It is normal to find your name on Google, especially if you have social media pages, blogs and websites. Your name appears on the search engine, however, it is a bit destructive to your security if all your personal information is seen alongside with your name. For that matter, you are likely prone to identity theft, or worse, bank account hacks. So, how do you remove your information from Google to avoid problems later on? Read on.
Keep private information protected
Normally, personal information is not shown in Google search, except in the review and public forums. If you post any personal information online, Google will gather, index, and crawl it. Thus, it will show on search engine result pages. Be cautious when sharing personal information on any forums and reviews.
If you use any social media platforms like Facebook, you can change the settings to keep personal information private. Always set your posts to ‘Friends Only,’ so that Google will not index them. The same goes for other social media sites, like Twitter and MySpace. Go to account settings and fix it.
If you have a website or a blog, you can change your personal information through the account settings as well. Exclude information that you do not want Google to crawl and later index them for search results.
Ask a website owner to remove your personal information
If you notice that a website has your personal information, you can contact a website owner and ask them to take it down – remove or block it. Once the owner removes or blocks the content, Google will not include it in search results.
Keep in mind that Google cannot do anything and does not have the right to remove any content on any websites unless the owners remove such information. Google will then automatically recrawl it and send it back to search results. This time no personal information is shown. Exceptions are available, if the content contains ‘sensitive’ information.
Re-crawling the content on a website takes time. You can speed up the process by contacting Google and inform them that the owner has removed the content. Access Public Removal Tool on Google, select ‘new removal request,’ type in the URL of the page you want to delete, and then select ‘Webmaster has already blocked the page.’
Google will check the web page to see if the website owner blocks or removes the content. Then, they will remove it from the search engine result pages.
When you cannot contact a website owner, do the following:
The first thing to do when you want to remove your sensitive information on a website is to contact a website owner and ask them to remove any personal information you have there.
However, an unexpected situation can happen especially when a website owner does not respect your decision or ignore your request. Google can help you remove it only if it is any of the following information:
- a credit card number or bank account
- a government ID number or a social security number
- a business or name that displays as part of adult content junk e-mail/spam
- a picture of a handwritten signature
Find the ‘Webpage Removal Tool Request’ in your Google account. Check the appropriate removal type and Google will process your request as soon as possible.
Read also – 9 Best Google Tricks to Try
Even though it is not easy to remove your information from Google, with a little time and effort you may succeed. The best option is to avoid social media and never post anything online. But is it a smart option? It is up to you to decide.