How To Remove Search Results From Google Search
No matter how big Google Search may be, we can’t miss the fact that it is run by machine learning algorithms. Whatever is thrown at it is indexed, including content you may not like. On top of that, it also takes a lot of time re-indexing updated/deleted web pages due to trillions of web pages it already has to index (leading to those 404 errors).
If there is some personal or inappropriate information about you listed on Google Search or you want to remove outdated content, then there are a few ways to remove information from Google Search. In this guide, I’ll share all the available ways to remove search results from Google, whether as a regular user or a site administrator.
Important note: You might be able to get Google to remove search results, but that doesn’t mean the content will also be removed from the hosting website. People will still be able to access it by directly entering a URL or using a different search engine. Therefore, if you truly want the information inaccessible, always try to get the content removed from both the hosting website and Google Search.
Remove Google Search results as a regular user
Let’s look at some ways how a regular user can get specific content removed from Google Search. Here regular user means someone who has no or only partial access to the information available on Google Search. Therefore, you are unable to directly delete the information and update it in Google Search.
Ask the web administrator
Let’s start with the easiest option. Your best bet to completely remove any type of information from the web is to convince the web admin who is hosting the content to remove it. Contact site administrator and write a polite message listing the problem you have with the content. Be descriptive and add “please” and “thank you” to make things easier.
Don’t be aggressive, you don’t want to get yourself involved in any legal action. And as long as you can’t take a legal action, the site administrator has full right to keep the information available to the public. Be polite, and most administrators should have no problem removing information unless they are cashing on it.
You might think I being obvious here, but this truly is the best way to remove search results from Google Search. Even Google emphases on contacting the website owner instead of filing a complaint with Google.
Remove outdated information from Google Search
If there is some content that has been updated or deleted but Google Search is still listing it, then it’s really easy to remove it. Here’s how:
- Go to Search Console Remove outdated content request page.
- Here copy/paste the exact URL of the page copied from Google Search results (the URL in green). Afterward, click on the “Request Removal” button.
Google will analyze the URL and let you know if it can be deleted or not. If you are sure that the page has been removed or updated, then this process should be successful.
Remove personal Google Search results
Google won’t remove personal information such as username, full name, email address, and phone number unless you live in Europe (more on it later). Therefore, only go through this process if you want to remove sensitive personal information from Google, such as government ID, bank account number, or credit card number, etc. Here’s how to do it:
- Go to Remove Content from Google request page.
- Here select “Web search” and then select “I would like to remove my personal information from Google’s search results”.
- Now select “I would like to remove my confidential, personal information from Google’s search results”, and follow the provided request page.
Google will ask a bunch of questions about the information, answer accordingly and a removal request will be sent. Usually, it takes 24-48 hours to fulfill a legit removal request.
Use EU Right to be forgotten policy
If you are living in any country in Europe, then you have the right to delete any personal information on Google Search using Right to be forgotten policy. For example, you can remove google search results of your name, phone number, email address, stories about you, and anything that could link back to you. However, like I said before, this will only remove the search result from Google Search, it won’t remove content from the hosting website.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Go to Remove Content from Google request page.
- Now select “Web search” and then select “I would like to remove my personal information from Google’s search results”.
- Afterward, select “I would like to file a request to delist information per European data protection laws” and then follow the provided link.
- This will open up “EU Privacy Removal” request page. Just provide the required information and create a request.
You will have to provide legal documentation to prove your identity, so you better be ready. Alternatively, you can also use the Forget.me website to file a request to delete personal information under European data protection laws. The website will help find information about you, and also track the status of your request.
Remove harmful search results from Google Search
If you notice any spam or malicious content online, then you can file a request to get it removed from Google Search. You can check Google’s Webmaster guidelines to learn what type of content is considered harmful. The process to report such content is same as above.
- Just go to Remove Content from Google request page and select “Web Search”.
- Afterward, select “I would like to report malware, phishing or similar issues” or “I have found a site that is engaging in suspicious behavior” and follow the provided links to report the web page.
Remove Google Search results as a web administrator
Being a web admin means you own the content that you are looking to remove from Google Search. There can be a few situations where you may not want your content to come in Google Search, below I have provided some solutions that should help you as a web admin.
Remove already deleted content
If you have deleted some content but Google has already indexed it, there is a chance it may still be showing in Google Search results. To remove such content, make a Remove outdated content request to Google and provide the exact URL as shown in Google Search results. Google will immediately remove the search result if it is outdated or deleted.
Prevent search engines from crawling the content
You might have some sensitive information that you don’t want search engines to index. If that’s the case, then below are 3 ways to prevent search engines from crawling your whole website or just some specific pages.
1. Add noindex meta tag
The easiest way to prevent any page from search engine indexing is to add a noindex meta tag in the page header. Just add the below-mentioned tag in the <head> section of your page’s HTML code.
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”>
This will prevent most search engines from crawling that specific page. If you only want Google Search to stop indexing the page, then use this tag instead:
<meta name=”googlebot” content=”noindex”>
You can find more information about noindex meta tag on Google support page.
2. Password protect a directory
If you have some very sensitive information, then you can also password protect it to prevent access. The protected pages won’t be crawled by any search engine crawlers and the visitors will have to provide a password to access the content. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to set up a password protected directory in cPanel.
3. Create a robot.txt file to prevent indexing
You can also create a robot.txt file to prevent Google from indexing specific web pages or the whole website. However, this method isn’t perfect at preventing indexing, because Google can still index your page if any web page links to it. Creating a robot.txt file isn’t too difficult, you can follow this Google support page to learn how to use a robot.txt file to prevent Google Search indexing.
Temporary block URLs
If you just want to temporarily block some search results, then it can be done through Google Search Console. Usually, this is helpful when you need to make changes to a published page before allowing it to be indexed again by Google. To do so, open your website in Google Search Console and go to Google Index > Remove URLs from the left panel (alternatively, click here). Here, enter the URL of the page you want to block, and it will be removed from Google search.
Do keep in mind that this change is only temporary, the page will be indexed again after a fixed time. To permanently remove a URL from Google Search, use the above methods.
So these were some ways a regular user or a web administrator could remove search results from Google search. I will recommend you to always make a remove outdated content request whenever you delete content or prevent it from indexing. Google may take some time to re-index a particular page, so manually submitting is always the fastest way.
Let us know in the comments if you managed to remove information from Google Search or not. If you are still struggling, share your particular problem and we might be able to help.