Search Engines Don’t Want to De-Index Negative Content
Once upon a time, there was a sure-fire way to get damaging content de-indexed from search engines, even if you couldn’t get a website to remove it directly. It wasn’t easy, and it was expensive, but it could be done.
That method was to go through the time, trouble, and expense that it took to get a court order which would decry the offending content as defamatory and unlawful. You could then present the court order to Google, Bing, and other search engines and they would, in turn, de-index the content. The court order still couldn’t compel the site itself to remove the content, but it hardly mattered. De-indexed content is as good as invisible online.
Unfortunately, a recent Forbes article indicates that search engines are now looking for excuses to ignore as many of these court orders as possible. Search engine company lawyers have made it clear that they want to keep as much content indexed in their search engines as possible, no matter who that content may hurt. This is perhaps because search engines are so sensitive to the idea that anyone might “game” their systems, or because they see themselves as neutral services that are concerned with giving people the best possible information in response to their search queries.
That means that it is more important than ever to get the negative content removed. Google can’t index content which no longer exists.
On your own, such a feat may be nearly impossible. These website owners want to keep this content too. It lines their pockets.
Sometimes it takes a company with a little extra clout and expertise to get defamatory statements removed. Often, working with a reputation management company can save you from dealing with an unreliable and expensive legal process that may not actually work in your favor.
Of course, some websites won’t respond to any amount of pressure.
That means you need a second strategy to repair your reputation. You can do this by getting the Search Engines to work for you rather than against you. Negative content that’s buried on page 25 of the Search Engine Results Page may as well be de-indexed as far as the public is concerned. Burying negative results doesn’t require a court order. It requires a focused, SEO-savvy strategy that helps you build a positive web presence. Search engines are in fact reluctant to remove positive content too. That can work in your favor.
The only question is whether or not you have the time, talent, and expertise to create all of that content and all of those web properties yourself. If you do, go for it! If not, it may be a good idea to get some help so that you are not derailed in the act of attempting to run your business.