Google’s Danny Sullivan Says There Are Two Reasons Why Content Gets Removed From Search Results

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A new article on Search Engine Journal reports that Google’s Danny Sullivan has just outlined two instances in which the company might need to remove content from search results.

Danny Sullivan is Google’s Search Liaison, and he recently came up with two reasons why content might get removed from search results. Sometimes, content could be removed either to protect users or comply with the law. Apparently, removing content isn’t something Google takes lightly. Even sites that violate Google’s rules with black hat SEO do not get permanently de-indexed:

Reason one: Removing Content to Comply With the Law

Of course, Google will remove content when it’s legally required to do so. Laws vary from country to country, and Sullivan says the company holds itself to a high standard when it comes to meeting the legal requirements to remove pages from search results. The search engine giant relies on people and authorities to to report content that may need to be removed for legal reasons.

Reason two: Removing Content to Protect Users

Google may remove content, even when it’s not illegal. That could be because it contains financial or medical information, government-issued IDs, or intimate imagery published without consent. Google gives everyone the ability to request the removal of such content from search results. Pages that include contact information alongside personal threats may also qualify for removal.

“In these cases, while people may want to access these sites to find potentially useful information or understand their policies and practices, the pages themselves provide little value or public interest and might lead to reputational or even physical harm that we aim to help protect against.”

Interestingly, Google uses insights from removal requests to design systems that solve issues across all search results. Sullivan says that even when content is removed from Google, it may still exist on the web:

“Ultimately, it’s important to remember that even when we remove content from Google Search, it may still exist on the web, and only a website owner can remove content entirely. But we do fight against the harmful effects of sensitive personal information appearing in our results and have strict practices to ensure we’re complying with the law.”

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