Occasionally we get questions about why a particular webpage or site has disappeared from Google's search results in Australia.

First, it's important to remember that our search results are generated objectively and are independent of the beliefs and preferences of those who work at Google. We view the comprehensiveness of our search results as an extremely important priority, both in terms of the user's experience as well as protecting freedom of speech. Accordingly, we do not remove a page from our search results simply because its content is unpopular or because we receive complaints about it.

We will, however, remove pages from our results if we believe the page (or its site) violates our Webmaster Guidelines. This most often happens when a website is using unfair methods to try to appear higher in the search rankings. Common guideline violations include cloaking (writing text in such a way that it can be seen by search engines but not by users) or setting up pages/links with the sole purpose of fooling search engines and manipulating search engine results. When a webmaster has fixed the site to meet our guidelines, they can then ask for re-inclusion. We will also remove a site from our search results upon request from the webmaster who is responsible for it.

In addition, we will remove search results which link to website pages if we believe we are required to do so by applicable law. We believe in being transparent about this process, and provide notice in our search results when we have removed URLs in response to a legal request. In their place is a link to chillingeffects.org, which catalogues these removals as well as the legal ground for the removal, e.g. a court decision or a decision by a governmental authority. Anyone can request this type of removal by contacting us. Note that we receive many types of related requests--some part of valid legal process, some not--so we do need to take time to evaluate each request.

It's also important to remember that in the decision of removal, we only remove the specific URLs that have been provided in the request--we do not go about policing the Internet to decide what content should or should not be there.