How to Suppress Negative Search Results

Suppression is a form of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that involves building up and updating positive content in order to remove or suppress Google search results.

suppress negative search results

This page was most recently updated on May 22, 2024

Unwanted Google Search results can have serious consequences for both individuals and brands. Removing all negative content about you in search engine results pages (SERPs) is rarely possible. However, you can suppress the Google search results that you don't want people to see. In this blog post, you'll learn everything you need to know about how to suppress negative search results.

What is Search Engine Suppression?

Search engine suppression is a form of online reputation management (ORM) that essentially hides unwanted results about you. The ultimate goal is to push the content off the first page of search results and onto the 2nd page of Google (or further).

percentage of google traffic per page

The vast majority of organic traffic comes from the first page of Google Search results. All other pages beyond after page 1 only account for 7.1% of organic traffic. (Source: PollThePeople)

Results shown at the top of the Google search results page get the most visibility and clicks. However, most people do not click past the first page of results. So, if you can suppress negative results enough, most people will never see them. But how do you do this?

Basically, you have to create new, positive content, optimize it to rank, and publish it. Keep reading for a detailed breakdown of how to do this.

percentage of google traffic per result position

The first organic result on the first page of Google search results receives 31.24% of traffic. The percentage of traffic decreases dramatically after that, showing the importance of ranking highly on Google SERPs. (Source: PollThePeople)

How Suppressing Negative Search Results Benefits Your Reputation

Within seconds, Google shows users the information that best matches their query. But, what happens when someone searches for you (or your business) on Google? If they see anything negative, their ability to trust you decreases drastically in an instant.

No matter how hard you work to build your reputation, a negative result at the top of the SERP can bring it all down. This is where search engine suppression comes in. Here are some of the benefits:

  • create a positive first impression on employers, clients, potential customers, and more
  • instill confidence in your audience by showcasing your professionalism
  • control what people see about you and your brand
  • reduce the visibility of negative news articles, bad reviews, and social media posts
  • effectively recover from a personal reputation crisis
  • increase your chances of securing a job offer or advancing in your career
  • attract and retain customers for your business
  • enhance social proof by showcasing positive reviews, testimonials, and case studies
  • stand out in your industry and attract better opportunities

Why Can’t I Delete My Search Results? 

You can remove negative search results for anything that you posted yourself. Sometimes, you can even convince others to delete what they have posted about you. However, deleting every single result about you likely won't be possible. Here are a few reasons for this:

  • Freedom of speech and the press (except in cases of defamation, harassment, or privacy violations).
  • Results do not meet Google's criteria for removal or de-indexing. Search engines want to give an accurate representation of the internet. So, getting Google to remove the content can be difficult.
  • The website owner hosting the article refuses to delete it.
  • People spread the post/image/article to other platforms.
  • The content still exists on the Wayback Machine even after deletion.

For these reasons, completely getting rid of unwanted Google search results is nearly impossible. However, suppression is an effective strategy.

What Types Of Content Can You Suppress?

No matter what type of negative content you're dealing with, you can suppress it in SERPs. This includes:

How To Suppress Negative Google Results

No one wants to see bad things written about them or their business online. Thankfully, you can suppress information that doesn't accurately or positively reflect your brand. While suppression doesn't delete the results themselves, it stops most people from seeing them on SERPs to begin with.

Here are 7 steps to suppress negative Google search results:

Step 1: Identify search phrases that trigger negative results

First, you need to know what keywords and phrases bring up positive and harmful content about you. Follow these steps:

  • Use Google Incognito mode to avoid personalized results.
  • Perform a Google search using your full name, business/brand name, and common variations of them.
  • Check the first few pages of results and keep a list of the URLs of any negative coverage you find.
  • Look at the "Related Searches" and "People Also Ask" sections to find variations of key terms and common questions.
  • Analyze the titles, meta descriptions, and text of the positive and negative results. Identify any recurring keywords and keep a note of them.

Step 2: Optimize your existing positive content

After analyzing your results, it's time to optimize the content you already have ownership of. This will help suppress your negative results. Use these tips to start optimizing what you have right away:

  • Conduct an audit of your content. Make sure anything you do have is high-quality, as this will help it rank better.
  • Delete any unprofessional or controversial posts that do not positively reflect on you or your brand. 
  • Update any outdated information to make sure your content reflects who you are now. Your goal is to project a professional image of yourself.
  • Fully fill out all your social media profiles with up-to-date information.
  • Use professional pictures and write your bios in a way that reflects on you in a positive light.
  • Enhance your content with positive, relevant keywords (we'll get to more SEO tips below).

