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How Do I Remove My Name and Information from Google and YouTube?

Update: Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) has been rebranded to Google Search Console. Everything is exactly the same as it was before. Just a new name. The name was changed to be more inclusive since webmasters are just one of the many groups of people that use GWT.

Sometimes you find an article that has been written about you personally. Whenever you Google yourself and find something negative, it can be very distressing. Here’s an example of an experience that was shared with me recently:

I have deleted my Facebook account, but it still shows my name and username (which I used elsewhere) when you Google search for it.  On YouTube I also deleted my account, but comments that others made still come up with my name attached.  I desperately want to delete them, but I do not know how.  I am never getting on Facebook or YouTube again. I just want it all deleted – especially those comments with my name on them.

I asked them why they wanted to vanish from the Google index. I also asked what they might have done to put themselves in a situation where they needed to remove their information. I received an interesting reply:

I didn’t do anything really bad. I just replied to someone on YouTube in the video comments section.  He didn’t like my reply and found out my name.  I suspect it was from Facebook where I couldn’t hide or delete my email which included my username.  I guess I better be careful what I say on there – will everything there be copied and put on the internet too? I just don’t know what this is all about.  Anyways, I got my name deleted from the video comments section by contacting YouTube and the video uploader.  If it takes months to delete this from Google cache, that’s bad news for me.

This individual had two major issues at this point:

  1. From a marketing standpoint, this could really hurt their image. You always need to take quick action to resolve negative reviews about you and your company.
  2. On a personal level, they were also being harassed by the same person who found out their email address.

You need to always be aware that anything you put on the web could be used against you, whether it’s justified or not. The best way to help yourself is to be wary of what you put on the web to begin with. If you do find yourself in a situation like this individual’s, however, you do have some actions you can take.

Note: If you ever feel like you are in real physical danger, your first step should be to contact your local police.

Removing the Content from YouTube

Often times, your best bet is to contact the offender directly. Many times, people don’t realize that you have a problem with the content. However, if you don’t feel comfortable contacting them, or they do not respond to your request, you can take more formal action.

If you want to formally get the content removed, you need to fill out YouTube’s privacy complain form. In most cases, YouTube will contact the offending account. Don’t worry, they will keep your personal details private and the offender will not know you submitted the form.

Note, if your issue is that of copyright, you need to fill out a copyright complaint.

Removing a Page or Site From Google’s Search Results

If you need a page to be removed, then you need to get the webmaster to remove the page. Google is a search engine, but they do not actually control the content on the web, so they cannot remove the page. While Google can remove the page from search results, the page would remain accessible by other means, unless the webmaster removes the page. If you are the webmaster, you can do this with the URL removal tool in Webmaster Tools.

If you contact the webmaster and they do not remove the content you can use this tool to take legal action.

In either case, once the page has been removed, you can go here to get the content removed from search results – including snippets and the cache. If you want to keep images from appearing in a Google image search, go here.

Your Search Engine Presence

What you say will show up on Google if you post it on a web page, forum, or even a comment on a YouTube page. So in all keep in mind there are some crazy people out there that take things to the extreme. I have been tempted to write many things and I usually pull back and think “Do I want this comment associated with my name?” Always remember that removing your web presence can take a great deal of time and effort.

If you want to increase your web presence in order to rank ahead of negative reviews or content about you, you need to implement a good SEO strategy. A good SEO plan can help you or your company to stay above negative search results. If you need some clear cut advice on various SEO strategies or want to learn more about it, you can watch these videos.

Jamison Furr

About Jamison Furr

Jamison is a Marketing & Lead Generation Specialist for Boostability.com. His primary concern is understanding what customers actually want and need in order to provide them with real value. Jamison has worked in a variety of digital marketing areas - from social media to paid search. When he's not delving into the psyche of a customer, he loves playing basketball and writing music.
  • Josh

    “Do I want this comment associated with my name.” That is the question. I only hope that people will not let the fear of political, professional, or other forms of retaliation silence them from speaking out online about issues they feel are important (even if controversial). The realization that what is written or posted online is very hard to get rid of can be a powerful deterrent from doing stupid things, but it can also serve as a weapon in the hands of people of ill intent against those who simply have differing opinions about social or political issues of our day. I would be very interested to hear from others about what their views are on how to be true to yourself online without crossing those lines of stupidity. Catch 22 or delicate balance?

    • Jamison Michael Furr

      Very well put, @disqus_BkikKRpjfe:disqus. I think it is very important to still express your opinion and stand your ground on issues that you’re passionate about. I think one big key is whether your using a personal account or a business account, and if you are using a personal account, how strongly linked it is to the business.

      • Maria Williams

        I agree with both of you and I think is important that to keep in mind that if you use your business account it can affect your business. I believe that we have to be smart on what we say on the internet.

  • Dave Barrington

    One of the first lessons I learned when I started posting things online was “Don’t Feed the Trolls!” It’s sad that there are so many people out there who seem to have nothing better to do than mock, bully, and ridicule people who express an original thought. The said part is you never know when a troll will take a benign comment and make your life miserable. Thanks for a great set of tools for when all else fails!

    • Jamison Michael Furr

      Sometimes it’s even sadder to me that so many people feel the need to “feed the trolls” as you said. I mean, I get that it’s tempting, but people are kidding themselves if they think it’s going to have any kind of positive effect or change their minds.

  • Dave Barrington

    How to start a fight online:
    Step 1– Express an opinion.
    Step 2– Wait.

    • Caz*

      It often seems to be that way doesn’t it. Thankfully we don’t have a big problem with trolls here!

  • debbie kilpatrick

    I had an issue from my gf ex hubby slandering me online. It was bad and was keeping me from getting a job I think. I found a service that pushed it off of the first page. Cost me under 1000 bucks. I guess they can’t remove but can suppress it and push down to deeper pages. You can find them on google search of Arizona Website Experts.

  • Andrew Williams

    Good article Jameson, It is amazing how many people (trolls) sit on the internet all day, and get in fights and bash other people’s comments. Get a life! Am I right? I just ignore them even though I want to fight back. I don’t want to give them the satisfaction that they got under my skin.

  • Caz*

    I go back and forth with this all of the time. It would be so much better if I could run one account that any friend or coworker could see without any problem. While I have nothing to hide, I think the reason I keep a separate business account is primarily for my friends and family members who don’t want to constantly see me blabbing about how awesome Marketing is. :)