One of the worst things that can happen to your digital reputation is a negative search result on the first page of Google. This could be a bad review, a negative news article, or unflattering personal information. It’s critical that you know how to remove search results from Google that could damage your online reputation. Investing in reputation management services can prevent these harmful articles from becoming permanent.
When you first notice the negative search result, it’s best if you don’t immediately react by leaving a comment or reaching out to the site owner in anger, all of which can make the situation worse. You also may not be able to contact Google. But there is plenty that you can do. Read on to learn how to remove negative search results from Google before they affect you or your company’s reputation.
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Tips to Remove Negative Search Results from Google
The most direct and permanent way to remove negative content from Google is to completely remove it from the internet. Eradicating the content means Google no longer has the negative result to display, and anyone who searches for your name won’t be able to find it. However, getting information removed from the internet is far easier said than done.
Links on the internet will fall under one of two categories: websites or profiles you own and control, and those that you don’t. Obviously, it’s much easier to remove links that you own — but chances are, if it’s a negative link, you don’t own it anyway. We’ll assume that any domains or websites you own are working to support positive search results for you or your business, as issues with your own website may point to bigger problems than a negative search result.
If you are concerned with negative Google results, connect with our team today to discuss our process.
How to remove negative content you control
For profiles that you own, such as a Yelp business page or social media profile, you can attempt to edit your profile so it portrays you or your business in a more positive light. Fill out the profile completely and truthfully with interesting, positive information, such as business or campaign updates. If you don’t think you can salvage the profile, it may be possible to completely delete the account and remove your presence from the site.
Still, this approach is not without risk. Some websites may allow you to remove your business account but the reviews will still remain. It may be better to maintain the account, address negative feedback and commit to earning great reviews.
Removing negative articles you don’t own
Chances are good that if you’re dealing with a negative article in the search results, it’s not on a page or website that you control. This means you’ll need to enlist professional counsel for help in getting negative content removed. This is the most effective approach, as removing a page completely from the internet is better than removing it from Google or burying it under other search results.
First, you can try contacting the website owner by email, but do so under professional advisement to ensure you don’t cause any additional harm. Whatever your approach, be polite and personal. It’s also important to understand that you may be completely ignored: website owners may not be sympathetic, or not even see your email at all.
Removing bad reviews
You may be able to remove Google reviews that violate the company’s guidelines. Google and other trusted sites value honesty and integrity, so they might be willing to address fake reviews if you provide enough evidence to support your claim.
On the other hand, you may find it nearly impossible to remove Ripoff Reports from Google. Ripoffreport.com states that they won’t delete negative reviews, so you’ll need to invest in a reputation management program to push these complaints down in your search results.
Get help from Google and legal authorities
For certain cases of sensitive or false information, you can get help from Google and legal authorities.
Google’s policy allows for the removal of certain sensitive information, including financial information or identification numbers that may put you at risk for identity theft or financial fraud. Google also removes or hides certain offensive images and videos. You may also be able to have Google remove content that violates the law from search results.
If you have information that falls under Google’s removal policies, it’s a good idea to reach out to the search engine for help, again under professional counsel. However, keep in mind that removing the content from Google is not the same thing as removing it from the internet: the page will still exist, and the link can still be shared.
You may also want to look into laws that can help you stop online defamation. However, keep in mind that a lawsuit or legal action may only serve to draw more attention to the link that you’d like to get rid of, or generate new negative content about the same topic.
Nothing can ever be completely deleted from the internet
Throughout your removal process, keep in mind that the internet, in many ways, “never forgets.” In other words, if the page has existed on Google, there’s a good chance it’s been archived on the Wayback Machine, or cached by the search engine. Even if you’ve had it removed, content never really leaves the internet. Still, only the most persistent searcher is likely to look that deeply to find information about you or your business, so if you’re able to have the page removed from the internet or the search results, it’s likely sufficient in terms of protecting your online reputation.
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Push Down Negative Search Results on Google
In order to eradicate negative content from the internet or Google search results, it must be extremely sensitive or slanderous information, or the website owner happens to be accessible and willing to help, which is unlikely if they published it in the first place. It’s nearly impossible to get content removed completely.
Moving negative content deep in the search results is another possibility, which will significantly reduce its visibility and impact on your reputation.
Why First Impressions Matter on Google
Statistics have shown as many as 95% of internet users don’t bother scrolling past the first page of search results. What’s more, the first five search results get more than 75% of the clicks. Negative search results appearing near the top of the first page are so detrimental. If you can push them down where most people won’t see them, you can minimize the impact of negative content.
False accusations appearing online aren’t just embarrassing; they can also ruin a CEO’s reputation and affect the entire company. Therefore, reputation management services for individuals may benefit executives as well as their businesses.
Bury Negative Search Results with Fresh, Positive Content
The main concept behind supressing negative search results is to create authoritative content that’s good enough to outrank them, which is best done under the advisement of a professional team. The following are common methods for outranking bad results with positive results:
Set up social profiles: Social media profiles often rank very well on search engine results. Having your personal or business name on social media is an easy way to win one of the top spots on Google. Be sure to get on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn at a minimum. We can also help you set up other resources and profiles that make sense for your industry (i.e., local resources, government sites, university domains, etc.)
Maintain active accounts: Typically, the more profiles you can set up, the better. But it’s best to only sign up for as many social media profiles as you can reasonably maintain: active profiles are better than dormant ones for your general positive reputation. Acquire plenty engaged followers and connections, and genuinely build a community on your social profiles. Participate in the network to make your profile stronger.
Own your domain: Register domain names that match your name and business and their variations, as exact keyword phrases will do best on Google. If that’s not available, get as close to it as you can. Add fresh, unique content on a regular basis.
Start a blog: Start and maintain a professional blog on your domains. Blogs provide an efficient way to give Google the fresh content it values. Where possible, create and share multimedia content on your blog (and your social channels), as Google has been known to cater to this type of content.
Optimize your content: Search engine optimization (SEO) improves the visibility of your content. If you don’t have a team or you’re looking to upgrade to enterprise SEO, ask us how we can help. Search engine reputation management is much more than public relations, and should be executed by a team of experts.
Be an expert: Show your industry expertise and get rewarded with a high ranking search result by writing an article for an authoritative news site or industry blog. These websites usually earn top placement in search results. If you can get your name on their website with a great article, you’ll likely be able to take over a coveted spot in the results and build your online reputation.
Write a press release: Have your PR team write about newsworthy things that are happening for your business or other high-profile ventures.
Use your real name — everywhere: It’s a good idea to use your real, full name on all of the websites you’re using – including blogs and social profiles. Just keep in mind that you should always be on your best behavior online.
Link and share: One way Google knows that certain pages or websites are more important or relevant than others is by the number of links that point to them. To ensure you avoid dangerous link schemes or black hat tactics, make sure you’re working with a reputable reputation management company.
Monitor for new results: Maintaining your reputation is long term strategy. Enlist the help of a team that offers 24/7 monitoring and consultation.
It Takes Time – Start Now!
The sooner you invest in reputation management the better. Google search results are one of the first places anyone will look when researching you. Protect your reputation and work to own your search results. Contact our team today!