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How to Remove Ads from Google Search Results

May 7, 2024

After getting bombarded by personalized ads, I made it my mission to learn how to remove ads from Google Search results. Read on to find out what I’ve learned.

How to Remove Ads from Google Search Results 

The only reliable way to stop seeing ads in Google Search results is to install an ad blocker. 

Ad-blocking software can block many types of ads, including those on Google Search, and there are many free or low-cost options available.

Be aware, however, that not every ad blocker will block ads on Google Search. 

For example, when I used AdBlock, I continued to see ads in Google Search results, but when I switched to uBlock Origin, they were effectively blocked. 

uBlock origin in action

If you opt for this route, do some research to ensure the ad blocker you’re thinking of installing blocks ads on Google Search. 

If you don’t want to install an ad blocker, or if that method doesn’t work for you, you can also try the following. 

Use a different search engine 

Some search engines, like DuckDuckGo and Brave, focus on user privacy and do not show personalized ads or track your search activity, meaning you don’t have to be concerned about personalized advertising. 

Brave search results for chocolate cookies

DuckDuckGo, Brave, and similar search engines that bill themselves as being “more private” still display ads in their search results based on the keywords you search for. 

However, if you’re used to Google, these search engines might not return the results you’re used to seeing. 

For instance, one reviewer who switched from Google to DuckDuckGo found that it was far less effective at helping him piece together results for which he didn’t have a clear search query. He attributed this to an inferior algorithm that isn’t as clever at interpreting search inputs.

Other privacy-focused search engines are working on actively improving their search algorithm capabilities, such as Swisscows, which relies on Microsoft Bing’s search index but uses advanced semantics-based artificial intelligence to improve its results. That said, some reviewers have pointed out that some data (such as your IP address) is still logged when using Swisscows.

Adjust ad settings (to stop seeing personalized ads) 

As an alternative, you can adjust your Google ad settings to continue using the world’s most popular search engine while seeing less personalized ads on Search and across all of Google’s services. 

To change your ad settings on Google, follow these steps:

  1. Go to My Ad Center on Google and sign in if needed.
  2. On the upper right side of the screen, you’ll see a drop-down menu next to “Personalized Ads.”
  3. Click on the drop-down menu and switch it to “Off.”
  4. You’ll see a popup window advising you of the advantages of personalized ads. Click “Turn off” at the bottom. 
  5. That’s it! You’ll see a second popup window stating that it could take a while for the change to take effect.

Your Ad Center should now look like this:

Google Ad Center - personalized ads are off

According to Google’s Ad Center Help, when you turn off personalized ads, the information/activity saved in your account won’t be used to determine what ads to show you. Instead, the ads you see will be based on general factors like the topic of the website you’re visiting or the time of day. 

Subscribe to Google premium where available

Google offers premium versions of some of its services, such as YouTube Premium, which removes ads from YouTube videos. 

YouTube Premium

However, there isn’t a direct Google Search premium service that removes ads from search results.

The Best Way to Remove Ads 

The best way to remove ads on Google Search and elsewhere on the web is to install an ad blocker. Make sure to get one that blocks ads on Google Search – not all of them do. uBlock is a good option, but do your own research to ensure it suits you. 

Something to note is that just because you stop seeing ads (or personalized ads, at least), that doesn’t mean your personal data is not being sold to advertisers. In fact, data brokers (such as Whitepages, Spokeo, and Intelius) are actively harvesting your data and selling it to third-party advertisers for a minimal fee. 

Fortunately, you can opt out of data brokers to prevent them from collecting and selling your personal information. 

Unfortunately, you will need to opt out of every data broker with a profile on you, and you’ll most likely have to repeat the process, as data brokers are notorious for reactivating accounts when new information about you is uncovered online. 

As an alternative, you can subscribe to a data removal service such as DeleteMe to handle the opt-out process for you and reduce the likelihood of your personal information being used to target you with ads. 

Laura Martisiute is DeleteMe’s content marketing specialist. Her job is to help DeleteMe communicate vital privacy information to the people that need it. Since joining DeleteMe in 2020, Laura h…

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