A recent Pew Research survey found that 74% of U.S. adults say it is more important to keep things about themselves from being searchable online than it is to discover potentially useful information about others.
85% of U.S. adults say that all Americans should have the right to have potentially embarrassing photos and videos removed from online search results. 56% of U.S. adults say all Americans should have the right to have negative media coverage about themselves removed from public search results.
SoftwareAdvice conducted a survey in 2014 regarding online privacy and the “right to be forgotten” that reached similar conclusions.
Reputation Rhino has a team of experienced public relations, legal, marketing, and technology professionals trained to remove or bury negative online content by creating and optimizing positive Internet content.
If you are looking to remove online search results from Google, we first recommend contacting that website’s owner, content provider, or domain provider. If successful, this will remove the content at the source. You can usually find the contact information for a website on the website itself or you can look up a website’s owner or point of contact through services like WhoIs.net.
If you are the owner of a website or webmaster, it is easy to remove a page or multiple pages from appearing in Google search results. First, verify the property in Google Search Console and you can choose to either temporarily remove the URL (about six months) or clear a cached URL for content that has changed.
If you want to permanently remove Google search results for a website you own and control, you should first remove the content from your site so it returns either a 404 – Not Found or 410 – Gone or you can notify Google that the page should not be indexed using the noindex meta tag
To remove an image from Google, you can use robots.txt to block either the image or the page that hosts it.
If you are not the owner of the website and the content is still live on the page, Google may remove:
If you are not the owner of the website or webmaster and the content is no longer live on the page, the Google Remove Outdated Content Tool allows a user to notify Google about broken links or outdated cache pages appearing in web results. Pages appearing in Google’s web search results that are broken links returning a 404 – Not Found error or pages that appear in Google’s web search results that contain outdated content in the cached version of the page will be recrawled and removed usually in 24-48 hours.
If you are the owner of a website or webmaster, it is easy to remove a page or multiple pages from appearing in Bing search results. First, verify your site in Webmaster Tools and use the Block URLs tool to remove a URL or cached page from the Bing search results. Another option is to add a noindex meta tag to the page which tells Bing not to show this page in search results.
If you are not the owner of a website or webmaster and the content is no longer live on the page, the Bing Content Removal Tool allows a user to notify Bing about broken links or outdated cache pages appearing in web results.
Pages appearing in Bing’s web search results that are broken links returning a 404 – Not Found error or pages that appear in Bing’s web search results that contain outdated content in the cached version of the page will be recrawled and removed usually in 24-48 hours. You must have a Bing Webmaster Tools account to use the Bing Content Removal tool.
If you are looking to remove online search results from Bing, we first recommend contacting that website’s owner, content provider, or domain provider. If successful, this will remove the content at the source. You can usually find the contact information for a website on the website itself or you can look up a website’s owner or point of contact through services like WhoIs.net.
If you are not the owner of the website and the content is still live on the page, Bing may remove non-consensual pornography (revenge porn) and have even created a special reporting page available here. Bing will also remove copyright infringement pursuant to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, and we outline the steps below.
Most search functionality for Yahoo is now actually powered by Bing. Yahoo Search results that display results for a Web page that is no longer live, such as broken links or outdated cache pages, should automatically be removed from Yahoo during the next scheduled refresh of their search results.
According to Yahoo, the refresh occurs regularly and automatically but may take up to 6-8 weeks. If you are looking to remove online search results from Yahoo, we first recommend contacting that website’s owner, content provider, or domain provider. If successful, this will remove the content at the source. You can usually find the contact information for a website on the website itself or you can look up a website’s owner or point of contact through services like WhoIs.net.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was passed by Congress in 1998 to limit the liability of online service providers for user-generated content hosted on their website(s). Service providers seeking protection under the safe harbors of the DMCA must maintain a compliant notice-and-takedown process by responding expeditiously to remove or disable access to material claimed to be infringing upon receipt of proper notice from a copyright owner or the owner’s authorized agent.
If you are a copyright owner, you or your representative (such as an attorney or online reputation management company) must file a notice of copyright infringement
To file a notice of copyright infringement, you must provide a written communication (e-mail is acceptable) that sets forth the items specified below. Please note that you may be liable for damages (including costs and attorneys’ fees) if you materially misrepresent infringement of your copyright(s).
Your DMCA notice and takedown request must include substantially all of the following:
1. Provide a physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
2. Identify in sufficient detail the location of copyrighted work that you believe has been infringed upon or other information sufficient to specify the copyrighted work being infringed. If multiple copyrighted works at a single online site are covered by a single notification, include a representative list of such works at that site. Providing URLs in the body of your written communication is the best way for the online service provider locate the content quickly.
3. Provide identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and information reasonably sufficient to permit us to locate the material.
4. Provide information reasonably sufficient to permit us to contact the complaining party, such as an address, telephone number, and, if available, an electronic mail address at which the complaining party may be contacted.
5. Include the following statement: “I have a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.”
6. Include the following statement: “I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate, and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.”
