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Google FAQ/Q&A

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Before you submit a question or comment, please browse through this FAQ and Q&A page. Many common questions are answered here.

Your question may also be answered in the Google Help Center. (Note that Google Guide is not part of Google Inc.)

Clearing “remembered” Google searches

Q:When I enter a Google search query, my previous queries appear in a drop-down list. How can I erase that list?

A:The history is probably being maintained by your web browser program, not by Google. How you clear the list depends on which browser you’re using. Here are some suggestions from Google.

My site is low-ranked in Google

Q:My website isn’t near the top of the result page (anymore). What’s wrong / what changed / what can I do?

A: The Web is huge and always-changing. New websites come online and old websites are updated. Scammers keep trying to fool Google into giving them a high PageRank, and Google is constantly fighting back. As we explain in How Google Works, Google refines its page-ranking system as it crawls the Web over and over. Your search ranking depends on many factors, including when Google crawled your site and when it crawled your competitors. If your site has a lot of competitors, your ranking may change suddenly — even if your site hasn’t changed.

To get a high page ranking, make an excellent site and have other high-quality sites make links to yours. There’s more about site design in our category Developing a Website. Google’s Webmaster Help Center has lots of useful information. Also consider hiring an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) expert — for example, NetConcepts (who helped Google Guide move to our new blog system and optimize it).

Google Guide isn’t in the business of optimizing websites, and we can’t offer more help than this. Good luck, and keep trying!

Removing/updating information

Q:I searched for my name in Google, and it returned old / private / incorrect information about me. How can I fix that?

Q:The Google cache is showing some old information from my website. How can I make Google show the latest version?

A:If there’s information about you on any website anywhere, chances are that Google will find it. Once Google finds information, it may cache that text/image/video/etc. for quite some time before it’s refreshed.

The best way to prevent private information from appearing in Google is to avoid putting it anywhere on the Web. That includes asking any companies and government agencies not to release information about you online. If you have control of the website with the information, add a robots.txt file, use a NOARCHIVE meta tag on each page you don’t want cached, or — for the greatest privacy — password-protect the pages if your web server allows that. Also see How can I prevent content from being indexed or remove content from Google’s index?.

If Google has already cached information, you can ask Google to remove content from its index — but remember that other search engines (such as Yahoo!) may also have the information online.

To update information in Google’s index, the best thing to do is to wait for Googlebot (Google’s spider / crawler) to re-visit that page on your site. How long you’ll need to wait depends on your site’s popularity.

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This page was last modified on: Tuesday April 10, 2007

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For Google tips, tricks, & how Google works, visit Google Guide at www.GoogleGuide.com. Google Guide is neither affiliated with nor endorsed by Google.

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By Nancy Blachman and Jerry Peek who aren't Google employees. For permission to copy & create derivative works, visit Google Guide's Creative Commons License webpage.

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