Everyone relies on Google to find what they are looking for on the internet. They cannot live without it. Google is one of the top search engines in the world. Nothing else can compete with it. Companies are relying on that to help their business grow. However, using Google to help your name grow is a double-edged sword in itself. Results about you can get lost in negative search results. How does this happen? Why does this happen? How can you stop it? How do you push down those unwanted search results? If you break it down, the task can be doable. We are going to show you how to remove undesirable search results from Google.
What are Negative Search Results?
What exactly are negative search results? In short, it is things you do not want anyone to find on the internet if they plug your name into Google. This could range legal troubles to rather compromising pictures online. Even your beliefs can be turned negative with search results. How does this happen? It could be that you posted something on social media. It could be public record that is online. Perhaps there are news stories that mention you. If you have a mugshot in your history, chances are it shows up in a google search of you. It could even be someone else’s social media that mentions you in an undesirable way.
Why would this be important? Why do negative search results on Google matter? Employers will check your social media if they are interested in hiring you. They care about their image and making money. They do not want anything that is going to hinder them doing so. If they come across something negative about you, you can kiss employment goodbye. Negative search results on Google can also affect your social standing and relationships with people. We do not want this for you. We want you to have a positive image online. We want to help you look just as great as you do in real life.
What Can be Done?
You can’t take anything off of the internet. Once it is up there, you cannot get rid of it. The Wayback Machine has made that even more impossible. It is difficult to remove anything from the internet and removing from one source doesn’t mean it is gone. Anybody can get on Google and start digging for anything on a person. But there is a way to take back your name and push down any negativity about you online. If played right, the positivity in search results will make you look that much better.
But what else can be done to spare your reputation from negative results on Google? What if common sense isn’t enough to save yourself and your future? You do not have to panic over a potentially bad post with us. We have your back. Here are the four tips will need to know how to push down negative search results on Google.
Make your Profile Public
This may seem counterintuitive. Privacy is discussed so much today and it is advised immediately to have the strongest settings on your accounts. However, the first results to show up on a google search of you would be social media accounts.
You want to make your profile appealing to anyone who stops by to visit. We can help you at People Eraser to coach you on what skills and personality you should display on your public social media profile. Some quick tips to get you started though, are the following.
Get yourself a decent-looking photo. You should be dressed in a classy manner. Think of your profile photo as the first glance at your resume. You want to make a good impression. You don’t want to be visualized as too goofy or a party animal.
Fill in your information. You don’t want to have an empty account, instead you want to be an interesting person that someone would want to hold a conversation with. Keep it simple. Put up your hobbies, what you do for a living and your relationships. Avoid extracurricular activities that would not be deemed safe for work and especially anything that might be illegal.
Speak well. Good grammar and spelling give people a good impression of you. It tells potential bosses or professional relationships that you can hold a thoughtful conversation and will be an excellent communicator.
When completing your profile, have a trusted friend or family member look over your profile to give it any finishing touches that might be needed.
If you hold extreme political beliefs, enjoy dirty humor, want to post racy things, or like to have public breakups, you should do so under an account that is anonymous or held under a pseudonym. Be careful though, to not post things that will identify you and connect you with your public profile.
You should, however, keep up with your public profile. Engage with it. You can comment or share uplifting news posts, or other articles that you discover online. Bonus points for engaging with magazines or journals that are connected to your career. Remember, you are a product on the internet. You want to avoid posting things that you wouldn’t want someone else to see. It may seem harmless in your early twenties to post more freely, but your future opportunities will thank you for keeping your public persona clean and friendly.
Another good way to be active on your social media is to engage with other people. Keep it light, but put in some effort. A friend posts a news article and it shows up on your feed, comment on it. This goes especially for articles related to your job, hobbies, or light-hearted fluff.
Keep an eye on your friends list. Did your mom ever lecture you about “hanging around the wrong crowd?” This still applies to us as adults on the internet. Perhaps you have shared a news post. Who is liking, commenting or sharing that post? If you can be connected to people who are negative, obscene, or just generally give a bad impression, it does reflect back on you.
Finally, remember if you are going to engage with the internet privately or anonymously and you do so to someone who knows your identity, they can connect you to your account. People take screenshots of private conversations and share them. People talk about other people online all the time. Don’t become the person who is being talked about. Act reasonably and professionally in communication that happens online.
What if negative search results of you exist?
First, you need to figure out what google searches of you are showing these negative results. For example, googling your name “John Smith” may show results for lots of people and their online actions when you share a common name. While sometimes the person doing the searching may be able to critically think that your name is common and those actions may not be you, you can’t count on it. Similarly, perhaps you have a very uncommon name and you have a history that you don’t want to be found. There are tactics that can be employed to help you with these situations.
First, you need to figure out what search phrases and keywords are being used to search for you and which ones are resulting in negative results. This is something you can attempt yourself, but also something you can reach out for help from a professional company. It is called keyword research. Simply gathering the data that needs to be changed.
Next, you will want to have results that show you in a positive light to show up higher than the results that show you in a negative light. The truth is, most google researchers are not going to look past the front page and even less past 2-3 pages of results.
Positive content ranking higher can happen one of two ways. Either you create content that is positive about you, or you find other content that already exists and push it up in the results.
You can create positive content about yourself in a variety of ways. You can post on social media, as we have discussed above. You can find other people (bloggers or journalists) to discuss you or mention you in their blogs. You can create your own website. You can also hire other people to do these things for you.
Once there is content, you will want it to show up early in the google search results. This is referred to as SEO or search engine optimization. There are easy ways to go about this and some ways that require expert help. The quickest way to boost search results is to get people talking about it, at least from Google’s point of view. The more times the content is linked to, the more value Google things it will have. You can link to the content on your social media or webpage. It can get challenging quickly though and the help of an expert will put you over the top.
Sometimes, it is just too much to try and get above some negative results. For example, major crimes. If you have a history of being associated with a crime it may stick in the google results. It is up to you to take them and turn them to make yourself look better. Make it show that you have reformed yourself and trying to reach out to help others. A good way to do this is supporting a charity of your choice or doing volunteer work around your community. You can tie your cases back to your own social media pages. This way, you could make yourself look good and help your charity grow to do more for others. Be your own PA to push down the negative results on social media. Standing out is a double-edged sword when it comes to the internet.
Be Smart and Be Careful
Negative search results tied to your name may be a result of your past actions, your youth, or beyond your control entirely. You may not be able to take down all and any negative search results about you off of Google. But give yourself a chance with building a positive reputation around your name on the internet. Common sense cannot be stressed enough for social media. Think before you post. One little moment in time can cost you your reputation, personal relationships, employment opportunities, and your future. Prevention, like always, is key here. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you need help with your online reputation, hope is not lost.
At People Eraser, we can help you. We can audit your name and discover what is on the internet about you. There may be things you don’t realize are out there. Our consulting services can offer you a personalized Vulnerability Assessment. We help you prepare for life changes like finding a job, going for a promotion, or running for office. Then we can protect your online reputation. Contact us today if you are interested in our services.