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Naturally, our SEO agency is in the business of improving the prominence of rankings, and for our clients, more is more, so long as it’s relevant. But what if a web page holds information that isn’t relevant anymore? And what if the information thrown up by Google is more than a touch problematic, and actually reveals far too much about you?

In an age where we share a good deal of ourselves online, it’s no wonder that the privacy and security lines have become somewhat dangerously blurred. UK GDPR legislation and The Right To Be Forgotten are evidence of the growing concern with how information about usis gathered and, crucially, shared. With Google, by far the most popular search engine, pulling information from more than 1.13billion websites into search results, there is of course the risk that this information could be personal, defamatory, explicit or outdated.

What is the Right to Be Forgotten?

As a bonafide right across the European Union, established in 2014 by the European Court of Justice, outlining an individual’s entitlement to askonline entities such as Google to remove content, or links to contents in Google’s case, associated with their name. 

It’s with that in mind that Google has begun to make it easier to‘remove yourself’ from their search results; specifically when the information is being pulled from sites you don’t own. We’re experts in getting search results to show certain things, however, you may be wondering ‘how can I delete myself from a Google search?’. So, in the opposite of what we usually do, let’s look at what it takes to remove a search result.

Why would you want to delete yourself from Google? 

The idea of our information about us being accessible by the 4.3B users worldwide that Google attracts is enough to give us at least a small sense of general unease, but why specifically would you want to know how to remove yourself from Google? Here are a few good reasons:

General privacy

When you come into contact with so many people in your everyday life, there’s bound to be a fair few people, both professionally and personally, who have both your name, and access to a search engine. If searching your name brought up personal or outdated information, you may be inadvertently giving out more than you bargained for to potential employers,neighbours, family, or friends, for example. 

This information may pose a safety risk (more on this shortly), orbe outdated. For example, the quiet neighbourhood you move into might be a world away from the raucous student digs your younger self frequented. All it takes is a job application or some misdelivered post for pictures of your unidays to be studied by nosey new neighbours, or curious employers, giving them the wrong impression of you before they’ve had a chance to get to know you.


The potential for fraud is massive when it comes to your personal information, and the more that fraudsters can get hold of, the more convincing they can make their criminal activities.

For example, your name, address,employment information, birthday and more can be used for a scammer’s gain,including phishing phone calls, texts and emails posing as legitimate companies that you’re likely to trust, direct debit fraud, and full blown identity theft.

Think of your personal information like a puzzle; the more a scammer is able to piece together, a bigger picture they can get - and that picture is then much easier to copy.


Your personal information in the hands of someone that’s taken a little too much interest to you could pose a safety risk. For example,information about your address and place of employment could make the criminal activities of stalkers, such as ex partners, easier and more terrifying. The places you hang out online, such as social media sites, also provide avenues of contact that cyberstalkers can use too, compromising your safety online. 

It’s not just unwanted attention you can attract through search engines - it’s thievery too. Your address being published online tells thieves exactly where to find you, and if you’ve just uploaded a picture to your Instagram page of your new watch, car, or even a new puppy, you could be opening yourself up to a robbery.

Can Google remove personal information? 

As we’d alluded to, removing your personal information from Google searches has become easier, thanks to the ability to make a removal request, whereby you can ask for the results that disclose this information to stop appearing under specific search terms.

What personal information can be removed on Google? 

Generally, the information within search results will be considered for removal by Google if it falls into one of the following categories: 

- Contact information 

- Government issued ID numbers

- Bank account and payment card information 

- Pictures of identifying documents 

- Medical records

- Login credentials

- Pictures of anyone under 18, even if they’re not explicit 

Google can also remove highly personal results, such as explicit content that involves you, whether it was uploaded non-consensually, or was shared consensually originally, but you’ve since changed your mind. This includes explicit images (such as revenge pornography), fake pornographiccontent, and inappropriate content linked to your name in SERPS.

How can you request to remove personal information on Google? 

The good news is that you can submit the removal request that we mentioned earlier, which involves you submitting the page URLs to Google and them assessing your request and reacting accordingly. 

The bad news, if you’re outside the US, is that it’s not as easy at the moment as it is for those that live in the US, where the Results About You tool has been rolled out in English. The Results About You tool alerts you to existing contact information of yours that is currently displayed in search results, andalso alerts you to any new ones that pop up, allowing you to request their removal immediately. Google is hopeful that they can roll it out in other regions of the world soon.

Does removing yourself from search results remove you from the website it appears on? 

It’s crucial to note that if your request for removal is approved,this only involves Google removing the result from the results page - it cannot remove the web page that it appears on. It will either remove the result from ALL searches, or, most commonly, it will remove the result from searches that include your name, or other personal identifier.

What else can I do to remove myself from search results? 

As part of your online hygiene, you may want to reduce your digital footprint, and fly a little more under the radar online. Therefore, it’s worth taking the following steps to reduce the amount of information available to you online, beyond request its removal from search results:

Approach individual websites and ask to remove your information

Even if Google removes the offending result from search queries,the page containing the information could still appear on other search engines,directly, or through social media. Therefore, removing the information at source, i.e the page that contains it in the first place, is the only way to ensure it disappears. This is done by making a request to the website itself,and the processes will vary from site to site.

