This post was most recently updated on February 19, 2024.
Do you like what you see when you type your name into Google Search? Or do you wish you could change your Google Search results?
The internet makes it possible to give us information within seconds. Unfortunately, that information is not always factual or a good representation of who you are.
Anyone online can publish anything for the public to see. If that content is about you, and the content is false, inaccurate, or damaging to your reputation, you need to fix it. (Yes, this is possible.)
So, how exactly do you fix it? Follow these steps for how to change Google Search results for your name.
Why Your Online Search Results Matter
Negative search results can have a surprisingly large impact on your life. Search engines have become a part of our everyday lives. In fact,Google processes 3.5 billion searchesevery single day. At some point, your name will be one of them.
People might Google you if you’re:
on dating apps
applying for a job or looking for freelance work
applying to college or a program
applying for an apartment
If a hiring manager, landlord, or even potential date searches your name, they could find damaging information. Now, you have a huge obstacle getting between you and what you want.
91.5% of all Google traffic stays on the first page of search results. What people see on the first page matters.
First impressions matter, especially when those impressions come from the first page.91.5% of Google traffic stays on the first page, with few people going to the second page.
If all of your negative content is on the first page, that’s the only thing most people will see. However, if your good content ranks on the first page, most people won’t see the negative.
Users also tend to make quick decisions when searching on Google. ThisSemrush study shows that 45.5% of desktop users and 33% of mobile users make decisions within 0-5 seconds.
A further 20% of desktop users and 18% of mobile users make decisions within 5-10 seconds. For you, this means you typically have 10 seconds at most to make a good first impression.
Most internet users make decisions within ten seconds when searching for something on Google.
So, good content about you better be on that first page of Google.
With a little bit of search engine optimization, you can actually change your Google results. This will help you push down negative content and bring up the positive. Here are the steps for how to do it.
Step-By-Step Guide To Change Your Google Search Results
To change or update results for your name, you can use the following steps:
Step 1: View Current Search Results
To change your results, you first need to know what you’re dealing with. Use these tips:
Use “incognito mode” in Google Chrome to see true results not tied to your account.
To go into incognito mode on Google, click on the three dots at the top-right of the screen. Then, click “New incognito window”.
Be sure to check Google search results, images, videos, and news tabs.
Keep a list of any results you find that damage your personal reputation.
Step 2: Fix What You Can Control
Once you’ve identified your negative results, remove what you can. Often, the easiest things to remove will be from your social media accounts.
Posts and images from social media do make their way to search results. You may find that an unflattering image from several years ago can still exist online.
Thankfully, removing social media posts from search results is pretty straightforward. You can either remove the content or un-tag yourself. If the post is on a friend’s profile, you can ask them to take it down.
Set your personal social media platforms to private. This will prevent your posts from appearing on Google.
Step 3: Create New Content
You can create new content as a way to suppress negative results. Creating fresh content that puts you in a good light can help push down negative content. Use these tips to create new content:
Create a personal website: Even if it’s a simple one-pager, a website is your best tool for publishing new content. Use SEO strategies to make sure your website ranks on the first page of Google. This way, you get to tell the world exactly who you are.
Add social media profiles: Make sure you have professional public profiles on social networking sites like LinkedIn and Twitter. You may want to consider more niche social media platforms like Pinterest and YouTube, depending on your personal brand.
Create personal profiles or pages: Create a Wikipedia page or find a website related to a hobby of yours. If the website allows for it, create a profile page.
Guest Posts: In addition to blogging on your personal website, offer to write guest blog posts for other websites. Guest posts often rank well in a search for your name.
When posting content, make sure to be consistent and create high quality content. Also, keep in mind that it takes time for Google to rank new content. It can take a few weeks before you see the new content appear in search result pages.
Step 4: Contact The Website Owner
In some cases, you can reach out directly to a website owner and ask them to remove the negative content. Websites usually have a contact form or email address for you to get in touch with them,
Explain to them why you want them to remove your information. Let them know it does not present you in the best light or that it reveals too much or inaccurate personal information. The key here is to be professional and friendly.
You won’t always be able to contact the website owner, and sometimes they are just unwilling to remove the content. This leads to the next tip:
Step 5: Contact Google Support
If the content violates Google policy or a local law, you can reach out to the support team for removal. Here’s how you can do that:
You can report content on Google if the content violates a Google policy or local law.
If Google does remove the source content, you must still remove it from search results. To do this, use theRemove Outdated Content tool. You have to request removal for the URL of each page/image that appears in results.
Step 6: Consider hiring a professional
Removing negative personal information from search results is possible. Taking a “do-it-yourself” approach can get you far. However, it can be difficult (and time-consuming) for an untrained beginner. It can be hard to know when you’re getting things right or where you may be going wrong.
If you’re struggling to get a handle on your online image, think about hiring a professional reputation management company. Here are some of the benefits:
Save time. Going through all these steps properly can be time consuming. Especially if you have a lot of negative search results. Outsourcing this labor gives you the freedom to focus on other things.
Get expertise. A reputation management company has the know-how to boost your positive content. An expert team understands the Google algorithm, how to write content, SEO strategies, review management, and more.
Get an honest assessment. If you’re trying to do this all by yourself, you might not be able to see the bigger picture. A neutral third party can tell you exactly what is going wrong and how to fix it.
Save money. If you run a business, negative reviews or press costs you money. Investing in reputation management will save you money in the long run.
Protect your privacy. A reputation management team will be able to find where your personal information is online. Then, they can use their tactics to remove or suppress it.
Reputation monitoring. An expert team knows that reputation management is not “one and done”. It takes both time and consistency. A reputation company will be able to consistently monitor for bad reviews, articles, or press.
Gain positive exposure. It isn’t enough to just look okay online these days. To further your career, get into college, or land a date, you want to look your best. Areputation management company can help you do that.
Conclusion: Changing Your Google Search Results
Changing your Google Search results may not be easy, but it is possible.
View your current search results to understand the problem. Then, you fix what you can control by taking down content and creating new content. Reach out to website owners and Google support for help. Then, you may consider hiring reputation management services.
By following these steps, you can put your reputation back in your hands.
Are you ready to land a new job, sign a new client, or score your first date?