Negative search results of your name on Google can be a detriment to career advancement. Perhaps you were wrongfully accused of non-professional conduct and later exonerated, but those false accusations are at the top of Google every time you search for your name. Not only can this limit your career potential, it can be frustrating as well. Contacting Google to ask them to remove the offending content will do no good. Google’s stance on negative search results is:
The best actions for you from our perspective can be one of a couple options. Either contact whoever put up webpage B and convince them to modify or to take the page down. Or if the page is doing something against the law, get a court to agree with you and force webpage B to be removed or changed. We really don’t want to be taking sides in a he-said/she-said dispute, so that’s why we typically say “Get the page fixed, changed, or removed on the web and then Google will update our index with those changes the next time that we crawl that page.”
What Google doesn’t mention is a third method – one that involves a lot of hard work and diligence, but it’s usable and useful for individuals and businesses who encounter negative search results. In the world of SEO, it is called “reputation management.” A reputation management campaign has three basic parts:
- Identify what search queries (or keyword phrases) trigger the negative undesirable results (typically this is your name or variations of it)
- Create content on multiple sites with the intention of outranking the negative content
- Optimize those pages with content & links to achieve rankings higher than the negative content, “pushing it down” to the 2nd page of results
What can you do to bury negative search results of your name on Google?
With a little legwork you can bury negative search results of your name on Google by yourself. It is going to be a fairly slow process, so be patient; but if you work these steps you can bury negative search results.
Step One is to get your name on Google in a positive light. This can be done by setting up profiles on social media sites which themselves rank high on Google.
These 10 sites are a good place to start.
Establish a profile on each, where the profile name is your name for which you are currently seeing negative ranking. For example if your negative ranking is in your full name (i.e. Michael) then use your full name when setting up these profiles. A word of warning though, most social media sites only permit one name, if necessary you may have to change existing profiles to one under your full name.
Step Two is to acquire lots of friends/followers/connections for each of the sites. The more connections you have the better it will work for you. As with anything social it works best if you take an active role and participate in the network. Sharing is caring. Each connection will result in an internal link back to your profile within the site, making your profile stronger.
Step Three is to join groups within the sites where possible too … LinkedIn has numerous professional groups you can join. These groups often pass link power to your profile within the site as well.
Step Four is to create (where possible, again this can be done through LinkedIn) a social profiles menu on your site and link to each of these profiles.
Following these steps should be enough to push most negative search results for your name to page two. Since most people don’t search beyond the first page this should be sufficient to bury the negative search results. If these steps don’t work or if you don’t have the time or energy to fix your own online reputation by burying negative search results, then you should consider engaging the services of a professional reputation manager.
A final note … these reputation management tactics are a simple fix and are by no means comprehensive. What I have outlined in this post on how to bury negative search results of your name on Google are relatively quick and efficient means for burying negative online mentions of your name. Advanced tactics exist, but these simple four steps should be sufficient to bury negative search results on Google.