The Internet is Forever – But Not Always
Today, a simple Google search of your business name will show all the available information, including those you’d rather not showcase to the public. These search results are now the equivalent of a first impression, and as we all say, first impressions last.
Unflattering or downright malicious content can make or break you, your brand or business. It’s one thing to find negative or critical feedback but another if it’s totally unjustifiable and even libellous in nature.
If you found your search results to be less than pleasing and you want to remedy the situation, you may not know where to even start. In this article, we’ll guide you through tips and links that will help you.
Removing or deleting these search results from Google is no way as easy as posting them online. As the recent saying goes, “the internet is forever” but don’t lose hope just yet. Although tedious and sometimes even futile, there are proven ways to remove or de-index Google search results.
- Contact the webmaster
- Report to Google if the content is in violation of its terms and policies
- Take legal action
- Suppress, drown out or push down the negative search results
- Seek Help
CONTACT THE WEBMASTER
Google is only a search engine and not a host of online content. This means that information you want removed is in a website owned or controlled by a webmaster. The original author of the defamatory or malicious content may be the webmaster himself or one of his website’s users. However, please make sure that you are not exacerbating the situation. If the webmaster themselves have something against you personally then it may not be the best solution.
In any case, the first step is to try to have the content removed from its source. To do so, locate the “Contact Us” button or link in the website. Usually, the business name or owner is listed along with the physical address and other contact information. Write or call the webmaster directly regarding your request.
If the webmaster is open and willing to communicate with you, you may request the following options:
- Delete the content or page entirely
- Remove the search phrases related, linked or pertaining to you or your business. This option will not remove the content in the website but it will no longer show up in Google search results.
- Ask that the content be de-indexed. This means that the webmaster will tag the page or content as “NOINDEX”. This option will also not remove the content but will make search engines skip or ignore the page.
REPORT TO GOOGLE TO REMOVE CONTENT
If you’d rather not deal with the webmaster or they are not open to communicate. Going directly to Google is the next step. Under specific conditions, Google agrees to remove some types of content, only if the content violates their own Terms of Service and community guidelines. These contents are flagged as unlawful. These are the following but not limited to,
- Personal Information or doxxing content
- Sexually explicit and non-consensual content, photos or information. Click here.
- Copyrighted content. Trademark violations, sites with malware or phishing software. Click here.
- Sites with exploitative removal practices or those that require payment for negative content removal.
- Outdated content
Click on the provided links for step by step instructions.
Please take note that Google “removing” these content does not mean they are removed from the source. Google has no power or authority over websites. Google will simply remove them from its search results. Access to the content will no longer be displayed by Google but they can still be found or seen again if you go to the website directly.
TAKE LEGAL ACTION
If the content you wish to have removed from Google search does not go against any of the listed policies but it is damaging to you and your reputation, you may have to acquire the services of a lawyer or law firm who specializes in defamation law.
The lawyer needs to assess whether you have any legal claims. If you do have legal standing and grounds to sue, and still the original author, website or its webmaster refuses to remove the content, a cease and desist letter or court order may be sent to their listed address.
SUPPRESS, DROWN OUT OR PUSH DOWN THE NEGATIVE SEARCH RESULTS
If you haven’t done so already, take control and manage your own online profiles. Build traffic by publishing posts, updates or products on your page. Ask clients to write reviews and their personal experiences,To effectively suppress search results, you must create better sources that users are more likely to check on. For example, your business listing on Google Maps and Facebook will show up at the top of your search results as they are the most popular online platforms. These platforms are given priority over personal blogs or local news articles. The idea is to keep creating new and positive content to literally push the bad press to the next page, where users are unlikely to check.
SEEK HELP WITH REMOVE DIGITAL
The Remove Digital team is the best in the business with the proven track record of providing successful results in every facet of online reputation management. We help businesses defend their brand by delivering proactive content removal and online reputation management services. If you don’t have the time to follow or do all the suggestions above or you just want to entrust your business to professionals, contact us at [email protected] to learn more.