Whether it is something as simple as a grammatically incorrect 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 you 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 anything 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 to call you back after seeing a questionable search result that might just have ended up being fake news all along?
What they see when they Google you or your business or brand, your first page of results truly matters when it comes to 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so obvious, so make sure to check your image results as well as the sites they are linked to make sure they don’t have outdated content on them.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 end up coming back to bite us far after their initial date of posting. Content online can be misconstrued, misunderstood, and blown out of proportion. Like a forest fire, it can start with one negative article and grow quickly 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 truly important it is to fill that page with the best links to prove your trust and honorability to that individual behind the screen.
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!
There are a few simple tricks to help you erase negative information from search results completely. Here’s a step-by-step process that details how you can remove negative content from Google searches.
1. Ask the Publisher Directly with 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, you have a shot at asking the publisher to lend you a helping hand.
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 follow to consistently improve your reputation score and clean up your online search results.
3. Suppress and bury negative search results
Instead of trying to remove content, can also try your hand at suppressing negative search results by implementing positive content. You can do this by making your own website, creating a blog, making new social media accounts, and even submitting your own press releases.
Optimized links, sites, and posts with effective SEO will hopefully rank higher than your negative search results, ultimately suppressing them from the first page of Google.
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.