How to Remove your Name in Google Search
If you stumbled upon this blog, it is highly likely your name in google search shows personal or negative information. Although it is nearly impossible to fully remove your name in Google search, there are ways to minimize exposure, by removing your social media profiles etc.
However, this may come at a cost, which why advise our clients to publish content to protect themselves against negative search results. More about this later.
See unbiased search results for your name
The first step is to always Google your name or brand with cache and search history cleared. This gives you the search results what the average person sees when they Google your name. Otherwise, Google gives personalized search results, based on cookies and your search history, that might not reflect what others see about you online.
We have a free tool where you can see your unbiased search results at the top of this page:
- Enter your personal name or business name
- Select your country
Why Google Won’t Remove Personal Google Search Results
Google simply indexes pages on the Internet and makes them available to the public. Because Google doesn’t control the information on those pages, they are immune in the United States from liability for defamation and libel by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
If you are a resident from common law countries like Australia, United Kingdom and Canada, you have a better chance of Google removing your personal information due to different laws.
In most cases, Google will only remove search results from its index if the site owner removes the pages from the website or blocks the content from search engines. Generally, you will need to work with the site owner to remove the information and page and then ask Google to remove it.
Remove personal negative search results
You might be dealing with negative or false search results for your name or brand. A malicious individual might be out to destroy your good character on the Internet, or a competitor may be posting negative reviews to harm your online reputation. In situations like that, there is a good chance you cannot get the site owner to remove the content, and therefore, you can’t ask Google to remove the information from their index.
If you have defaming or false search results, let me start by saying: do NOT comment. Posting additional information on the page might only elevate the ranking in Google. However, in some cases, like with false Google reviews, it can be wise to respond. If you do so, please follow these steps.
Depending on the type of negative information and where it is listed, you can either pursue removal or suppression of negative search results. We explained when you should choose to remove your name in google search or suppress negative search results instead.
Removing Content On A Site You Don’t Own
If your information is on a site you don’t own, you can ask the site owner to remove the info from the page or the page itself. Once this is done, Google will automatically recrawl the page as part of the normal indexing process and de-index the content as it no longer appears in search results. However, it can take some time for Google to recrawl the page and remove your name from Google. If you want to speed up this process, you can submit a removal request to Google to deindex the content from its seach results. You can only make this request once the content is removed from the web.
To speed up the removal process:
- Go to Google’s public removal tool
- Select “New removal request”
- Enter the URL of the page you want Google to remove
- Then follow the next step:
Remove outdated search results.
When the site admin removed the page or blocked it from search engines, select “Webmaster has already blocked the page” and check the checkbox that “says the page returns a 404/410 or has been blocked by robots.txt or a noindex meta tag.”
Google will crawl the page to ensure that the content no longer exists or is blocked and then remove it from its search results.
If the site admin modified the content to remove your personal information, select “Content has already been removed from the page.” Then enter the content or term that is removed from the page.
Remove your name from data collection sites
Many companies collect your information and use it or sell it. They are called data brokers. Some of these websites are Spokeo, MyLife, Intelius, Whitepages.com, PeopleFinder, as well as plenty of others. They collect publicly available data about you and then sell that data to interested parties.
Removing yourself from data brokers’ websites can be tricky. Some sites will honor your request and remove the information almost instantly. Others make it hard and require a paper and mail process. In 2020……
Remove personal information from MyLife.
Remove personal information from Instant Checkmate
Remove personal information from Intelius
Remove personal information from Spokeo
Legal action to remove your name in Google search
With some types of information, there may be laws on your side. For example, if there are sensitive photos online without your permission, take a proactive approach. Contact the website owner and request the photos be removed. Always be polite, and if that doesn’t work, we can help draft a takedown notice. If the images are explicit and distributed on the Internet without your consent, research your state’s revenge porn laws. If in violation of state laws, legal actions can be taken against the distributor or website.
Remove your name from Google through a Court Order
When you are defamed and acquired a court order to remove maligning or other unprotected speech on a website, you can submit the court order to Google to make sure that the URL’s of the damaging web pages can be removed from the search results page.
This is a costly route to take and Google not always approves court-ordered defamation removal requests.
Publish your own content to take control
As we said in the beginning, we always encourage clients to take a proactive approach to control search results. Many people don’t want their name on search results; however, that is a luxury most of us can’t afford anymore. If you have information about yourself in Google search results that you don’t want, we recommend building a reputation buffer. By publishing content on social media profiles and other sites you control, you can greatly influence what people see about you in Google search results. And if there are many neutral or positive search results in place, a new negative article will have less power and ranking, and may not even appear on the first page. If you choose not to publish anything, and a damaging article is created with your name, it will appear on the first page immediately, because Google has nothing else to work with.