What I Know About Content Removal From Google Search Results
Updated on: 28 May 2021
Since Google’s inception back in the day, it has been the core of the company’s mission to make information from the web available to anyone searching for them.
While continuous updates have been done for its algorithm to return the most relevant and reliable information possible, not all content is the same. In order to protect users from content that could be offensive or harmful, Google carries out webpage removals in search results.
So, how can you determine whether your content won’t be affected? There are two main criteria that Google uses to remove content from search results – which helps me ensure my SEO efforts won’t go down the drain.
Compliance with the law
Google has a huge responsibility to keep when it comes to its legal obligations to remove pages from search results. Of course, this is easier said than done since major issues such as defamation and privacy breaches are handled differently from one country to the next, depending on the relevant local laws.
One of the most prevalent issues on the web that goes against the law is the unauthorised use of copyrighted material. Since creating optimised content is one of the forefronts of my SEO techniques, I must ensure that any and all content that I upload doesn’t infringe copyright laws and contain material that could harm others.
Cutting-edge technology and specialised software have allowed Google to proactively scan for potentially abusive content that are illegal in most countries and jurisdictions – but there is also law-breaking content that Google may not be able to detect.
To overcome this, individuals can report content they believe violates the law. The request will be then reviewed by Google whether it meets the legal requirements for removal. Website owners can also be notified of any requests for removal via Google’s Search Console.
Protection of users
Even when Google is not legally required to, it may remove content that contains highly personal information such as medical or financial information, government-issued ID, and intimate and sensitive imagery or media that are published without consent. These types of content can cause serious harm like identity theft; therefore, people can request for content removal from Google’s search results.
Another type of content that can get removed is pages with exploitative removal policies. For instance, my client might be a subject of the content in a specific website which requires payment to have the content removed. In this distressing event, I can submit a request to Google to have the content removed from the search results since it might cause reputational harm for my client’s business or even their personal life.
Pages that include contact information along with personal threats, also known as doxing, may also qualify for removal. Overall, Google will decide to remove content based on whether the potential harm caused by the content outweighs the value it provides to searchers.
Solving issues at scale with insights
The truth is: this approach of removing content may not effectively scale to the size of the open web as enormous amounts of pages are being added every minute. So, while Google still remove pages to comply with its policies and legal obligations, it also uses insights from the removal requests to improve its systems overall.
Let’s say a website receives a high volume of valid requests for copyright removal. Google uses that information as a quality signal and will demote the site in the search results. Although it may still exist on the web, it is less likely to get page views from Google.
All in all, Google designs systems that rank high-quality and reliable information at the top of the search results. So, if you’re looking to boost your page’s SEO and rank higher, you have to make sure you are not publishing content that Google might potentially remove.
With that said, it can be a struggle to keep up with many of Google’s policies and process in place – and many SEO agencies know better than the average Joe on how to optimise content that are favourable for ranking. If you need help in all things SEO for your business, reach out to our digital marketing agency in Singapore today and we’ll work together with you to improve your ranking!