We live in an age, where you may encounter a situation that warrants hiding something on Google, or learning how to “UnGoogle” yourself, for personal or professional reasons. Although it is not always a hassle-free process, it is certainly possible to achieve your desired result by learning how to ‘UnGoogle’ yourself, or mask the unwanted online entry.
Earlier today, a friend of mine here in North Carolina called me condemning the most popular search engine also known as Google. In the midst of his complaining, he asked for advice on how to UnGoogle himself. We will pretend his name is John C. Smith. When you Google his full name (which in real life is not a super common name), he pops up on the first page of Google. Awesome right?
On the first page of Google search, you also glimpse a person with the same name in North Carolina (including the middle name), who happens to have an extensive criminal record with the Department of Correction. Unfortunately, if you are a business owner with a solid reputation, this is not something you want a client to mention he found after using Google to research you online.
This leads any business owner to want to discover how to UnGoogle the other guy, or himself. The other guy’s public profile with the Department of Correction indicates he is a convicted felon, with a lengthy criminal record in NC who is a few years younger than my friend. If you do not know my friends exact age, you would probably assume the men are one in the same.
If you want to know how to UnGoogle yourself, various options exist for changing the page rank of desirable content, or the existence of the undesirable page (depending on the circumstances).
Change Your Username
Around the world, numerous people have countless social networking accounts with public profiles listed under the same name. The best tip on figuring out how to UnGoogle Yourself is avoid using your real name on social networking sites, or anything close to it. Although you want your family and friends to find you on Facebook, MySpace, Digg etc. avoid using your real name, unless you have a brand or business associated with it, because people will find you online. On most sites changing your username is a simple process. After changing your username, it will take Google a while to crawl, but the information will soon update in the search engine UnGoogling yourself.
On social networking sites where it is permissible, create separate accounts – one for business and one strictly for personal use.
Always remember to turn on the privacy option, unless you want the world to see your profile updates and photos. In situations where you opt to use your full name, and you have online “friends” you know socially, professionally, etc, make sure your online interactions are all kept on a respectable level. These tips will help you to avoid any seriously awkward moments later, and the need to UnGoogle yourself.
To UnGoogle yourself, you can remove the content from the web on your own, or contact the site administrator and have him add robots, to block crawler access to the directory. According to Google, “To remove content (including a snippet, title, page content, or an entire URL or site) from search results, the site owner-whether it’s you or somebody else-has a few options. The site owner can remove the concerning information from the page, take the page down from the web entirely, or indicate that Google shouldn’t crawl or index the page. There are varying requirements depending on the type of content you want to remove.” Once the changes are performed and Google crawls the site again, the content will go away but you will need to make sure, the cached version is also handled properly. You have learned how to UnGoogle yourself. Read detailed instructions from Google on this entire process Here.
If you are currently on page 1 of Google, and you have a common name like John C. Smith avoid giving up your position, because you are quite lucky to have it. In my friend’s situation, I suggested that he create content to push the felon’s info back to page 2, 3 or anywhere into oblivion. I was certainly not encouraging him to use spam, but I did encourage him to get more information about himself on the web. You can always influence your Google ranking positively or negatively, based upon the amount of content available on the web. In my friend’s situation, he only has a business website online. He refuses to make use of any social networking sites, (which I have certainly advised him to use to increase his own business potential) or anything beyond his website, and traditional advertising methods unrelated to the web.
The ideal course of action would involve him opening a Twitter account, blog etc. and linking to his main website. An additional option worth pursuing is contributing quality articles online as an industry expert, to a site like Associated Content or Ezine Articles. Doing this will provide him with additional content online about himself. Aside from providing expert information to potential clients and marketing his business, writing articles will aid in moving the less popular NC Department of Correction page, for this specific felon toward the back in page rank. By creating more relevant content about himself that is pertinent to his business, my friend would in effect UnGoogle the criminal with his name.
Always make sure the cached version is removed as well. Read about doing this on Google Here.
Additional tips on “How to UnGoogle Yourself” on WikiHow Here.
Remove a page or site from Google’s search results