Whether you are a business, brand, or individual, it is essential to know how to remove negative feedback or content from search results to maintain or restore a positive online reputation.
Why is Removing Negative Search Results so Important?
When negative content shows up about you or your business online it starts to associate you with those negative keywords and reviews. If Google starts to see users clicking and having interest in the bad stuff more then the good it will rank it higher up in your search results making it the first thing people see.
Whether it is something as simple as a grammatically incorrect blog post made in the comments section of a blog or a news article that connects you to a crime, you will want to remove negative content before it leads to a business reputation crisis and a false representation of your brand.
How do I Find my Online Reputation?
Everything we post online leaves behind a footprint – tweets, likes, posts, reviews, articles, blogs, pictures, videos – you name it, it’s there, and it adds up quickly when calculating your online reputation score.
For successful professionals, both personal and business, having a clean and honorable online reputation can help you gain career opportunities, network effectively, get new clients, open your doors to new connections, and ensure a spotless brand that can take your success to the next level.
Understanding Google Search Results
If someone who knew nothing about you did a quick Google search, would they want to hire you? Would any personal information pop up that might stop them from trusting your business? Maybe it might even be something as simple as a first date, would they be apprehensive about calling you back after seeing a questionable search result that might have ended up being fake news all along?
When someone has a question, they’re most likely going to Google. Google is the single most popular search engine in the world, with an 81.5% market share overall competition.
What they see when they Google you or your business or brand, your first page of results, truly matters regarding your reputation and success.
What to do when your name has negative search results on Google
So you typed your name into Google, hit enter, and saw some results that might cause you to feel anxious and confused. Negative results may not always be so obvious, so check your image results and the sites they are linked to ensure they don’t have outdated content on them.
Negative Search Results that Might Cause Red Flags:
Distasteful social media content
Negative online reviews or complaints
Defamatory articles or posts
News stories involving legal issues
Graphic or exploitive content
Sometimes things we post online come back to bite us far after their initial posting date. Content online can be misconstrued, misunderstood, and blown out of proportion. Like a forest fire, it can start with one negative content piece or article and multiply without warning, eating up your entire first page of Google search results.
On average, over 75% of Google users find their answer on the first page of search results. If you are an individual or business trying to grow your success, you can imagine how important it is to fill that page with the best links to prove your trust and honorability to that individual behind the screen.
There are specific guidelines when posting various types of content that Google will not tolerate. If this is the case, it is the publisher’s duty to remove the content themselves immediately, which also puts them at risk for a compliance review, link and account disabling, account suspension, and ad disapproval across their entire site.
Content that Google will not tolerate:
Spam and fake content
Sexually explicit content
Dangerous & Derogatory Content
Conflict of Interest
How To Remove Negative Content From Search Results
If the links in your results pages have no legal dispute, you might actually be in luck. Your situation might have just gotten a lot easier!
A few simple tricks help you completely erase negative information from search results. Here’s a step-by-step process that details how you can remove negative content from Google searches.
1. Ask the Publisher Directly for a Removal Request
Any link you find through a search engine comes from an outside website. That outside website is called the publisher. If Google won’t remove it for you, your first step toward removing negative online content is to ask the publisher to lend you a helping hand and remove it for you.
Click the link of the search result you would like to remove from Google, find a contact number or email on their website for a web publisher or writer, and explain your removal request. Make sure to keep your interaction polite and direct with supporting evidence.
Sometimes, we’re our own worst enemy – you might even be the publisher. Go over all of the websites and social media accounts you own and remove any text, images, links, posts, tweets, etc., that might be framing you in a bad light.
You’re not the first to overshare, and you won’t be the last, so don’t be too critical of yourself if this is the case. This is a good rule of thumb to consistently improve your reputation score and clean up your online search results.
4. Hire a professional to remove the negative content
Removing negative search engine results and outdated content is possible, but it can be difficult for an untrained beginner.
Reputation management companies will take your online reputation seriously, employing a full team of trained professionals to remove negative reviews and content for complete removal from your search results. If needed, they can also use suppression by crafting content driven by the most effective SEO and optimization efforts to get you the results you need to succeed.