One of the myths of Internet is that search results are permanent and cannot be deleted. In reality, online reputation management companies know that internet search results can and do change frequently. What is on page one of Google today, can appear on page three tomorrow. And conversely, what is on page three of Google today, can appear on page one tomorrow.
Websites go out of business (or fail to pay their registration fees) and the domain is taken down. Pages are deleted by site owners and webmasters. Social media profiles on popular sites like Facebook can be easily deindexed or hidden from view by people searching for you online by applying basic privacy settings. But did you know that you can remove pages from the Internet? It’s true.
If you discover a page in Google search results that shares personal information such as your social security or credit card number, Google will review the request and may remove the information from their search results. Examples of personal information which may be deleted by Google includes:
- Your social security or government ID number
- Your bank account or credit card number
- An image of your handwritten signature
- Your first and last name or the name of your business appearing on an adult content site (e.g., online pornography) that’s spamming Google’s search results.
If you discover personal information about you or your family online, your first point of contact should be the Webmaster that is publishing the confidential information and request removal immediately.
If the Webmaster or site owner is unable or unwilling to remove the content, you can contact Google directly and request removal.
When you contact Google to request removal, you will need to be very specific about the content that you are seeking to remove and why. For example, you can:
- Request removal of an entire page
- Request removal of the cached version of a page.
- Request removal of an image
- Request removal of Google-hosted content (e.g., YouTube, Blogger, etc.) for legal reasons, such as copyright infringement
If Google cannot remove the information from their search results, you may want to contact a reputation management company to discuss how to remove or suppress the negative results from the first pages of Google and other leading search engines.
If you want to monitor whether personal information about you or a member of your family appears online, reputation management companies recommend you try The Me on the Web feature of your Google Dashboard can help you keep track of the latest mentions on the Web.
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