How to Remove Negative Information From the Internet
Learn how to remove negative information from the internet with our complete guide.
It is never a great situation when you are a business owner and you discover there are bad search results (bad information) on search engines that are associated with your brand’s name.
It is a normal thing for you to make efforts in order to keep your customers happy and satisfied with your services or products, however, there are always people that will not be satisfied and they will use the internet possibilities so they can write bad comments or reviews about your brand.
To be honest, negative search results have the potential to hurt your business and brand’s reputation online. This may happen mostly because people are using the internet in order to make research for your company or brand and to decide if they should buy your items or use your services. After Google’s search results give them more information, they will make decisions based on what they find online.
It is very important to know that people who are going to find negative information posted online about you or your company will make negative assumptions, and there is a low possibility they are going to use your services.
With all this being said, you can understand that your online reputation is one of the key factors that plays part in your company or brand growth. It is necessary to have a positive online reputation and to do that, you will need to learn how to remove negative information from the internet about your brand.
Reasons To Remove Negative Search Results
It will be very easy for you to understand that people put a lot of trust in search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, Coc Coc, or Yandex. In case those people who are searching for your brand or company online see negative reviews, comments, scandals, or scams it is very possible they will avoid using your services or buying your items.
From other research and statistics, we can also see that people are only willing to buy products who are having at least a 4-star rating.
What will happen if some badly intentioned people decide to keep putting negative information or keep uploading 1-star reviews? The result will be that all your potential business partners or customers may avoid contacting or using your brand because of that reason.
You need to be informed that negative information about your company on the internet can cost you a lot of money, especially if they come from websites that have high authority. For example, a few articles published by New York Times that appeared high in google search results in past made some impact on certain brands which cost them millions of U.S. dollars.
The negative content which is shared on the internet does not standstill. This kind of content may spread fast (even faster than positive information) and in a short, time can appear in many different places. In most cases, other websites will copy the same content and share it additionally which will make it appear on the internet even more frequently.
Because of this reason, the process of removing bad content from the internet is not only done in one place but additionally, it will continue to other locations as well. Always be sure that you remove the negative information from every source on the internet because a partially done job will not bring any positive results.
For those who want to use online reputation management services in order to remove negative or defamatory content from search engine results, we have some suggestions later in this article.
Content Removal and Affecting Factors
In order to have full control of their digital footprint, many companies are in need of online reputation management. The reputation management companies’ tasks are not simple because the removing techniques are changing with time. Some of those reputation management companies offer a free consultation.
Overall the content removal depends on 2 factors.
- What kind of information is published online.
- The location where that information is published.
Those criteria already mentioned are very important because they decide how easy or hard the removal project will be and how much it will cost if you are using an online reputation management company.
Most of the companies that are working with this kind of issue will not be able to remove your bad content or negative links from the internet if that content is still newsworthy or if it’s based on facts.
The negative content and information they are providing can be removed from Google search results if they match specific conditions. For example, it will be possible to delete or remove defamatory content online, sexually explicit content, or fake statement that causes damage to a company’s reputation or an individual.
For this situation we have some dedicated rules from Google reviews that concern the following types of content:
- Offensive content.
- Fake content.
- Off-topic content.
- Spam content.
- Dangerous content.
In case some of the reviews left for your business match one of those mentioned before, you will be able to ‘flag it’ in order to alert Google. It takes usually a couple of days for Google to respond. For ‘Google My Business’ reviews, they answer within three days.
Completely Removing Negative Information From The Internet
Whenever you see a defamatory remark, negative article, or a bad review that is associated with your business on a Google web search, the first thing you want to do is to remove it completely from the internet so it never appears again on search engines.
When you remove a web page that is containing negative content about you or your business, it is certainly something that will break the link and dissociate your name with it.
After this step, people will not be able to see anything bad or fake about you on the web search engines, and that is also the best way to remove the content but also the most difficult way as well.
