We cannot always control what appears about us online. It is important that you do not wait to remove personal information from Google. This is quite a hot topic presently because people feel they have a right to privacy online.
Pew Research Center surveys have shown that 86% of people have attempted to remove content from Google reputation management. Tactics such as email encryption, cookie clearing, hidden IP, and more. While these things work, it may take time to outrank the negative content appearing.
Online Reputation Management is the strategic method used to ensure you remove sensitive personal information from Google once and for all. Consider, for a minute, that some 1,000,000,000 names are Googled each day. So essentially, someone enters your name once a week. It is important to make sure what people find is flattering and positive.
Advanced background checks are now conducted by schools, employers, prospective dates, landlords, and more. Say goodbye to “first-impressions”. Indeed, around 42% if those one billion daily name searches help people to decide whether or not to do business with the person they have searched for. Clearly, the results that come up are a powerful influencer. Therefore, clearing your name from the search results isn’t just about privacy, it is about your future.
How to Remove Personal Information from Google
There are three main steps to clearing your name from Google:
- Prevention. This is about blocking the information from appearing in the future.
- Removal. This is about taking away what is already there.
- Suppression. This is about making sure that what you can’t take away won’t get found.
Remove Personal Information from Google | Step 1 – Prevention
Prevention is always better than cure. It is about being proactive, stopping bad things from appearing right away. If you can prevent negative information from appearing in the first place, you won’t have to take action to remove it. Whenever you engage in anything online, ask yourself whether those actions speak positively about your personal brand. It is about reflecting on how you want to present yourself. In fact, experts feel that everyone should have a formalized personal mission statement. This should include core objectives and values, which you then have to stick to. Finding other personalities online with the same values and objectives is a great way to find examples of how to present yourself. Those who have a successful Online Reputation Management should be seen as an inspiration to you. They have taken control of their personal brand and you can do the same.
Read more about the most common branding mistakes!
Do you have to ask yourself why or how to remove articles from the internet? You need to prioritize that for removal first. Things such as personal address details, embarrassing photos and videos, private conversations, financial details, email addresses, work addresses, your arrest and criminal records, intimate videos and photographs, copyrighted materials, negative review and press, and outdated information are all important to have removed.
You will be happy to know that most of these are reasonably easy to remove personal information from Google. Indeed, sometimes, you are protected against these posts through federal laws. However, there are also pieces of information that belong to the site owner or webmaster and it is up to them to decide whether or not to remove it. Mastering how you remove personal information from Google will only quicken the process. Again, this is why prevention is so important. This is also why you should write your own list of information you do not want to appear online and determine which pieces are most important to keep hidden.
You also need to ask yourself what kind of preventative steps you are currently taking. It is likely that there are a few things you should do but haven’t done yet, such as opting out of white pages and other public listings. So, now you are a few steps closer to learning more about how to remove personal information from Google. Google reputation management should be one of your main concerns.
Start by looking at the security methods you have in place right now and make sure that you focus on at least the following:
- Having strong and unique passwords for all the websites you use. Purchase a good password manager so that you don’t forget your passwords but don’t have to write them down either.
- Using secure networks on your internet connection. Public WiFi networks are useful, but you should never use them for anything personal.
- Having secure backup systems in places, such as an external hard drive or a secure cloud account. All data brokers that you hold on your different devices should be regularly backed up.
- Updating all your software and hardware. While many of us don’t like to go through updates, they aren’t just to change some of the cosmetics of your operating system. Rather, they are about addressing any vulnerabilities that have been found in the system. Having a reliable computer allows you to actively remove personal information from Google.
- Having an up to date antivirus and antispyware package in place. The software is often built-in but regardless thereof, you must make sure automatic updating is switched on. This will ensure that you’re always fully protected from hackers, malware, viruses, and other such things.
- Having a fully secure email address. If you use multiple email accounts, you should check all of their terms of service and find out what problems they often encounter. If you can get better protection from a paid email server, consider investing in it.
- Only using verified apps on your smart devices. Do not log in through the web browser you use on your phone, but use the verified app immediately. This will also ensure you can automatically update the app as and when needed.
