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How To Remove Articles From Internet Search Results

Learn effective techniques to remove articles from internet search results with ease.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to remove articles from internet search results in an effort to manage your online reputation.

While the saying goes that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, we don’t actually agree with that. Negative news articles carry a lot of power and can cause quite a bit of damage to a business’ or individual’s reputation. Sometimes, bad publicity is worse than no publicity at all.

Whether the negative content comes from a reputable, well-known news source or an angry customer leaving a review, your brand or personal image can suffer. And when those negative results rank highly, potential connections may discover the bad press before they get to anything positive about you or your company — which leaves a lasting first impression that’s hard to change.

A man sitting on the couch looking at his phone while searching for instructions on how to remove articles from the internet.

This can result in the loss of new business and current customers. Or, in the case of your personal reputation, it can make it difficult to get a new job (or even make it to the interview stage), connect with a dating prospect online or secure funding for a project you’ve been dreaming of.

It’s Time for Some Good News, Isn’t It?

Your online reputation can be repaired, managed and protected, so long as you know the best tactics to do so and have an ORM company on your side.

Online reputation management (ORM) companies like NetReputation help brands and individuals get rid of negative search results and present themselves in a better light. Plus, when the task at hand feels too impossible or overwhelming for you to take on alone, ORM professionals provide the expertise, tools and techniques you need at a critical time.

Let’s go over why negative news articles are so detrimental, the reasons why you need to pay attention to them, and different techniques for improving your online reputation, both by yourself and with the help of experts.

Is It Easy to Remove Negative News Articles From the Internet?

A newspaper with the headline "bad news" on it sitting on a desk, providing information on how to remove articles from the internet.

Technically, yes, it’s “easy” to remove an article of any kind from an online source.

The owner of the content and/or website simply has to take the article down — that’s it! Or, they could remove identifiable information from the article so it no longer negatively affects your image.

Either way, it’s simple for them to remove negative content. That doesn’t mean it’s easy for you to accomplish, though.

Many Publishers Won’t Be Cooperative

Actually getting in touch with the content manager and then getting them to agree to take the content down is another story.

If you’re lucky, a simple email and a polite request to remove the content will be enough and the content manager will oblige. However, more often than not, publishers won’t be so willing to work with you — if you can even get a response from them in the first place.

When a negative news article gets a lot of attention, the website owner isn’t going to want to take it down because it’s working well for the website. Even removing your personal information but keeping the article live on the website may be too big of an ask. If it’s your brand name or personal information that’s resulting in a lot of traffic and engagement, the content manager won’t want to do something that could lower the page’s performance.

Beyond that, some online publications have specific content removal policies. If the negative news story you’re worried about doesn’t fall into the category of content the site normally removes, you could be out of luck. For example, the publisher may say that the article can stay up because it’s newsworthy or because it presents the opinion of someone.

Viral Content Is Harder To Remove

Here’s another consideration: Sometimes, a negative news article spreads beyond a single publication’s control. When a piece of content goes viral and is shared over and over, removing it from one site won’t do much to improve your reputation. It could still be viewable on social media or on other sites that republished it, and it could also be referenced in detail in other negative news articles. Even if you could convince the original publisher to take it down, it’ll still be available in several other places online.

Why Don’t Some Websites Remove Negative Articles?

There are a lot of reasons why a publication or website may not want to remove a negative news article:

  • The article is newsworthy
  • There’s substantial truth in the article
  • They’re following fair reporting practices
  • The article expresses an opinion
  • The statute of limitations has ended

There are additional obstacles, many of them legal, that you may face when trying to get content removed, too. It’s possible that you’ll want to speak with a lawyer or an ORM consultant when determining your rights about content removal or if you need help understanding the obstacles you’re up against.

5 Options To Remove or Suppress Negative News Articles From Online Results

A screenshot of a google search engine page with instructions on how to remove articles from the internet.

