The problem with the Internet is that it has a hard time forgetting old stuff. And that becomes a real concern as people move along in life with the choices they made at one point, not necessarily being compatible with where they are years later. The most common situation is career risk; just about every employer worth their salt runs a name check online to see if there are any easy-to-find big problems with a hiring candidate before a commitment is made. The wrong Internet presence leftover from a bad night in college can literally cost someone their lucrative future. And even those hired are at risk; look at big movie producers getting fired because of some bad Twitter comment they wrote years before resurfacing.
Fortunately, there are some effective ways to remove negative content from Google search results, at least far enough that they are not easy to find. Well over 95 percent of online searching stops after the fifth page of results. So, if a person can get their less-than-stellar references buried deeper in search results, it can help “hide” them from quick searches if not removed entirely.
Use SEO to Your Advantage – Find Your Risks
Searching for problem material is not limited to just employers. You can find problem material just as easily as an HR analyst or manager, so do it before putting your name out there or on an application. Internet search suppression starts with being proactive, which is far easier than trying to damage control after something is found by someone else. Use Google, Yahoo, or other search engines with wide reach and run multiple search options on your name. You’ll be surprised how much is out there. Then log in, identify its location and build your list of what to get removed or suppressed.
Get Legal If You Need To
If the problem content involves photos, you’re in luck. People can’t be posting private photos of you without your permission. Make an obvious legal request that the website host has to take the image down and remove it. This simple but very effective tool is often missed because people don’t know how powerful it can be. It doesn’t work so well on a mugshot removal, a public record, but other photos are fair game. You can also use Google to squash copyright violations if you can make that argument as well. That can effectively remove a link to the content on a search result.
Remove any Content You Control
It might take some thinking but go back and identify every possible social media account or personal folder you might have connected to the Internet and delete those files. Keep the account, but empty it. That way, your name will be found, but nothing will be displayed, and you control the real estate instead of someone else. Facebook, Twitter, and similar are big in this category.
Pump Out Positive Self-Marketing
Whether it’s you or a hired service, posting a regular flow of positive content helps bury older material. Google and similar search engines love new, relevant material. Older materials get pushed back. Put out enough, and you will see older material move lower and lower in the back pages when you search for your name online. This process can take a while, but it does work and lasts for years. Avoid any online reputation management experts saying that you can clean up your online presence overnight; it’s simply not realistic.
If you need help handling the above due to a lack of time or just not knowing where to start, Net Reputation can help. Our team regularly handles all types of cases and provides effective online reputation restoration for all backgrounds and situations. It’s not impossible, and we can help produce a dramatic shift in your online presence paradigm. It doesn’t happen overnight; we will never promise that, but we will be very effective in results.