Step 3: Create new content

Creating new coverage is the key to burying negative search results because search engine algorithms prioritize fresh information. Plus, this will help you boost engagement, target more keywords, and attract new backlinks. You should start creating:

  • Personal/Professional Websites. Create a personal website with detailed pages or portfolios that showcase your work, achievements, and professional background. If you offer services, include testimonials and case studies.
  • Blogs. Blogging is a great way to build your personal brand. You can write about industry trends, educate your audience about topics that interest you, and more. Become a thought leader in your field by demonstrating your expertise.
  • Social Media Accounts and Posts. Create professional social media profiles on different platforms. Include keyword-rich bios and publish new posts regularly.
  • Guest Posts. Guest posting on high-authority websites puts your blogs in front of new audiences. Plus, it helps to drive new organic traffic to your site and build backlinks.
  • Press Releases. Issue press releases for any significant achievements, product launches, or other newsworthy events. Find a reputable press release distribution service to submit them to.

Step 4: Leverage SEO tactics to boost SERP visibility

Proper SEO reputation management techniques are the key to suppressing negative content. SEO boosts your website's traffic organically, without needing to pay for ads. Use these beginner-friendly tips:

  • Conduct keyword research with tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Ahrefs, and more. Find relevant keywords and focus on long-tail phrases with lower competition.
  • Improve your on-page SEO by making sure each page has a unique, keyword rich title tag. Write compelling meta descriptions, structure header tags properly, and write descriptive URLs.
  • Write high-quality content that incorporates keywords naturally. Positive content is more likely to rank online if it offers true value to readers.
  • Use internal linking to keep readers engaged and help search engines understand your site's structure.
  • Make sure your site is mobile-friendly with responsive design and fast load times.
  • Build backlinks by writing guest posts, collaborating with other creators, and sharing on social media. List yourself in relevant online directories to attract backlinks.
  • Improve your local SEO by optimizing your Google My Business profile.

A common misconception about search engine suppression is that it’s quick and easy. We won't lie to you, improving your online image takes time, effort, and attention to detail.

Some reputation management companies cut corners with black-hat tactics. However, the best results come from good writing and good SEO techniques.

Step 5: Promote your content on different platforms

Now that you have all these new web pages and social media profiles, it's time to link them all together. Promoting your content across platforms helps all your websites rank up together.

Linking all your sites together shows search engines that they all belong to you. This ensures that they are the first thing people see when they search your name online (rather than the negative coverage).

To promote yourself, share your blog posts on social media and engage with online communities. The more you engage, the more buzz you generate around your personal brand.

Step 6: Monitor and track your progress

Regularly tracking your performance allows you to make data-driven decisions and adapt your strategies for better results. Without regularly monitoring your key terms, you could miss opportunities to improve your online presence. Use these tips:

  • Set up a Google Alert to receive notifications about new mentions of you or your business.
  • Use Google Analytics to track traffic sources, user behavior, and engagement on your website.
  • Use Google Search Console to monitor your website's performance, keyword rankings, and technical issues.
  • Use social media listening to track mentions, shares, and engagement.
  • Regularly look up yourself/your business in Google Incognito mode to analyze your results. 
  • Fine-tune your strategies based on these insights.

Step 7: Maintain and update your content

Search engine suppression is not a "do it once and forget about it" method. Maintaining, updating, and publishing new content is critical to ensure your efforts remain effective in the long-term. Here are a few key reasons for this:

  • Search engines always want new content to understand that your site is still active and relevant.
  • Over time, information becomes outdated. Regular updates mean your website and blogs retain their value to readers, thus boosting its rankings.
  • Regular updates create an engaged audience who is more likely to share what you post. This leads to increased visibility and more backlinks.
  • Search engine algorithms change all the time. Updating your website with the latest best SEO practices is crucial to improve your rankings.

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How An Online Reputation Management Company Can Help You

If all this sounds like a lot, it is - especially when you're experiencing a reputation crisis. Effectively suppressing negative search results takes the right strategies along with consistent effort. That's where online reputation management (ORM) companies come in. They can create a holistic, customized strategy that includes these services:

  • professional website building
  • in-depth reputation analysis
  • strategic content creation
  • expert SEO strategies to suppress search results effectively
  • continuous monitoring and alerts
  • crisis management
  • review management

Your reputation deserves to be in the hands of professionals. When you need to suppress your negative search results, the team at Reputation911 is here for you. Contact us for a free consultation today.