It's difficult to keep personal information off the web. Most people belong to social networks, post pictures, write blogs, or have personal or professional sites. But this doesn't mean that you always want this information to appear in search results.
Below are some recommendations for controlling your reputation online.
Think twice before putting personal information onlineSome sites, such as social networking sites or photo sharing sites, can be shared with family and friends. Other sites are viewable by anybody and can appear in search results. If you'd be uncomfortable with a photo or piece of content being visible to strangers, think carefully about publishing it on public sites.
Remove unwanted content from the web
Pages and sites can be removed from Google’s search results either by the webmaster of the site or by Google.
What do you want to do?
- Remove content from my own site from Google’s search results
- Remove content from another site from Google’s search results
Counteract negative information with useful, positive information
Sometimes, you may not be able to get in touch with a site's webmaster, or they may refuse to take down the content in question. For example, if someone posts a negative review of your business on a restaurant review or consumer complaint site, that site might not be willing to remove the review. If you can't get the content removed from the original site, you probably won't be able to completely remove it from Google's search results, either. Instead, you can try to reduce its visibility in the search results by proactively publishing useful, positive information about yourself or your business.
You can publish or encourage positive content in a variety of ways:
- Address customer complaints. Some websites allow the company in question to post a reply addressing the complainant's issues. If a customer writes a negative review of your business, you could ask some of your other customers who are happy with your company to give a fuller picture of your business.
- Publish content you like. If a blogger is publishing unflattering photos of you, take pictures you prefer and publish them in a blog post.