Getting rid of negative content isn’t a simple, quick process. However, there are many ways that ORM experts remove or suppress those negative news stories so that positive content about you is discovered instead. Here are the five main steps to deleting or burying bad content and healing your online reputation:

  • Identify the negative news articles you want to remove or suppress.
  • Contact the publication to ask that they remove the content.
  • Contact Google to make a content removal request.
  • Suppress the article using various tactics.
  • Work with an ORM company to get rid of negative content.

Let’s talk about these options more in-depth.

Identify the Negative News Articles You Want To Remove

It’s important to get a full-scale view of the negative news articles circulating about you online. That way, you can make a real improvement to your reputation instead of removing just a handful of negative news stories that won’t actually have any considerable impact. Getting clear on which negative pieces you want to focus on will make it easier for you to create and stick to a strategy.

Keep a spreadsheet with all of the article titles and links you find. You can also add links to the websites’ contact pages, which will make it easier once you get to the step where you request removal. Plus, as you start contacting publishers, you can keep track of the progress and results on the spreadsheet.

Perform a Google Search for Yourself

Open a private browsing window — like the incognito window in Google Chrome — and search for your brand name or personal name.

The Google Chrome incognito window for discovering which articles to focus on for how to remove articles from internet results.

Using a private window will prevent Google from modifying results based on your search history. This means that you can get a more realistic view of your results and see what others are likely to see.

Perform a Google Search for a Negative News Article

Since you probably already know of a negative article that exists, search for that on Google. Thanks to SEO, similar results will appear below the top one, and you can find other articles online that you want to remove.

Search on Social Media

You may also want to search on social media platforms for mentions of your name or company. This is particularly helpful if there are articles or reviews that only exist on a social platform instead of elsewhere on the web.

For example, people can publish articles directly on LinkedIn. It could be easier to find that content if you search on LinkedIn than through a Google search.

Social media also makes it possible to monitor certain publications, especially if you know they’re going to be covering you or your business. By following their accounts, you can see the latest in their feeds.

Social media management can feel like a full-time job. Consider hiring a contractor or company that can take this over for you, and also keep in mind that social media monitoring is often part of what ORM companies include in their services.

Set Up Mention Alerts

A screenshot of the alerts page on a website.

In addition to identifying the existing negative news articles you want removed, set up Google Alerts or alerts from a reputation monitoring tool so that you’re notified every time your name or brand name appears online. This is how you can ensure ongoing reputation management instead of thinking of it as a one-time effort.

As new articles pop up, negative or positive, add them to your spreadsheet. Not only will you know which articles to remove or suppress, but you’ll also find out which outlets are posting positive content about you. You could then connect with those content managers to develop more content and raise your online reputation.

P.S. Google Alerts is free, making it a good option if you’re on a budget. You enter the keywords to monitor and then customize your notification preferences, like how often you want to receive an email with your alerts.

Contact the Publication

Once you have a list of articles you want removed, it’s time to contact the publications to request that they either get rid of your personal information or take the article down completely. (Note that this tactic is best if there are limited negative news articles to remove. Otherwise, it might be too difficult at scale.)

When reaching out to the publications, prioritize the ones with the most power. For example, the ones with higher domain authority and the pages that show up higher in search results should be the first ones you target.

The domain authority tool for researching websites.

Source: Moz

It’s best if you contact the correct person from the beginning because that will create less work for you overall. Generally, that’ll be the editor of the publication. Or, if there is no editor, the content manager or website owner is a good option.

If you’re not able to find a direct email for the person you want to contact, you may have to resort to the generic contact form or email address.

Learn About the Site’s Content Removal Policy

Many sites have content removal policies. While it may take some digging, you should be able to find the policy somewhere on the website, like in the terms and conditions. Understanding your rights can help you get the content taken down if it falls within their guidelines.

The content removal policy page also may have contact information for the right person to get in touch with.

Submit Your Request for Content Removal

When making a request for content removal, stay professional and calm. If you send an angry or incomprehensible message, the publisher is less likely to take you seriously and work with you on the issue. Don’t attack the website owner, marketing team, content manager, writer or anyone else involved.

Instead, approach the publication in a way that could garner sympathy.