Call in a lawyer

If the information contained within results is illegal or contravenes local laws,you can get the help of a legal professional to chase down removal. They will go after the website owner, not Google, in order to get the information removed for good.

Be mindful of what you put online 

Sharing the bare minimum and being mindful of the sites you input your details into will prevent the worry of publicly available information in the future. Avoid sites and social media platforms that have been known to leak data in the past.

Can Google remove defamatory results? 

This is an interesting one, and it’s something that many scandal-hit public figures have no doubt attempted. The removal of defamatory search results comes down to public interest vs privacy. For example, a celebrity involved in a criminal case may well want a page on the web about it removed - after all, it harms their reputation. However, if it’s deemed to be in the public interest, as it’s being reported by legitimate news outlets,which it generally is, such requests are likely to be denied. 

A removal request is still an option for defamatory Google searches, and Google will take into account the age of the information, where it comes from, and where it fits into the public interest.

An alternative strategy 

However, this isn’t the only way. There is certainly an argument for flooding Google with results with the same key word but in a different context, to push bad ones down. This could be difficult to do on your own website without being spammy, but could be leveraged by public figures in the media,whose names are likely to be Googled on a frequent basis for years to come. 

For example, if there’s a news story or narrative that someone in the public eye would rather not be associated with floating around on the internet, they could, in theory, say or do something that sparks many respected outlets to write about it, naturally including that problem term. This could enable the new results, likely to be using the term in a different context, to push the older search results down where nobody generally looks. 

Examples of this strategy have been speculated about on the internet for a little while, and whilst we must stress that they are merely theories (of a conspiracy nature, you could say), and are entirely unproven, it’s an interesting insight into how SEO could be utilised.

Celebrity SEO rumours

Taylor Swift and the Jets

Whether you’re a self confessed ‘Swiftie’, or her music isn’t really your cup of tea, there’s no arguing with Taylor Swift’s popularity; she’s sold a whopping 114 million album units worldwide. She’s also one of the most Googled celebrities in the world. 

With such success comes the need to be in lots of places a lot of the time, which does, inevitably, clock up the air miles. In 2022, Taylor came under fire for her use of private jets, and some online sleuths worked out, using averages, how many tonnes of emissions Taylor’s jet-setting has produced - and it put her up as one of the most prolific (and therefore environmentally unfriendly) users of private air travel. 

So, when Taylor rocked up to a New York Jets game with some celebrity pals, it quickly changed the results for the search term ‘TaylorSwift jets’. This could have been pure coincidence, but the American online magazine begs to differ.

Boris Johnson’s buses 

Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is a man who’s no stranger to the headlines, and there’s none that make better history book material than his involvement in those infamous claims on the side of a double decker bus. 

During the Brexit campaign, a bus with the claim that the £350million a week that the UK sent the EU could instead be diverted to the NHS was wheeled out for a photo op - and Boris Johnson, fresh from his mayoral term, proudly stood in front of it. 

When it transpired that £350M couldn’t actually be diverted to the NHS weekly, those claims came under fire for being just a touch misleading. Cue an interview in which Boris Johnson said, somewhat bizarrely, that he painted wine boxes to look like model buses in his spare time. Suddenly the search results throw up a few different results, diverting attention from the elephant (or bus) in the room. 

The cold conspiracy of Walt Disney’s death

If you haven’t heard of Disney’s hit film Frozen, where have you been? We’re prepared to ‘let it go’ if you hear us out on the somewhat outrageous rumours that swirled about the unlikely SEO motive behind the hit film. There are theories out there that suggest that following Walt Disney’s death in 1966 his body was cryogenically frozen so that he could be brought back to life in the future. It was a topic long Googled before Frozen was released in 2013, and there are suggestions that the popular animation could have been an effort to push mentions of Walt’s alleged chilly resting place way down the searchresults.

Removing search results for pages you own

If there are pages on your website that push personal information of yours onto the results page, it’s easier to remove them from Google searches. Simply delete or ‘unpublish’ the page through your CMS, or add the‘no index’ tag within the page’s HTML, which tells Google not to index it. A page that isn’t indexed will not appear in search results.

How can you stop sensitive information reappearing insearch results

There is no way to once and for all delete yourself from Google results - it is,unfortunately, an ongoing process thanks to things like data leaks. What you need to do is remain diligent, regularly searching your personal information so that you can make removal requests sooner rather than later.

An SEO agency on top of Google’s goings-on 

At 427, we’re proud to keep our finger on the pulse of Google’s latest updates -whether it be tools like the Results About You functionality, the latest E-E-A-T guidance, or core updates that could affect your rankings. We often share our insights on our blog, or with the wide range of clients that we’re fortunate enough to handle all aspects of SEO for. Give us a call if you’d like to chat Google - it’s our favourite pastime!

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About Chris Simmons

Chris is our onpage SEO Specialist at 427 Marketing, having joined the team in early 2023. He works with our content team to cover the 4 pillars of SEO; content, onpage SEO, technical SEO and offpage SEO. Prior to joining the 427 Marketing team, Chris spent almost 10 years applying his SEO and content skills across several different industries in marketing agency and inhouse roles including tool hire, auctioneering, health care within the NHS and high end luxury retail in both B2B and B2C capacities. His passion for writing, content, UX, technical and on page SEO has expanded our content offerings, helping provide reliable advice about all things SEO to 427 Marketing.

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