They are hard to remove mostly because these defamatory remarks, negative content, or negative reviews are on different websites that you don’t control. In case this bad content is posted on websites, pages, or social media sites that you control, the removal process will be a lot easier.
Removing Negative Online Content From Third-Party Websites
Identifying the original source where this harmful content is posted will be your first step in process of removing bad info from the internet. From that point, you will need to start tracking all other sources of negative content related to your business and brand name.
There is a possibility for you to use Google Alerts in order to monitor the negative content about you that is getting published on the internet.
You will need to input a keyword (ex: “your brand name” scam) and like that you will be able to get alerts or notifications of websites mentioning them and they will come directly to your email inbox on a daily or weekly basis.
This will help you to suppress negative search results faster and in a more efficient way.
Once this is sorted out we have some additional guidelines and steps that you will need to follow so you can properly finish this job.
Get In Contact With Publishers
Once you find the main publishing source that is the place where the removal of bad and fake data will actually start. That should always be your starting point and you should never try to contact Google directly about issues like this.
Google’s primary job as a search engine is to crawl and index web pages. Google does not create content on its own and they are not responsible for bad or good content that third parties are posting about you or your company.
You will need to discover the original source and contact the webmaster. You should politely ask them to remove the negative content (ex. blog post) from their website that is associated with you or your company. If the information posted is based on facts the webmaster is not obligated to remove them and being polite will ease your communication and can bring a positive outcome.
While you are doing communication with the webmasters, be sure to always keep tracking proof. In case something happens and things get more serious later, you will need to have those records. For example, while you work with an attorney having these screenshots and submitting them will significantly help you to win and close that case.
In case you are having a hard time finding and contacting the webmaster, you should look at the contact form first (which is usually at the bottom of websites) and collect the phone number or their email address. Another option is to perform a domain lookup with Whois and also you can check LinkedIn to see if some of their managers have an account there.
You additionally have the option to contact the website hosting company (Whois can provide this kind of information). You need to be aware that hosting companies do not always reply, but when they do, they will be able to share the right contact information.
If the webmaster is unable to remove the negative content or they are unwilling to do that, you can always ask them to add a no-index tag to that content. This process is not going to remove the content from the internet but will tell the search engine not to index it. You need to be informed that these steps in real life are not always working as you would like.
Another option is to request a content edit from the webmaster, which will remove the brand name associated with bad or fake information and the publisher will be able to replace it with some more generic description instead of directly using your company name.
Before you request removal, you need to be sure that you understand the content removal policies of the specific platform or website. For example, on Facebook, there are community standards that are clear and strict.
In case contacting the fake content publisher doesn’t make a positive outcome, you should know there are other options to consider.
Reporting a page/site that violates Google Policies
All information like Email addresses, Social Security numbers, Credit Card numbers, account numbers, and others that can be used for fraudulent activity can be reported and Google will remove them. Additionally, offensive images or videos with explicit content are also against Google Privacy Guidelines and can be reported.
It is important for you to know that de-indexed pages are not going to appear in search results; however, they will still be available on their website owned by a third-party person. This means if you have the exact URL address of that page, you will be able to see that information that is de-indexed from search results.
Reverse SEO Method
Deleting negative content and information is not always going to be possible and because of that reason, you will need to search for other methods to fight against negative information on the internet. In case you cannot delete the information from the internet, a great option for you will be to apply the reverse SEO method.
Reverse SEO is a reputation management tactic that involves forcing positive content at the top of Google search engine results, so it can push away the negative content of the first page, on the pages that none is looking at or reading. This action will push down and bury negative content on the second page or lower in search results.
If you check some statistics you will notice that 95% of search traffic is happening on the first search page of Google and a very low number of people are going to search further on the next pages. Knowing this you will better understand the whole strategy with reverse SEO and you will probably be better when applying it.
To be honest, pushing down negative content cannot be a better option than deleting it simply because some traces will always appear somewhere. Additionally, Google makes a number of updates regularly which means SEO factors are constantly changing and you will need to invest your precious time in updating your content.
