Reputation Management: How to Push Down Negative Search Results on Google
There are many wonderful things about living in the age of the internet: instant connectivity, access to practically infinite information, and the ability to keep in touch with people almost anywhere in the world are just a few of the many benefits of this incredible technology.
However, one of the major downsides is that anything you post on the internet can stay there practically forever. One false step and suddenly any Google search for your name could potentially show future employers, for instance, some seriously unflattering or negative material. This may leave you wondering how to remove or push down negative content from your Google searches.[trx_button type=”square” style=”global” size=”big” fullsize=”no” color=”#1765ed” link=”https://calendly.com/4pointdigital/” target=”_blank” popup=”no”]Schedule A Free Consultation[/trx_button]
Push them down by setting up as many public profiles for yourself as you can
Public profiles on big-name websites will typically rank more highly than any negative and unflattering search results you might currently be dealing with. After all, if you can’t delete them, the next best thing is to bury them on the last pages of your name’s Google search results, where people are highly unlikely to be looking. (Almost no one looks past the second page of search results.) For any of these profiles, it’s important that you have them set so that they’re publicly viewable, and therefore show up in any listings.
You can even make an extra effort to set up these profiles so that they’re a positive reflection of you and your interests. Use good grammar, spelling, and punctuation, and be sure that anything you post is something you’d be happy with everyone being able to see, both friends and employers. In essence, anything you post on these profiles should be a reflection of your best and most professional self.
Also, try to keep these profiles as active as possible. Having signs of current engagement makes these profiles a much more positive influence on your overall reputation.
Here are some websites where you can easily create high-ranking public profiles (a great start):
If you link to all your other profiles on these individual profiles, they’re even more likely to show up high in Google search results. That’s among the key methods that Google uses to decide to rank certain sites more highly: if many different sites post links to a site, that’s taken as evidence that it’s worth listing among its top search results. You can take advantage of this by interlinking your social media and public profiles as much as possible. This way, you’ll suppress negative search results quite effectively.
Make a domain name for your name
It’s almost always a great idea to have your own website, whatever field you happen to be in. Here, you can showcase your portfolio of work, positive reviews, have a blog, and convey an overall image of professionalism and high quality work.
In addition to the standard benefits of having a website, having a domain name that contains your full name will mean another potentially high-ranking search listing—one you can customize entirely to your liking. This is a great way to gain greater control over your online reputation, and with its other included benefits, it’s almost a no-brainer. Be sure to share all your various social media profiles on your website as well.
In order to maximize the ranking of your website in your Google search results, be sure to incorporate SEO (search engine optimization) as you’re creating it. This article in Entrepreneur offers a quick and easy checklist as a way to get started with SEO for your website.
Comment on articles/blog posts
One way to get your name out there in a positive light is to use your real, full name as a commenter on various popular blogs and news websites. This way, not only can you create even more search results to help bury the negative content you’d like to hide, but you can also positively reflect your own perspective and make yourself look even better to potential searchers.
As you do this, it’s especially important to ensure that all of your comments are the best possible reflection of yourself. This means they should be polite, well-written, and not too controversial. (After all, if you’re unable to delete the comment, you don’t want it to be something else that you’ll regret in five years.)
Ask Google to take down links/content about you: four different options
Wondering how to remove negative information from the internet?
1) A 2014 EU court ruling states that people have the “right to be forgotten” on the internet, so Google was forced to allow users to request that links to personal information be taken down. You can submit the request using this online form. In the process, you have to submit a fair amount of information, including your name, address, and a form of photo ID. However, since this was a European ruling, if you’re located in the United States or in any other countries, this avenue might be less effective.
2) You can also try using Google’s URL Removal Tool. This applies only in specific situations. It’s on option when you’ve altered or deleted the unwanted content from a site (say, an old MySpace profile), but Google is still showing it in their search results. This can happen because sometimes search results take a while to update and become current.
3) If the material that you want removed is something that could potentially be in violation of the law, you can also request that Google remove it here: Legal Removal Requests.
4) Finally, if the content is very serious, is defamatory, and you think it’s worth the effort to do so, you can reach out for professional legal help. Obviously, this is going to be an option that is not affordable for everyone. Additionally, the content that you’re concerned about actually has to adhere to the legal definition of “defamation” in order for you to have a case. Here’s the Digital Media Law Project’s definition of a defamatory statement: “A false statement of fact that exposes a person to hatred, ridicule, or contempt, causes him to be shunned, or injures him in his business or trade. Statements that are merely offensive are not defamatory.” In this case, you might choose to talk to an attorney who has experience dealing with First Amendment and defamation issues.
These methods may or may not work, but there are some ways to potentially remove negative content from Google.
As frustrating as this can be, there are ways to remove negative content about you from Google searches. Be methodical, and it’s very likely that you’ll improve your Google search results so that not only are they no longer negative, but they’re even a positive representation of you and your brand.