The Fastest Ways to Remove Search Results: Ranked

5 minute read

The Fastest Ways to Remove Search Results: Ranked

We ranked the fastest ways to remove search results from Google from fastest to slowest.

Google gets smarter everyday, but even with new Google artificial intelligence systems like RankBrain or even "knowledge based trust" it still ranks information about knowledge based on human search activities and trust, not something so difficult to define as truth. So how do we correct inaccurate or irrelevant knowledge in search results?

In the commercial world questions of truth and relevance are the basis of online reputation management. Google and Bing are commonly believed to represent truth, but they don't really. They reflect knowledge masquerading as truth in the form of search results. So the question we often get is "how to remove Google search results?".

The fastest way to change search results is to remove it completely from the website upon which it exists. If that doesn't seem feasible, or doesn't work, the second choice may be to ask Google and Bing to remove something from their search indexes. But that doesn't remove the content from the site itself, it just makes it far more difficult to find. 

Fastest: Contact the webmaster directly

In our experience a webmaster will often not remove online content because, after all, they put it there in the first place for a reason - but sometimes they will. You will need to decide if contacting the webmaster will make things better or worse. For example, Reputation X works with many attorneys who have made the mistake of sending a legal demand letter to a webmaster only to have the information added to the original page and then have many people comment on it. This refreshes the content of the page and can make it rise in search results instead of go away. So consider carefully before you ask the webmaster to remove a page.

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You can find the owner of a web page using a Whois tool like or DomainTools. If a website does not have domain privacy enabled the name, address and phone number of the owner of a website will often be visible. You can also try the Contact Us area of the website (in fact, you may try that first). 

Your best choice

Have the webmaster of the site upon which the information lies remove the page completely. If the page is utterly removed it will normally disappear from Google and Bings indexes automatically within a few weeks. 

Your second best choice

Ask the webmaster of the site containing the information to remove the search phrases from the page. For example, if your company name is mentioned on the page and/or description of the page (in the HTML), and/or Title of the page (also HTML), the webmaster can change the words so your company name no longer exists on the page. The next time a search engine crawls the page it will not find the search phrase and should, in time, demote and then remove the search result. 

Your third best choice

Ask the webmaster to add a NOINDEX tag to the header of the HTML on the page. Your company name still exists on the page, but the NOINDEX tag tells search engines not to crawl the page any longer. Within a few weeks the page is normally removed automatically from search results. 

Second fastest: Remove search results directly from Google

If the webmaster cannot be contacted, or shouldn't be, the next step is often to remove search results from Bing or Google directly. There are limited cases where de-indexing is possible. 

Reputation X De-Indexes Search Results

Reason: Identify theft or financial harm

We refer to the complete removal of search results as a "googlectomy". Google describes the information they will remove as things like bank account and credit card numbers and signature images, or other information that could cause financial fraud or identify theft.

Reason: Sexually explicit information

Sexually explicit information posted without consent will be removed from Google's index. 

Reason: Legal grounds

Google and Bing will also remove copyrighted information. This falls under the "legal removals" area. Google will ask which service you'd like information removed from. For example: Google web search, Picassa, YouTube, etc. Types of content that may be removed include sites with malware or phishing software, trademark violations, personal information.

Reason: "Right to be forgotten"

Personal information will be removed from Google if it is in breach of European privacy laws sometimes known as "Right to be Forgotten" laws, if your government ID number or bank account exists on the page, or an image of a signature (hand written). 

right to be forgotten notice - google

Reason: DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act)

The DMCA protects copyright owners. Google often respects this, and they have a removal process for doing so. But we've found that using legal means works far more often than a simple DMCA take-down request on their site. So, yes, lawyers do have a reason to exist (they're some of our best clients!). Want to give it a shot anyway? Here is a link to the tool

A note about Chilling Effects

Google may (very often does) send a copy of each legal notice we receive may be sent to Chilling Effects for publication and annotation. This means that even though you have something removed from Googles search results there will still be a notice at the bottom of the page that looks something like this:

chilling effects notice example

When a searcher clicks on the notice they may see a notice that shows the name of the person or entity that made the request to have the information taken down. 

example of dmca notice - chilling effects

Chilling Effects reports DMCA, trademark, defamation court order, private information, data protection and government requests on its site. 

Third fastest: Suppress search results

Bing and Google rely on users finding their search engines valuable. To do this they return the best possible search results. The best search results are those that best fit the searchers intent - relevance. If information cannot be removed at the source, or at the search engine level, your other option is suppression. In most cases suppression works by pushing new and existing information up in search results. 

Reputation X Pushes Down (Suppresses) Search Results

Search result suppression is the act of rearranging the priority of knowledge. The most effective way to rearrange the priority of knowledge is to create better sources of the knowledge searchers are looking for. That's what we do at Reputation X, improve knowledge and hopefully truth by creating search profiles that better serve the people who use search engines.