When you Google your own name you can be in for a shock at some of the stuff that comes up. You don’t remember giving permission for anyone to use your name in that way, and yet it’s up there for the whole world to see, and it’s been there for months. You might start asking if it’s impacted your mortgage application, promotion prospects, and even your standing amongst you friends and family.
There are all sorts of articles online about how to remove negative search results, but there’s only one approach that works: reputation management. To give you a better idea of how it can work for you, let’s take a look at 9 ways it will help you remove negative search results.
1- Produce Positive Content That Ranks Higher
93% of people admit to rarely going past the first page of results on Google, which is a frightening statistic if your positive content is buried away on page 14. If you can start pushing your own positive content out there as soon as possible, then you can move the negatives onto the second page whilst you figure out how to have them taken down completely. Ideal if you want to start with some proven damage limitation techniques.
2- Contact the Website Owner Directly
There’s always a chance that the website owner may not know what their site has been used for, or that the content has been posted in error. If this is the case, then it makes sense to check to see whether they’re prepared to take it down as it can lead to a very fast resolution.
If you want to get people to help you, even when you know that you’re in the right, then you need to be courteous and polite. Go in there throwing accusations around, and even the most well-meaning person will take an instant dislike to you and leave the negative content up for all to see.
3- Speak to the Editor
If you can’t contact the site owner, or it’s such a large site it’s not clear who that individual is, then speak to the editor. If you can prove that the piece has been written in error and still posted, any respectable editor will take your claims seriously and do something about it.
As with the previous point, remember to be polite and professional at all times, and do what you need to do to get the right person onside. If you do that, then you might be able to have everything taken down in a matter of minutes.
4- Connect With the Poster and Ask Them to Take it Down
This one is more directed at negative results that are posted on social media or a person’s individual blog. Identifying the poster and then telling them succinctly why the content is inaccurate and needs to be taken down is often all it takes to get the job done. Of course you need to do it in a polite way, but don’t be afraid of telling them the hurt it’s caused you, and the damage it’s done to you and your business.
5- Petition to Have the NO-INDEX Tag Added to the Offending Page
This is one for the technically minded amongst you, and it’s a clever trick that will prevent Google from being able to list any negative content about you as a search result. It’s not always the most transparent process to go through, so we recommend contacting a professional to guide you through it. That way you’ll be able to sleep with the peace of mind that only comes from knowing that your case is in the best possible hands.
6- Identify Any Copyright Violations That You Can Make Use of
If you can identify any of your own content that has been used without express written permission, then you have a strong case for it to be taken down immediately. Make sure that you work through everything diligently, and consult an expert who will be able to assess the strength of your case. Take the time to get it right, and you’ll be able to see the true you next time you Google your own name.
7- Hit Back With Positive Content On Social Media
Social media is a great tool to have at your disposal because it allows your voice to be heard by a potential audience of millions. The reason we’re stressing the importance of using it, is that even once negative content has been removed, millions of people will have potentially been convinced by it.
This means that if you want to repair your reputation you need to be able to get a positive message out there, and also address some of people’s misconceptions about you. Get the balance right, and you’ll be able to come out the other side with an enhanced reputation for fairness and civility.
8- Don’t Produce Your Own Negative Content By Starting an Argument
Arguing with whoever is responsible for the content that you’ve taken issue with is never the way to go. The chances are that the person posting it either did it to get a rise out of you, or thought that it was in some way in the public’s interest to know about it.
If you start arguing with them over text or email, then you’re just giving them the next batch of negative content to post about you. Stay calm, take a step back, and consult with an expert every step of the way.
9- Finding an Expert Who Will Guide You Through the Process is Crucial
Expertise can be hard to find, but once you have it things will move a lot faster. Don’t be taken in by instant fix suggestions you might find online reputation management is a complex business.
Spend a little bit of time finding someone you can trust; and other browsers will be able to trust what they see when searching your name.
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