  • Pinpoint the negative news article and content that’s causing a problem.
  • Explain what’s problematic about the content.
  • Tell the publisher how it’s negatively affecting your business or life.
  • Offer options. For example, ask them to either remove the content or at least take your photo down and make your name anonymous.

It’s also helpful if you can submit supporting documents. For example, if a publication is inaccurately reporting about your criminal history, you could submit documents that showcase the facts. A separate impact statement may also help you better communicate how the negative content is affecting you.

Keep At It

It’s possible that your first attempt won’t be received, responded to or acted upon. Don’t give up just yet!

First, try to confirm that you’re communicating with the correct person. It’s important to focus your efforts on the person who can take action. If you have to use the generic contact form, start by sending a message that asks who you should contact.

If you’re contacting the correct person but they won’t remove the content, try to get in touch with their supervisor or someone in a higher position. For example, if the writer won’t make changes to the negative news article, you may want to contact the content coordinator or the website owner.

In general, contact anybody in a position of authority until you’ve run out of options. And if you’re not having luck via email, don’t hesitate to make a phone call. People may be more willing to act if you get them on the phone and speak with them directly.

Ask Google to Remove the Content

A screen showing the page for how to remove articles from internet results.

Google doesn’t own the content that appears in search results, so the company can’t exactly delete negative news articles altogether. However, there are times when Google will remove certain content from its search results, which can be almost as good as having it taken down completely.

While the negative news article may still exist online, most people won’t be able to find it or even know it’s there if it doesn’t show up in Google results. This may be a good enough solution for you, or you may want to have the negative news article removed from search results while you continue working on having it taken down permanently.

Keep in mind that Google is unlikely to remove negative news articles unless you can prove that it’s defamatory, false, misleading or unverified. Google considers removing content that meets one of the following guidelines:

  • The article violates copyright or trademark rights.
  • The content is outdated and is no longer online even though it’s still in search results.
  • The content includes protected information about an individual.
  • The content doesn’t comply with a court order.

When making your request to Google, provide as much information as possible.

Suppress Negative News Articles

When you can’t remove a negative news article from the internet, your next best option is to suppress it.

Suppression means that positive or neutral content is published and optimized to take the top-ranking positions so that the negative content gets pushed so far down it’s rarely discovered.

If you push a Google result to the second or third page, it’s far less likely to be found than if it showed up in the top 10 results.

Figure Out the Negative Article’s Keywords

A person typing on a laptop, researching how to remove articles from the internet.

An article’s keywords have a major effect on how well it ranks in search engine results. Knowing the keywords for high-ranking negative news stories gives you a starting point for creating content that can compete. This requires knowing how to perform keyword research, so you may need to hire a specialist. Or, you can work with an ORM company, as services typically include SEO.

Create New Content and Optimize Existing Content

Google likes new, fresh content, so part of your suppression strategy should be creating articles, press releases, social media posts, etc. (And once you’ve created new content, don’t forget to promote it on your social channels, in your newsletters, etc.)

Plus, since new content can take a long time to rank, you also want to optimize the content that’s already out there.

Here are a few best practices for creating SEO-friendly content:

  • Add keywords to the page title and headers.
  • Include the primary and secondary keywords in the article body.
  • Add relevant images and write alt text for them.
  • Incorporate internal links that drive traffic to other positive content on your site.

You can learn more about our SEO services here.

Hire an ORM Company to Help

A person using a smartphone with stars on it while searching for how to remove articles from the internet.

The process of having negative news articles removed from online sources can be a time-consuming and frustrating one. You may even feel that it’s necessary to hire an attorney and file legal paperwork.

There’s another option, though, before you get to that point: Hiring an ORM company to provide guidance and take many of the content removal tasks off your hands.

This is the best option for content removal because ORM companies deal with it all the time — it’s their specialty. They have the tools needed to monitor your reputation and find negative articles; connections with publishers to encourage them to remove content; advanced suppression methods; and, most importantly, the time and dedication to handle the job while you focus on other areas of your business or life.