Besides these negative aspects, we can say that this method is working and it is a great option for businesses and individuals that want to get rid of negative information on the internet.
You need to know that just like SEO itself, Reverse SEO is also very technical. In case you are considering this method it is recommended to contact SEO professionals.
Taking a Legal Action
You can go to court and file a suit in case you are a victim of online discrimination, defamation, or copyright infringement and in situations where you can make use of the digital millennium copyright act.
If you win in court you have an option to submit a copy of the court order to any specific website to remove the negative content related to you or your business. You need to know this kind of action can remain active for a very long time and you will need to be patient with this process.
Before you decide to begin with this process, you should be aware that it can be really costly, especially if it’s lasting for a long time. Taking this kind of action may cost you thousands of dollars and have the potential to draw a lot of public attention which can negatively affect your business.
Be sure to carefully think about the risks and cost of taking legal action before you decide to go for it.
Removing Negative Content From Social Media and Web Pages
There are a lot of people who are going to write bad about you or your brand on social media channels you own. You will also notice some other places like YouTube channels, Yelp, Facebook, and Google My Business Page which people use to leave bad comments or reviews about someone’s business.
If you experience something similar on your social media platforms, you shouldn’t worry because there are a number of options for you to deal with such situations. You should always look to respond to bad comments or reviews in a professional and helpful way.
You can try and update your business profile from time to time so it can be more interesting and more positive. In case you experience some bigger problem you can always change your address on your Google My Business page and it will give you a new address but the old reviews from your previous address will be gone.
If you experience a more complex situation you can use even more radical options like deleting your profile permanently from those channels which will get rid of negative content as well.
It is important to know that some websites may keep the customer reviews public and they will remain there even if you delete your profile. Because of that reason as we previously said, it will be great if you respond positively and professionally to negative comments or reviews related to your business. With that approach, you will encourage more potential customers to seriously consider you.
Negative Content on your Website
In recent times more and more businesses offer their customers a page on their website dedicated to testimonials and feedback. Many e-Commerce businesses recently offer their customers an option to leave a review about the experience they have with their ordered products.
This comes as a great help for other potential customers to understand the product better from others’ experiences and then make their purchase decision. In case you own one of those E-Commerce businesses and there are people who are writing negative comments you should know there is an option for you to remove them from your page.
However, as we already mentioned the best way is to respond in a helpful and professional way. Helping your customers and resolving the situation in a positive way will bring a lot of benefits to your business. You should encourage your customers to send their complaints to the customer care team and to resolve the situation through phone or email communication.
Do not let your customers go unhappy because they can write bad comments about you in public forums as an act of revenge. Always remember that more than 70% of people make their purchase decisions after reading others’ reviews. Bad reviews will make potential customers avoid your business and go to your competitors. You cannot afford to lose customers because of unresolved issues or negative comments written by other people on the internet.
Does it Take long For Negative Content to be removed from the Internet?
The time that is needed for certain negative content to be removed from the internet depends on circumstances and all factors that we mentioned above in this article. This process of removing your negative content from the internet can take from 2 weeks up to 6 months. This suggests that the average time between sending the removal request and content removal action should be 3 months.
Always keep in mind there is no guarantee that online content removal will be successful because this is a scrupulous process that depends on many different factors. One great news is that if you manage to delete that negative content in most cases it is forever. Also, reverse SEO seems like a very reliable strategy that is most effective when handled by SEO professionals.
Last Words on How to Remove Negative Information from the Internet
We can freely say that search engines and the internet have become the main reference point for many different things. Many people make their purchase, dating, hiring, and employment decisions based on the information they manage to find on the internet. This means that negative content and negative reviews written about your company will surely make a bad impact on you as a person or on your business.
It is a sure thing that nobody wants negative information about him floating on the internet and a high number of people will try to remove it or will hire someone to remove that content for them.
Many people hire experts or companies that offer these services to remove negative information from people’s searches and public database sites.
Looking for professional help? Contact us today!