Here's the thing. Google can't technically remove any content that it does not own. So it can't, for example, shut down a URL from appearing at all. Even if you get Google to stop displaying the URL in searches, you'll still want to have the URL itself removed. Here are a couple of ways:
Contact the website owner
If you discovered a URL in a Google search result that is particularly offensive or harmful to you personally, then you should immediately contact the owner of the website and request that they remove or de-index the URL. You'll find that most websites will be amenable to such a request.
If they remove the URL, it will no longer exist on the web, so Google will remove it from results. If they de-index the page, then the URL will continue to exist—but cannot be found by Google's crawler and will not appear in results.
Report the URL/website to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)
If you've contacted the website owner, and they refuse to remove the URL—then you're next step is to report the URL to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). They will look into your claim and take the necessary actions to remove the URL from the web entirely.
Let Google know
Again, report the website to Google's copyright removal service and explain the issue. This can at least help get the page de-indexed from Google searches.
If a URL no longer loads or is outdated:
- Go to Google's remove outdated content tool.
- Enter the outdated URL.
- Click Request Removal.
You can check on the status of these requests by returning to the tool page.
There are a variety of reasons you may want to remove your own URL from being indexed by Google. Maybe you don't want a thank-you page or a newsletter subscription page from appearing in search engines, for example. Having an incorrect page appear in a search engine result can really hurt a site's image and, often, its bottom-line.
Here's how to remove it from being indexed by Google and other search engines.
- If you own the URL, then there's a simple code you can paste into any page you wish to un-index from ALL search engines:
<head> section of your page: <meta name="robots" content="noindex, nofollow”>
- If you only want to remove it from Google indexing specifically, then enter:
<meta name="googlebot" content="noindex, nofollow”>
- Conversely, you can always delete the page entirely—if it's no longer of any value even as a draft.
We've all been there before: we have one copy of some vital document to which there is no editable, digital copy.