If your original Google search turned up a lot of negative results and you find yourself in crisis, it will make building a professional profile quite hard. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter whether a compromising story is true or not. If it attracts a lot of attention, it will rank higher than your content and it will take a lot of work to change that.
People with serious reputation issues often find it more effective to work with a professional service. If you’re dealing with viral stories or compromising pictures (revenge porn, for example) the problem may be too big to manage on your own. Our experts at ReputationDefender work with clients who are struggling to regain control over their life and career after damaging material has been published about them on the internet.
3 Steps to Combat Undesirable Content
- Delete It – If the content was posted by you at an earlier date, you may be able to change the settings to private, delete the post, or even deactivate the account. This could apply to posts you shared in teenage or college years or activity from an old account you don’t use any more. Of course this won’t necessarily get rid of all the shared and archived copies, but it can help to remove the source.
- Get It Taken Down – Some content is removable, but it depends on the situation. Google will only ban results if they are defamatory or contain personal information that could be used to hack important accounts. Content that violates the terms of service agreement on the platform where it is posted may also be removable, but you will need to familiarise yourself with the exact wording of the contract and put in a direct request. Pictures or videos taken by you can be removed on the basis of copyright infringement but removal processes vary from country to country, so it may be helpful to get professional legal advice. Sometimes the most effective way to get content taken down is to send a direct message asking the person to remove it. Many people thoughtlessly share posts they find funny without realising there is a real person involved, so they may be sympathetic to your request. This process is time consuming however, since you have to do this site by site, person by person, and there is no guarantee that everyone will cooperate.
- Bury It – Since it’s usually not possible to remove every negative result, the next step is create a lot of positive, high-traffic content that ranks high enough to bump it off page one. A personal website, social media profiles and blog posts are a good way to start. However, you’ll have to do more to counteract results that have attracted a lot of clicks and shares. These are some suggestions:
- Organise an Event on Meetup – MeetUp ranks high with Google. If you create a profile and plan a professional event, everyone attending will link to the page and boost its ranking.
- Write a Press Release – Anyone can write a PRNewsWire for around $300 US. This might sound costly, but PR is one of the highest-ranking news sites on Google. A news release about an important event in your career will add another positive result on the SERP.
- Comment on News Articles – Write professional comments on high-ranking news sites like the New York Times. Include your name and link back to your website or blog.
- Guest Blog – Find a suitable blog and offer to write a guest post. This will give you a chance to send traffic back to your blog with an incoming link, which will improve your site’s ranking.
- Create a Profile on a .gov or.edu Domain – If you can get a result on either of these domains, it will rank higher with Google than .com or .net. Of course it’s not always easy, but it’s worth checking to see if you can create an .edu profile through your university, or get yourself listed as a volunteer with a local government agency.
Hopefully, you’ll never have to deal with serious reputation issues, but it’s always best to be prepared. If you start building a strong reputation today, anything that happens in the future won’t be as big a problem. For further questions, or more information on reputation management, contact our experts at