Counteracting negative ‘Google’ or other internet search results

Introduction

In a perfect world, we’d be able to remove all the unfair, outdated, and negative search results about ourselves.  In reality, most content is here to stay except in special circumstances. Remove what you can, but creating your own positive content to suppress the negatives is a practical way to control your image and improve your search results.

If you are looking to disappear from the web, then this isn’t the solution for you.  You’ll be creating more content about yourself, but you might be able to tip the balance from negative to positive.

For anybody looking to increase their positive profile on the web then there are a number of steps that you could consider.

Which sites should I create a profile on?

Certain sites consistently appear high in the search results.  By simply creating a profile on them with your name and a bit of identifying information, you can suppress negative results. Make sure that you set your privacy settings to be publicly viewed, and only post content that you’re absolutely sure you won’t regret later.

Some sites you could consider posting to include:-

Other sites

You can also use your real name to register on news websites and comment on articles, although these types of posts don’t tend to rank as highly as those on the sites listed above. If you’re prepared for a little self-censorship, posting under your real name can be a smart strategy for selling yourself.  Knowing that anything you say online may show up when someone Google’s you, use your postings to your advantage: post intelligent, grammatically-correct, spell-checked, well-reasoned content.

Express yourself in the field in which you want to become established.  One of the ways that Google determines a site’s rank in search results is by analysing how many times other sites link to it.  You can get your content to rise by linking it to itself.  For example, create a Twitter account, connect that to your Formspring account, connect both of those to your Facebook page, and link to all of them on your Blogger page.  Of course, the more you use your accounts and interact with other people, the more likely they are to link to your content, which drives your results even higher.

Is there anything else I need to consider?

If a search for your name is generally positive, but including a particular keyword brings up negative or unwanted results, try to reclaim that term.  For example if a search for “John Doe” is positive, but “John Doe” + “College” brings up negative results then John Doe should start including the phrase “College” in his positive content creation in order to associate it with his good reputation.

What else can I do?

On the 13th May 2014, a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that individuals could request that information be removed from Google’s search results.  It is unlikely that Google would agree to remove links for anybody with unspent convictions.  For further information see here.
For anybody looking for a fresh start and trying to avoid ‘informal’ disclosure, such as articles from newspapers and on-line then it may be worth considering changing your name.
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