- Keeping all physical copies of your personal information is secured locations. A safety deposit box is always a good idea.
Alternative Methods On How to Remove Personal Information From Google
A basic understanding of the above steps will make it far easier for you to be proactive about your information on Google. You may also engage in other security measures, which should all write down. This will give you a good overview of whether or not you are behaving in a responsible manner.
There are other things that you can do immediately to stop your private information and details from becoming readily available. The internet seems to have transformed into a huge database of personal information. It is easier than ever to find someone’s phone number, home address, how long they have lived there, email address, and more, simply by entering someone’s name on Google. Because there are so many data brokers and websites, it can be quite difficult to remove sensitive personal information from Google, it is hard enough finding the content.
Again, this is about being proactive and making sure you don’t appear at all. The white pages are the first place you should head to in order to enlist yourself. And you must make sure that you don’t automatically connect any online accounts together, as this information could easily be sold. While that must be mentioned in the terms of service, most people never read those. You may want to have a PO box or list your place of work as your home address. If you want to set up your own website, you should never list your sensitive personal information on it. Rather, have a separate email address that keeps your personal details private. Under ICANN law, all information that is linked to domain registration is a matter of public knowledge, which means you won’t be able to remove personal information from Google.
Prevention is also absolutely vital in terms of unflattering, embarrassing, and humiliating photographs and videos. Unfortunately, sometimes it isn’t possible to stop someone from making those videos and photos. However, you can protect yourself. This must start with you not posting anything that can be taken out of context. Remember your personal mission statement and make sure your own images and videos are fully aligned with your professional image. Do not post anything that does not fully match this.
If someone else were to have posted this inappropriate content, it becomes a little bit more difficult, albeit not impossible, to have it removed. We live in the day of smartphones and anything embarrassing or humiliating you do in public is likely to have been videoed and shared. Hence, think about how you behave at all times. You should also never participate in taking intimate photographs or videos since those could easily find their way online through “revenge porn”.
Chats are also important. There have been many stories of prominent figures making jokes in a private chat that were incredibly inappropriate and that they made their way into the public domain. Email conversations, private chats, and other such messages are not truly private. Having secure networks and connections in place will ensure that no third party can see what has been said, but you do have to consider that those people you sent the message to will eventually share it. The danger to your Online Reputation Management does not lie solely in hackers and malicious cybercriminals. It can come from someone who is angry with you as well. Again, therefore, whenever you send something electronically, whether through email, IM, PM, Tweet, or any other digital medium, don’t say anything you wouldn’t happily say in public as well.
– Do not post something online you would not want your mother to see –
You must also prevent very sensitive information such as your medical history, your Social Security Number (SSN), or financial details from making their way online. Not only can this ruin your Online Reputation Management, but it can also lead to identity theft. Thankfully, because of the fact that this information is truly classified as private, it is reasonably easy to have it removed. However, again, you must be proactive and ensure it doesn’t appear online in the first place. Make sure you store your details in secure places and that you don’t share any of it on untrusted websites.
Arrest records, criminal records, and how to remove mugshots online. Meanwhile, are all part of the public domain. The only thing you can do in terms of prevention is making sure that you don’t break the law or are suspected to break the law. Again, things can be done to remove personal information from Google.
In relation to things such as negative reviews and press and copyright information, you must always maintain proof that you own the intellectual property. For revenge porn, this proof of intellectual property is key. Filing a trademark or watermarking anything that you own is also very beneficial.
Last but not least, you must make sure that any biographical information you do want to have publicly available is up to date and that all outdated information has been updated or removed. This will also ensure that you rank for positive things on Google, instead of for negative things. Maintain a list of all locations that store your personal information so that you can update them all whenever needed.
Step 2 – Removal
No matter how proactive you have been, it is likely that there is already some information out there about you that you are not happy about. It is important that you regularly enter your own name in Google to see what comes up so that you know what you are up against as well. Thankfully, removal is possible, but you first have to understand what that is.
When you ask Google to take something down, they don’t actually physically remove personal information from Google. Rather, they de-index it. What this means is that the pages will no longer appear in the search results. If, however, someone who is looking for you knows on what website something was posted, they will still be able to find it through there. Ultimately, however, your goal is to make sure that people no longer see any negative results. This can be done through suppression, de-indexation, and deletion, each of which is slightly different.
