Danny Sullivan Explains Two Reasons For Content Removal From Search Results
SEO content creators make compelling and trustworthy content to attract readers, which in turn boosts their site traffic and brand visibility on the search engine results pages (SERPs). However, Danny Sullivan, Google’s Search Liaison, recently explained that there are times when their system removes published content from the search results, and for good reason. This information is crucial to SEO content writing as it lets writers know how to prevent their content from getting removed from the SERPs.
Google reiterates though that removing content from the search results is not something that they take lightly. Even websites that use black hat SEO techniques are not permanently de-indexed, despite violating Google’s rules.
According to Sullivan, their goal is to provide users with open access to information, but they do remove content for two reasons: to comply with the law or protect the readers.
Complying With The Law
Sullivan says that the search engine company has a high standard to meet when legal requirements enter the picture. They remove content from the search results if it does not comply with legislation, such as if an article goes against privacy and defamation laws. These rules, however, vary from one country to another.
Most of the time, Google cannot detect law-breaking content alone. Instead, it depends on readers and the authorities to report any kind of content that they think should be removed for legal reasons. Anyone can fill out a form and send Google a request to remove any law-breaking content. The search engine company will then review this request and further investigate whether the content meets the legal requirements for removal.
Once it has proven that the content goes against the law, Google will inform the website owner about the removal request.
Sometimes, published content is removed even if it doesn’t go against the law, such as if it contains highly personal information without consent. Such content may include government-issued IDs, medical or financial information, and even intimate imagery.
Google highly encourages users to send a request for the removal of these types of content. If such personal information falls into the wrong hands, it could potentially cause a lot of harm. People can also submit a request if they find information about themselves on websites with exploitative removal policies. Pages that contain a person’s contact information along with personal threats may also qualify for removal.
When investigating content for removal, Google evaluates first whether the potential harm that it might cause outweighs the value it gives its readers.
Removing webpages from SERPs does not scale to the entire open web, but Google does use insights from the reader’s request to design systems that can solve problems across all search results.
For instance, if a site has a lot of valid content removal requests because it violates copyright law, then Google will minimise the chances of that site appearing in the search results altogether. The same is applied to sites that get content removal requests due to published personal information without consent.
Despite all this, Sullivan reminds everyone that even though they remove a particular piece of content from Google’s SERPs, it could still exist on the web. Only a website owner has the authority to unpublish the content entirely. Nevertheless, Google is working hard to prevent content containing personal information from appearing in the search results and are enforcing stricter practices to comply with the law.
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