Everything is online these days, including the good, the bad, the ugly, and the untrue. It can be really frustrating to find a negative review of your product or service, false information about yourself, or anything embarrassing from your past.
Whether you have an online business or are simply a concerned individual, you should know what the internet has to say about you. A bad online reputation can stifle the growth of your business, hurt your career, and even be a detriment to your finances. You can do something about the harmful and false information out there. Understand your options and know when it’s time to turn to a professional.
Contact the Site Hosting the Content
It never hurts to ask. This is true in so many life situations, and it extends to the online world. Sometimes the simplest solution to negative content is to ask the hosting site to remove it. People are more understanding than you think. The worst that can happen is that they say ‘no.’
If you plan to reach out to the host site, do so professionally and politely. Don’t make demands or be rude. You’ll catch more flies with honey. There are a few things you can request that give them reasonable options:
- Remove the content. The most thorough way to get information off the internet is to get it removed entirely. Not every site is willing to do this. It’s their content, after all, and they may want to keep it.
- No-index the content. If the site does not want to remove the page or reference to you or your company, request that they add a no-index tag. This will ensure the page doesn’t show up in a Google search, but it still exists online.
- Edit the content. Finally, if you believe the information is false or out of context, ask the site host if you can change it. Instead of asking that they change it, suggest how it should read to be more truthful or accurate.
Reach Out to Search Engines
Another option is to go around the site host and go straight to Google or other search engines. You can request that they de-index the page, for instance. This has the same effect as the host adding a no-index tag. The search engine may grant your request, which means the page will no longer index in searches.
You can also submit a removal request to Google. You cannot, of course, expect Google to remove something just because you asked. There must be a good reason. For instance, you can use the Remove Outdated Content tool for old information that has been updated. Google will also look at requests to remove content that is explicit, violates their terms, violates copyrights, or is illegal.
Take Legal Action
Consider taking legal action if the above methods don’t get results. A lawyer can help you do this. Usually, the first step is a cease and desist letter. Your lawyer will send a letter to the site host, or their legal team, threatening more serious legal action if the material is not removed. This can be a useful strategy for defamatory content, which you have a legal right to see removed.
If this step fails, your lawyer may recommend seeking a court order. If you have a valid case for the information being defamatory, which is damaging to your reputation and untrue, a judge can order the site to remove it.
Contact a Professional Online Reputation Management Service
Depending on your situation, you may want to try one or more of these strategies or turn to a professional service for managing online reputations. For instance, Guaranteed Removals online content removal service can save you a lot of time and headaches by doing the work.
Companies like this are experts in removing content and improving online reputations. They can take all of these steps for you to ensure they are done right and go above and beyond to help re-establish your good reputation. They can get negative content removed, go after defamation, remove old pictures, and track down and remove negative or false reviews.
Reputation is Everything
Your online reputation is important. It tells the world who you are. If you find damaging, defamatory information, stories, reviews, or images online, you don’t have to live with them. Try these tools on your own, or go straight to the professionals and make sure it’s all done the right way to restore and rebuild your positive reputation.