Looking first at de-indexing, this is what search engines will usually do if they receive a takedown request. Deleting a site or page from a site completely is very rare. Hence, when people speak of “removing something from Google”, they usually mean de-indexing. When something is de-indexed, it simply means that it will no longer appear on the search engine that de-indexed it. The information is still out there, therefore, but Google won’t let it appear in the results anymore. The result is that it is far less likely that people find the information about you that you want to keep hidden. However, the threat is still out there and an astute searcher will be able to find it.
Do you know how to remove online reviews?
Then, there is deleting something from a page altogether. This is possible, but it is difficult because only the site owner or webmaster is able to do so. Of course, it is always worth asking the question and, in some cases, there is a legal case to be brought forward to having them remove personal information from Google. If they delete it, then it means it is actually completely gone and it is gone for good (unless it is reposted). When a page is deleted, it will still show up on the search engines for a while, until the web crawlers realize that it isn’t there anymore. Hence, you should also opt for de-indexing.
There are, unfortunately, disadvantages to both de-indexing and deletion. The biggest disadvantage is that it doesn’t really offer any guarantees. The website in question may have a cached version for instance, which can still be accessed. Additionally, there may be screenshots of the post and the physical information may still be out there and simply find itself reposted somewhere else.
Suppress those bad comments online, time to start over. This is completely different and essentially relates to properties and processes that are within your control. If searching your name reveals negative results, your goal is to post more positive things instead, ensuring they rank more highly in the search engine results. Ultimately, and with a substantial amount of effort, this means that the positive results are easier to find than the negative ones. The reality is that most people don’t look further than the first few pages of the search engines, so if you can stop the negatives from appearing there, they are as good as hidden completely.
The Law is on Your Side
- The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA), which you can apply to copyrighted work in the United States. This was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1998 in an effort to stop services, devices, and technology to be disseminated so that copyrighted works could only be accessed with the proper control. Additionally, the Act means that when people circumvent those controls, even if they don’t infringe on the copyright, are guilty of a criminal offense. However, it applies mainly to online users and is hard to apply to intermediaries such as internet service providers. Hence, the DCMA is important and useful, but it is also limited.
- The agreement of Google to de-index any sensitive information for users based in the United States. This includes SSNs and credit card numbers. Essentially, Google has agreed that, if any information is posted online that could lead to financial harm or identity theft, the person that refers to can ask for the information to be removed. This does not, however, apply to your personal mailing address. Google will also usually remove any child sexual abuse imagery as well as revenge porn. Effectively, you need to be able to demonstrate that there is “sensitive information” that you wish to take down. The Help Forum from Google is very good to help you determine whether or not they will agree it is classified as sensitive.
- The Right to Be Forgotten. If you live in the European Union (EU) or in Argentina, you have the right to be forgotten by Google and the other search engines. What this means is that it is far more likely that you will indeed be able to have your removal request granted. However, you do have to meet the relevant criteria for this first.
- You’re in control because if any of the information that exists is on pages you own, such as your blog or your social media accounts, you can take it off yourself. The impact of negative social media can be devastating. It is quite surprising to see just how often the embarrassing information that people want removing comes from their own online accounts. You do have some power, therefore, and you need to exert it. Remember that all that information you posted on old social media pages, such as Hyves and MySpace, is still out there. You still have control over that, however, and you can still remove it. Make sure you think back about all your different accounts, no matter how long ago, and consider whether there is anything on there that you would rather not be in the public domain. While you are checking those, be proactive and change your password!
- It doesn’t hurt to ask. If information about you is posted on someone’s website, you can always ask them to remove personal information from Google. A polite request can go a long way. Sometimes, people create memes and other such things and forget that they are dealing with actual individuals. A brief, polite reminder of that can work and is certainly worth a shot. Doing this is important because if the webmaster or site owner actually removes the information, it will also be taken away from the cached version. Of course, as previously mentioned, this does not offer any real guarantees, as the person could refuse your request, post the information elsewhere, or even be more inflamed by your request and share it even further as a form of retaliation.