7. Sign (or e-sign) the DMCA takedown request.
One of the most expensive and time-consuming options for removing negative content online is to pursue a defamation action against the individual(s) who posted negative content and obtain a court order for removal. When you know the identity of the individual who wrote the defamatory article, you can proceed directly to litigation.
When the individual has chosen to remain anonymous, you can sue an unknown “John Doe” defendant then subpoena his or her Internet service provider (“ISP”) to uncover his or her identity (usually full name and legal address). Once you have “unmasked” the identity of this anonymous individual, you can proceed with a legal action against the individual who posted the defamatory content, and if successful, submit the legal decision to the website or search engine with a request for removal.
Google, Bing and Yahoo have policies stating that they will remove a post from search results after being presented with a court order that determines the content to be false and defamatory.
A landmark ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union allows people to ask for URLs specifically related to their name to be removed. This right to be forgotten went into effect in May 2014 and allows the delisting of online information from search engine results.
Considered to be a right of privacy, any EU resident can request that Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines delist URLs that may contain information that could be considered “inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant, or excessive.” The most critical piece of this ruling rests on the requirement that search engine companies determine whether or not a person’s right to privacy outweighs access to information by the public.
As of May 27, 2020, Google has received 930,463 requests to delist a total of 3,656,922 URLs since the 2014 EU ruling. Google approved 53.6% of these requests (1,697,686) and denied 46.4% of these requests (1,468,224). Google states that it will consider the following factors in determining whether to delist content “whether the content relates to the requester’s professional life, a past crime, political office, position in public life, or whether the content is self-authored content, consists of government documents, or is journalistic in nature.”
To submit an EU Privacy Privacy request to Google, click here.
To submit an EU Privacy request to Bing, click here.
Most search functionality for Yahoo is actually powered by Bing, so follow the step(s) immediately above for EU Privacy removal.
A September 2019 ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union held that Google does not have to apply the “right to be forgotten” outside Europe.
The United States does not yet have a law or regulatory requirement to require removal of personal information from search results.
You don’t have to search very long or very hard to find online reputation management companies promising “guaranteed” removal. If it sounds “too good to be true” it probably is. However, there are some websites where it is possible to offer a removal guarantee.
The best online reputation management companies creatively use copyright and defamation / cyber libel law, online privacy regulations, the policies and procedures outlined by Google, Bing, and Yahoo, and confidential, direct and indirect negotiations with webmasters and website owners to help many clients remove online search results.
When content removal is not possible, pushing the negative content off Page 1 is the next best option.
Reputation Rhino is led by an extraordinary team of experienced legal, marketing, technology and public relations experts who can customize an affordable and highly effective online reputation management strategy designed to quickly eliminate the impact of damaging news articles, reviews, blog posts, forum comments, and other negative content.
Contact us today to promote a positive online image to anyone looking for you or your company online
If you would like to have something removed from Google search results, the best course of action is to contact the owner of the website or domain and request that it be removed. Sometimes, negative content promises to be so detrimental to a reputation that burying it with positive and neutral content just won’t do. Revenge porn, private information, and content published in order to do harm can be brought to the attention of Google for removal. Citizens of EU countries may have additional recourse because of the expansive privacy legislation in Europe. In many cases, you may need to consult with a content removal specialist or online reputation management company in order to protect your online reputation.
No matter the search engine, your first course of action to remove negative information from the internet should be contacting the website’s host or owner. If this is not appropriate, you may contact Google, Bing, or Yahoo. If you know who has published the negative content, and the information is false, you can sue them for defamation and take it to court. There are no guarantees when it comes to the removal of negative information from the internet; however, working with a top reputation management company, skilled in navigating laws, policies, regulations, and procedures related to online search results, will greatly increase your chances of success.
A bad review cannot be removed from Google simply because you disagree with the content of the online review. Opinions, even rude, obnoxious, and hurtful opinions are protected speech. You must be able to prove that a review came from a competitor, or from someone who’s never done business with your company, for instance. If you can prove that the review is fake, you can then flag it and communicate your evidence to Google. If it is a real review from an actual client or customer, then it’s best to respond to the review by thanking the person for their opinion and working to solve the problem.
Every platform has a different procedure to delete an online review. The very first course of action should be to either contact the reviewer directly and ask them to remove it (unless they are using profanity or show signs of mental instability) or respond to the negative review publicly to resolve the situation. Online reputation management companies may also have creative ways to remove a review from popular websites. If you consider the review to be slander or libel, flag and report the review (but be ready to submit evidence as to why the review is false). If the review violates the site’s terms of service, you can also flag it and ask for it to be removed. Unfortunately, websites are not responsible for what users post (Section 230, Communications Decency Act), so sites are not liable.
According to BrightLocal, 74% of businesses have at least one Google review. When you consider that Google reviews are the most visible in searches, it becomes imperative that your Google reviews be positive. You cannot delete a Google review of you or your business unless you can prove it’s libel or slander. If it is a fake review (and you can prove that it was posted by someone other than an actual customer), you can flag it and present your case to Google for removal.