may be able to remove the page from its search results. This is not the preferred means of addressing a problematic website, because the content will still exist on that website and be available for people to see. The site may also still appear in results from other search engines. Google processes web search removal requests based on applicable law.

You can then fill in a form to give them more information, but as they say:

Please note that this form is solely for legal concerns about web search results. We will not be able to respond to non-legal communications submitted through this form.

What if the content says bad things about me but I can't get it removed?

It's possible we can help. It's not cheap and it's hard work, but we may be able to help you restore your online reputation. Email for more info and an informal chat.




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About Nikki

Author of many 30 Day Blogging Challenges, Nikki spends her time helping small businesses with Internet Marketing and Social Media Marketing. With 17 years of experience, she hasn't yet found someone she couldn't help to get more business from their website.

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