Hence, you do have to consider your relationship with the original poster and determine they do not hold a grudge before calling on their good judgment. If you aren’t sure as to why the person posted the information, then you need to be particularly careful about how you word your request. Disgruntled exes or ex-associates by utilizing Revenge Sites. So if you are seeing personal information on a county website and you have the proper documents, it will be removed. You must also remember that to remove personal information from Google is a process and often a lengthy one. You will not find all the negative information about you removed and de-indexed overnight.
Exerting your rights and getting in touch with the various people involved itself is a long process and it is likely that there will be some back and forth negotiations. In the worst-case scenario, you may have to seek legal advice. Of course, doing so also takes time and energy, while also potentially costing a lot of money. And, unfortunately, this still doesn’t guarantee anything. Should you win a case, which would usually be down to libel or defamation of character, the content in question may still remain somewhat accessible through duplicate content, archived results, screenshots, social sharing, and more. Indeed, while you have the right to take legal action, this is one of the least successful manners of removing your information, not in the least because it often fuels the fire of anger and may just lead to your name becoming associated with other negativity instead.
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Part 3 – Suppression
Suppression is all about creating a personal brand for yourself that is successful and positive. The greatest control you have is over who you are and how you appear now. By being proactive and preventative, you have taken the first important steps towards achieving that and by actively trying to remove personal information from Google, you have taken the second step. But now, it is about creating a strategy in which you make sure that what people find about you is overwhelmingly positive and fully representative of your personal brand.
Creating a personal brand is a fantastic defensive strategy and, due to the nature of the internet, also an offensive strategy. It is a very effective way to help you manage those negative results on the search engines. Indeed, personal branding is a vital strategy that you have to familiarize yourself with if you really want to create an effective campaign. The cumulative impact of doing so is also important, as it could even lead to giving you more opportunities in life, particularly professionally. This can be important to remember if you ever attempt a mugshot removal.
Suppressions: The action of forcibly putting in the end to something. Prevent the development, action, or expression of something.
Again, there are no guarantees. No matter how well your brand yourself, you may not be able to suppress bad comments online. However, it does help and usually even really works. This is why it is currently the most effective tactic of all within the Online Reputation Management realms. To do it right, you have to create and optimize who you are, focusing specifically on those things that the search engines look for. And you need to make sure that your content is more relevant than the content of the negative results.
Again, however, this is not an overnight process. You have to work really hard at building a foundation of your personal brand and you have to keep working on it. Over time, doing so will ensure your positive information overtakes the content that you want to keep hidden. But you also have to keep working at it. Once you have been able to suppress the information, it won’t stay suppressed if you suddenly stop engaging in authoritative optimization practices across all your websites and all your social media accounts.
Suppression is a strategy that focuses on organic engagement, branding, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) properties, creating high-quality content, and remaining up to date with changes in the search engine algorithms.
Our team of reputation experts actively work on Ripoff Report removal solutions as well as any other unwarranted negative posts online.
Three key principles to suppression
- The creation of your baseline brand. This is harder then it sounds because you’re building your foundation and what will be the starting point of all Online Reputation Management. You must start by having all negative and irrelevant content that you have control over removed. Stop missing out on articles about you, sign up for Google Alerts. You must start by knowing what your current online presence is. Google Alerts will notify you via email the moment a new article is published. Consistency will help when it comes to your SEO practices and rankings online. You may also need to create more social media accounts across platforms. This is how to remove personal information from Google, or at least hide it.
- Building up your authority, credibility, and audience. ‘Business trust’ is not enough, you need loyal customers that will share your content with friends. Finding thought leaders and influencers in your area. Creating content for relevant, authority websites, and getting to know the demographics of your audience is vital for this.
- Finding new opportunities and going for them. Once you have an audience in place, you have set yourself apart as an authority. Actively engaged in various social media platforms is a great way to generate a following. In addition, you will have to create new opportunities. These simply come along but you also have to monitor online developments and changes and grab opportunities proactively.