At NetReputation, you can schedule a free consultation to speak with a reputation management expert about your situation and options. If you’d like to move forward, we’ll send you a detailed statement of work with your proposal. There’s still no obligation at this point, so you can decide if we’re a good fit for your needs.

FAQ About How To Remove Articles From Internet Results

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How do you remove negative news articles from the internet?

There are a few different ways to remove negative news articles or negative search results from the internet. First, you can directly contact the publisher to ask them to take the content down or to change the content so it no longer includes private or sensitive information. Second, you can ask Google to remove the pages from search results. Third, you can suppress the content so that it no longer shows up on the first page of Google results.

How long does a negative article stay on the internet?

Negative news articles can stay online indefinitely. If the site remains active and the page stays published, the negative news article will continue to be online.

However, even if an article stays online forever, that doesn’t mean it’ll be in the top search results forever. It’s possible to bury search results with neutral and positive content. This may also happen naturally over time as unrelated articles sharing the same keywords as the negative article take the top results spots.

Can you get a negative article removed from Google?

Google doesn’t own all the content that appears in results, but there are times when you can get the search results for a negative article removed from Google. The search engine uses discretion when deciding which type of content should be removed. It’s important to submit a request for the specific type of content you want removed, such as outdated content or a Google Images result.

What can I do if content is removed but the search results are still showing up?

What happens if you successfully had content removed but it’s still showing up in Google search results? In this case, you can ask that Google remove the outdated content.

Request a refresh of outsourced content in google search and learn how to remove articles from the internet.

You’ll enter the URL of the page with the outdated content and then submit the removal request. There are two different responses you may see:

  • A message that says the image or page content hasn’t been removed by the website owner.
  • A message that says the content is no longer live on the site.

From there, you can follow the prompts to learn more or submit your request.

Do I Have To Get Negative Articles Removed From Search Results?

A woman covering her face while being surrounded by reporters, wondering how to remove articles from the internet.

Removing negative news articles from Google search results is no easy task, and you may be wondering if it’s worth it at all.

Think of it this way: What if that one negative news article was a positive one? Here’s what you could look forward to:

  • Free advertising thanks to being featured in publications
  • Potential customers learning about the products or services you sell
  • Connecting with your audience over your professional or personal journey
  • Extra coverage as local, national and international publishers pick up the information
  • Spreading information on social media platforms

When you consider the positive impacts of a great article about you or your business, it’s easy to see and appreciate the snowball effect it can create.

What if that effect were negative, though?

You’d never want that amount of coverage for something that could be damaging to your online reputation, your personal life, your employees or your sales, right? By seeing it through that lens, it’s clear that removing negative news articles is worth it for the sake of limiting the damage they can do.

NetReputation Can Help You Control All the Negative Content Affecting Your Reputation

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The benefits of removing negative articles about you or your business are practically immeasurable. While you could do the math and figure out how much you’d lose vs. retain or gain by getting rid of negative search results, it’s harder to put a value on a promising future. ORM companies help individuals and brands succeed now and later.

The more negative articles out there, and the lengthier those articles are, the more difficult it is to have them removed entirely or from search results. It can also be difficult to bury them with positive content, especially if you’ve never had to suppress content before.

What Does Content Removal Require?

Here’s everything you’d need to know and do in order to clean up the mess that negative press can create:

  • Know which tools to use and how to use them, and spend money to buy them
  • Find any and all negative mentions of yourself or your business
  • Find and connect with numerous people to ask that the content be removed
  • Go through Google’s channels to request search results removal
  • Create and optimize content to replace negative results with positive ones

Not only does that sound like a full-time job, but it’s also a specialized one. You might need to spend a lot of time learning about SEO or content creation before you can successfully do even part of what’s required.

Plus, as you’re going through all of this, more negative articles could pop up!

The entire process is, understandably, overwhelming. That’s why ORM companies like NetReputation exist — to handle reputation management for you so you can spend your time improving your personal life or your company.

Contact us today at 844-461-3632 to speak with an ORM expert. We’ll discuss your specific needs and suggest a course of action that you can take if you’d like to move forward.

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