How to Remove Negative Google Search Results
Webcide.com has a long track record of success when it comes to helping to repair company and personal reputations. We can help you in your endeavors to de-index harmful information online. We can also help in cases when de-indexing requests have been denied. Repairing your online reputation is not easy, and what worked yesterday may not work today. But help is at hand – we successfully transform online reputations every day.
De-indexing removes a search result directly from the index and cache of search results. There are limited types of content that can be de-indexed. For example, copyright infringement and personal data can be de-indexed.
De-indexing removes search results completely from the search engine. But there's more to it than using the Google removal tool and submitting a request. Removing results from any search engine requires the right strategy.
People-search sites: Online people-search companies scour the Internet collecting personally identifiable information about people. They compile this information in profiles and then sell it to anyone who asks for it. Sometimes these profiles appear prominently in an individual’s search results. In those cases, you can usually issue an opt-out request to have your information removed. The profile should then disappear from your search results within a couple of weeks.
Copyright or legal infringement claims: If the information posted is your own creative work not created under contract, then you can file a DMCA copyright claim and have the material removed. This is especially useful for photos. Similarly, truly defamatory content can usually be challenged through the courts. In both cases, however, the process can be costly and timely. You can also be penalized for filing a claim without merit, and sometimes the legal action itself can attract more unwanted attention than the original link. So if you do decide to go this route, make sure you get good legal advice from an attorney who specializes in Internet law.
Social media violations: If someone posts negative content about you on a social network, you may be able to appeal to the site to get it removed. For this approach to work, you’ll need to show why the post violates the social network’s terms of service.
For instance, Facebook’s community standards policy states that they will remove content that includes bullying, criminal activity, hate speech, and similar threats to safety. There will usually be a link or a tool attached to the post that will allow you to file a report.
Before you submit a request, however, be absolutely sure that your situation
qualifies under the terms of service.
There are limited types of content that can be de-indexed. For example, copyright infringement and personal data can be de-indexed. A negative review on your product likely cannot; however, there are other methods to remove negative online content.
Examples of content that can often be de-indexed
Web content that can be removed from search engine indexes includes:
Child abuse images
Social security numbers
Bank account numbers
Credit card numbers
Sexually explicit imagery that has been posted without consent
If a particular piece of content meets the guidelines above, then we may well be able to have it completely removed from Google. However, de-indexing is unusual, and is often difficult to accomplish. To that end, it is crucial to have experience and expertise to navigate the process.
This article will unpack some of the most common types of content that can be successfully de-indexed.
U.S. laws vary widely according to each state, as do laws in any country. Anti-cyber harassment laws can be helpful in removing revenge porn: sexually explicit photos or videos that are distributed without consent for harassment purposes, often by disgruntled ex-partners.
Does Google remove revenge porn?
Yes, it does. Google has stated that it will voluntarily remove this content upon request, and the company even offers a revenge porn web form that can be filled out for that purpose.
Does Google remove personal data?
Yes, but it depends on the kind of data. Google is willing to remove personal information, again through a simple web form application.
Google may consider removing the following information:
Government-issued identification numbers
Information used for common financial transactions
Information that could lead to financial harm or identity theft
Information considered confidential
Some of the negative information found on the web can cause great damage, yet it may not strictly fall under these categories. Information that harms your reputation, whether it's your personal reputation or that of your company, is extremely difficult to de-index.
Even in cases when the information is probably not true.
Ask search engines to deindex results
If you can’t get the content removed directly, Step 2 is to look into deindexing. One secret of reputation management few people realize is that search engines are perfectly capable of removing links—there’s even a process in place to handle these requests. However, search engines do not take such requests lightly, so you’ll need an air-tight case.
If your request is successful, the search engine will deindex the content. In other words, the negative content won’t show up when people search for it—but it will remain online. Anyone who links to it or visits it directly can still see it.
Also, since each search engine is an independent entity with slightly different procedures and policies, you’ll need to file removal requests separately with Google, Bing, and any other search engine that concerns you.
Types of content that can be deindexed
Both Google and Bing have similar standards when it comes to deindexing. In general, they will only remove the following kinds of content:
Damaging personal information, such as bank account numbers or social security numbers
Revenge porn or other sexual imagery posted without your consent
Copyright violations (as discussed above)
You can report these kinds of links here:
Microsoft Support Center
Google Removal Request Page
Libel and defamation removals
Until recently, Google and Bing also regularly removed content when provided with a court order showing libel or defamation. However, Bing stopped honoring these requests in 2013, and Google adopted a similar approach at the end of 2016.
In Google’s explanation of its removal policy, it cites the Communications Decency Act. The CDA states that websites are not responsible for third-party content that appears in their services, and as such Google is not required to deindex links unless ordered by a court.
Neither Bing nor Google have provided an explanation for their change in policy, but a number of hypotheses have been put forward by the technology press.
For example, removals are costly and without business value, so they may have been deprioritized for that reason. Others have suggested that these companies don’t want to be strong-armed into making politically motivated removals in countries with weaker civic protection laws, or into potentially falling prey to underhanded legal tactics.
Regardless of what the ultimate reason is, the standard for getting defamatory materials deindexed is much higher than it was previously.