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Online Reputation Management is time-consuming and most of it comes with no guarantees. Sometimes, your efforts will only succeed a little bit. Requests may be addressed but often replaced with something else. This is why it is so important that you properly build your brand. When you suppress information, you ensure that no information exists that could tarnish your good reputation. Since you have built trust you will have time to make amends to the negativity.
Personal branding is complex, but help is out there for you. Software packages exist that will guide you through the entire process. Helping you to create the right properties and the right content at the right intervals. Ensure your actions match with what web spiders and crawlers are looking for if it is to be effective. If it is, however, you will be able to make great steps forward, finding new professional and personal opportunities. But do remember that it is a process. You must monitor your results regularly in order to take action quickly and efficiently.
Remove Google Search Results for Existing Websites
Once you have discovered a website you deem harmful or negative there are some steps you must take before reaching out to Google. As we mentioned earlier, Google is an unbias platform so calling them and complaining about a certain website will not do any good. Furthermore, we have limited censorship online so there are no laws implemented currently that obligates Google to remove because an individual “doesn’t like it”.
The most popular example of this would be “Revenge Sites“. These websites were designed to vent and talk about your ex-spouse or ex-girl/boyfriend publicly. This includes posting photos and writing somewhat defamatory articles for anyone with an internet connection to read. Revenge sites such as ShesAHomeWrecker has turned into a platform for the spiteful and morally corrupt. This act is often done in a fit of rage stemming from a recent divorce or legal battle. It is important to take these websites seriously because doing nothing will not make matters better. In fact, leaving a website up for too long gives it the ability to gain traction and authority, possibly ranking higher over time. Many individuals who are posted on revenge sites can check by simply ‘Googling’ their phone number.
It is important to note that Google WILL NOT remove unless the website has removed the information. If you feel the matter could have been handled legally, sending documents such as DMCA takedown notices or cease and assist letters could “scare” the website owners into removing the content. If the webmaster does not comply with your requests, unless they have unlawfully posted the information, there is, unfortunately, no way to have it forcibly removed. There are several exceptions such as cheater sites and revenge porn. These articles are typically pulled down automatically from Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Remove Google Search Results for Outdated Cache
Your dream job becomes much simpler if the content has already been removed. When you click on a website and it prompts a 4xx or 5xx error that is perfect. This means the webmaster has removed that page from their site. If this is where you are starting out, the removal process (or deindexing process) is basically done for you.
In a recent update, Google redesigned how they are notified to recrawl a particular website. In the past, you could simply visit the Google Search Console and copy/paste the outdated URL. Press submit and you are done. Now it takes a little more effort to expedite the time it takes to remove Google search results.
Next, you will want to visit or revisit DomainTools. This is again where you locate any email addresses or phone numbers for the website owner(s). By emailing or calling them, you can ask them to disallow that exact page on their sitemap. A sitemap is what Google looks at when recrawling each website for any updates or new posts. By disallowing a certain page, you are telling Google you DO NOT want that to appear in their search results. After about 2-3 days of notifying Google, they will update their results to reflect the change.
Hiring the Professionals to Remove Personal Information from Google
Sometimes, you will need to bring in some professional help. Doing so means looking into how good and honest that company actually is. Removing information from Google can be difficult if the content is still appearing. The result is that reality also is that you will have to rely mainly on properly branding yourself.
A good Online Reputation Management company will ensure all your profiles are relevant, up to date, and fully optimized. At the same time, they will teach you how to brand yourself and how to take preventative measures. You must remember that you are only in control over your own sites and accounts. Optimization of positive content is key when figuring out how to remove personal information from Google.
Hopefully, the information provided above will assist in how to remove sensitive personal information from Google. Focus on all three elements – prevention, removal, and suppress bad comments online. Do this, and you should be able to build a positive online image and personal brand. This, in turn, will ensure you have more opportunities, both professionally and personally. Remove personal information from Google today!
How GuaranteedRemoval Can Help
We have worked in the Online Reputation Management industry for the past 5 years. During that time we have procured partnerships with the top media publishers in the various industry. Whether you are working to remove personal information from Google or another search engine. Hide the negatives and promote the positives with GuaranteedRemoval. Call us today, waiting will get you nowhere. We offer a FREE CONSULTATION, what are you waiting for?