How to Remove Negative Information from Google
As the world’s largest search engine, it’s no surprise that Google poses a significant threat to those trying to prevent negative information about their company being found on the internet.
Because their main objective is to identify all information relevant to its user’s search queries, Google won’t attempt to determine whether their results are wrong or harmful to someone’s reputation. Unfortunately, this makes it extremely difficult to prevent the search engine from returning negative results.
Negative search results can have a hugely damaging impact on an organization. They can put your company’s reputation at risk and ultimately affect your bottom line, while making it difficult to attract new staff or operate effectively within your marketplace. What’s more, if unfavorable information appears high up within the search results, the risk is even higher. Studies show that the top ten results of a search receive roughly 85% of all clicks and, worryingly, negative results have a click through rate of up to 63% higher than positive ones. Unfortunately, removing negative information from Google is exceedingly challenging, especially without professional help; however, there are a few methods that will help.
Make a Direct Request to Remove Negative Information from Google Search
The most obvious approach is to submit a request to Google to request the removal of information. Although this method is very limited in its effectiveness. Google won’t remove negative reviews or articles simply because you don’t want them to be seen. For the most part, they’ll only remove information that could put you at risk of identity theft, personal harm, or financial fraud. This is generally limited to information like bank or credit card details, Social Security Numbers, private medical records, or sexually explicit images. Unless the content you wish to remove comes under one of these categories, it’s almost certain that Google won’t remove it.
The only exception to these rules would be if Google is returning search results for content that you know has already been taken offline. In this case, you can request to remove outdated content, but it will work only if the original page has been removed. For the majority of people wishing to remove negative online information from Google, they’ll need to employ removal specialists to take a different approach.
How to Remove Negative Information from Google Reviews
When it comes to removing negative reviews from Google, they won’t take anything down unless it breaches their code of conduct. This applies to spam, off-topic or irrelevant reviews, or prohibited content. It also covers reviews that could be deemed to be a conflict of interest, which is helpful if a negative review has been left by a former employee or competitor wishing to damage your reputation. In these instances, you’ll likely need the assistance of a removal expert to help identify whether a review meets these criteria before reporting it to Google. If a review does fit breach the code of conduct, a professional can submit a removal request and expedite the notoriously long investigation process.
In the event a negative review doesn’t breach the code of conduct, a removal specialist has few options. They’ll be well-versed in the best way to contact a customer directly and request they remove or change their review. This takes finesse, as the wrong approach could make matters worse and damage your reputation further.
A reputation management specialist will apply the same techniques they would when asking a website to remove harmful content. This requires being familiar with the mindset of the site owners, understanding their behaviors, and being able to adapt to every situation. They’ll also know how to swiftly make their way up the chain to a key decision-maker, someone who has the power to remove negative content.
When it comes to preventing negative search results appearing on the front page; however, another method is needed.
“Pushing Down” Negative Results from Google
Sometimes it’s just not feasible to entirely remove negative information from Google. As we know, negative search results pose the biggest threat when they appear on the front page of Google. The solution is to bury them by guaranteeing positive results appear higher up the results page, effectively pushing negative content down the list where it’s far less likely to be seen. In these instances, you’ll need to employ a reputation management professional with plenty of SEO experience.
By understanding how Google’s algorithms work, a search engine optimization (SEO) expert can form an in-depth strategy to promote your positive content. First, they’ll optimize your existing content to ensure it appears high up the search engine results page (SERP). This includes analyzing all of your existing content and applying the most current SEO techniques both on and off-page.
Next, they’ll take a look at your social media presence. Social media accounts, such as LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter rank highly in SERPs, so you’ll need to make sure you’re making the most of all that is available to you. You’ll still need to make sure these accounts fit with your business model, and that you have the time and resources to maintain them all adequately. Once you’ve set up the profiles, they’ll also need to be optimized. Once you have accounts with the big social media names, it’s time to work out other places you could create a profile that Google will push up the results page, such as a niche industry forum. Once you’ve created all of these profiles, the work isn’t over, as you’ll need to attract followers and properly engage with the community.
The next stage entails creating of a trove of positive, high-quality content in a variety of formats that you can post frequently enough to feed Google’s search results. This is the key for several reasons. Your content must be of a high standard to earn mentions from authoritative sources, since this is a cornerstone of Google’s algorithm. Once external sources begin to backlink to your articles and content, your reputation will continue to grow, and the negative content will be pushed even lower down the SERPs. Unfortunately, even excellent content can’t promote itself, so you’ll need to be well-versed in pitching to editors and knowing what content will catch their eye.
Safeguarding for the Future
Even if you succeed in removing negative information from Google entirely, you could face similar issues in the future. It’s always preferable to catch negative information before it can spread, so you’ll need to continue to monitor every mention of your company as soon as it appears. There are tools online that will send you alerts whenever your company’s name pops up, allowing you to take swift action, but this is no small task. Ultimately, a reputation management expert is your best option as they can provide a 24/7 monitoring service that can catch and remove negative information from Google before it has the chance to damage your brand, public image, and bottom line.
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