How to remove personal information from Google search results
No matter how much time you spend online, chances are that your personal information is floating around the web somewhere. Google has long offered a tool for removing personal data from search results, but the company recently updated its policy to include even more types of information. You can now submit removal requests to Google for personal contact information like a phone number, email address, or physical address.
If you’re wondering how you can submit a removal request to Google, we’re going to walk you through the process. Thankfully, it’s relatively easy to do.
What information can I have removed?
First and foremost, it’s important that you understand what Google will actually be willing to remove. In order for Google to consider removing content from search results, it will need to pertain to the following types of information:
- Confidential government identification (ID) numbers like U.S. Social Security Number, Argentine Single Tax Identification Number, Brazil Cadastro de pessoas Físicas, Korea Resident Registration Number, China Resident Identity Card, etc.
- Bank account numbers
- Credit card numbers
- Images of handwritten signatures
- Images of ID docs
- Highly personal, restricted, and official records, like medical records
- Personal contact info (physical addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses)
- Confidential login credentials
How to submit a removal request to Google
If the information falls into one of those categories, you’ll have a shot of getting it removed. Here are the steps you need to take to submit a removal request:
- Navigate to the removal request page on the Google Search Help site.
- Tick the bubble that reads: “Remove information you see in Google Search”
- Let Google know if the information you want it to remove is only in Google’s search results or also appearing on a website.
- If the information is also on a website, Google will ask you if you have contacted the site’s owner. Unless you already have, select: “No, I prefer not to.”
- Select the type of content that you want Google to remove.
- You will now have to fill out a form to complete the removal request. Google asks for your full name, your country of residence, and your email address. You will also need to provide the URLs of the pages that show the content and at least one screenshot. Finally, list the search terms that surface the content, provide additional context if necessary, and hit “Submit.” You’ll get an email confirmation as soon as Google receives it.
Once Google receives your removal request, the review process begins. Google will evaluate all requests on a number of factors. In some cases, Google may ask for more information if it can’t make a decision based on what you provided. Once the evaluation is over, Google will let you know what action it plans to take. This could include removing the URLs from all search results, removing URLs from specific queries, or denying your request.
Here’s a short video from Google walking users through the process: