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You, a family member, or your business can be hit by a negative news article at any time. It may land anywhere from a small local news outlet to the front page of a national publication. But either way, you’ll want to remove negative news articles from search results as fast as possible.
Exactly where those articles are posted is of relatively little consequence. This is because the damage a negative news article causes most often stems from its appearance in search engines.
No matter where it’s located, once that bad news is indexed by Google or Bing, it’ll likely pop up every time someone searches your name.
Contrary to popular belief, Google won’t remove negative news articles from search pages just because you ask them to.
Of course, you could always make the request. Or, you could appeal to the news source itself, asking the site master to remove the negative article from the site altogether.
These are both reasonable options. But it’s also likely that neither will be successful. Google reports that only a tiny fraction of requests are ever considered for removal. And of those, fewer than half are ever completed.
Appealing to the news site may yield more success. But more often than not, such requests are denied. That’s because news organizations are under no obligation to remove anything, especially when the facts are not in dispute.
What are your best options to remove negative news articles?
Two techniques have shown some degree of success in efforts to remove negative news articles: suppression and reaching out to lawyers.
As you might expect, the latter is expensive. Much of what a lawyer can or will do, you can do yourself (given enough time and resources).
Suppression, however, is one of the best ways to tackle negative news articles, especially when requests to publishers and search engines have been rejected.
But before beginning your suppression campaign, it’s essential to understand the effects of negative news articles.
Once you know the worst of these effects, we’ll explore several methods to remove negative news articles from the web.
And once you understand the effects of negative news articles and the tools needed to combat them, you’re well on your way to a successful outcome.
Effects of negative news articles
Negative news articles can have long-lasting and far-reaching effects on your reputation. While bad headlines once came and went with the daily newspaper, online headlines can stick around forever.
Once indexed by the major search engines, bad news ends up dominating every search of your name, business or brand.
In the overwhelming majority of cases, this problem will not simply go away. To remove negative news articles and prevent them from ruining your reputation, you need to take action.
Negative news articles can have a significant impact on your life and career. These effects may include:
- A higher probability of rejected by schools and other organizations
- A reduced chance of finding work
- Lasting reputation damage
- Unintended harm to yourself and loved ones
- Considerable stress and anxiety
The possibility of being turned down by schools
Colleges and universities routinely search applicants online. And when one or more negative results pop up during searches of your name, they can reduce your educational prospects suffer.
With that in mind, it’s fair to say that a negative news article can potentially shape the rest of your life.
Impact on employment opportunities
Similarly, more employers than ever research candidates on the web at some point in the hiring process.
If it comes down to you and someone else, and you have negative news stories online, who’s most likely to get the job? It’s almost certain to be the other person, even if you are the better candidate.
This is particularly true when the article references a crime, even if you were later found not guilty by the law.
Lasting reputation damage
In addition to its impact on school and work opportunities, a negative news article can create lasting damage for your reputation.
From their influence on mortgage lenders and business contacts to personal relationships, negative news articles can be devastating for your online image.
Unintended harm to others
What’s more: negative news articles can often result in unintended harm for those around you.
Such stories can show up when searching the names of family members and others uninvolved in the matter. This is particularly true for those with an unusual surname – or individuals living in a small town or community.
There may also be unintended consequences for business partners, particularly when the company itself is mentioned in the article.
Unnecessary stress and anxiety
While it may be obvious, being the subject of a negative news article can cause significant stress and anxiety.
Stress, anxiety and depression can be highly detrimental to your health. This is why it’s so important not to overlook the matter.
Methods to remove negative news articles
Removing negative news articles can be achieved through a number of tried-and-true methods.
First, let’s start with contacting the website owner.
Contact the news website owners
In an ideal world, asking the site owner to remove negative content would be all that’s needed.
Unfortunately, your plea is likely to fall on deaf ears (unless you have significant grounds for removing a negative news article from the site).
If possible, try to establish one or more valid legal grounds to request removal. This can be effective when content s proven untrue, exaggerated or defamatory.
Speak to the journalist or whoever originally posted the story. They may simply tell you it’s now out of their hands. In that case, continue moving up the chain of command until you get a definitive yes or no answer.
Reach out to Google and other relevant third-parties
Ask Google for help. Contact other leading search engines such as Bing and Yahoo!
You can also contact any other relevant third parties. The first should be the company hosting the website in question.
While reaching out to Google, Bing and other search engines will likely prove unsuccessful, it’s always worth a shot.
But as far as reaching out to hosting companies and other service providers used by a website, there are a couple of things to note:
1) This is likely to be more successful when dealing with smaller news outlets. You almost certainly won’t have any success when the news site belongs to a national daily newspaper – or has a worldwide readership.
2) This method may work best as part of a two-pronged approach. Once you’ve received a ‘no’ from the site owner, you should appeal to their service providers for help.
While they may be unwilling or unable to assist, it’s likely they’ll contact their client about your request. You can use this to reopen a discussion with them on the matter.
Call your lawyer
If valid legal grounds exist, you would’ve likely already succeeded in requesting the removal. Most lawyers simply contact the news website owners and reach out to relevant third-party sources. As we’ve shown, you can do this by yourself.
The only real difference with hiring a lawyer is you’ll likely be charged a pretty penny for the privilege.
Remove negative news articles via suppression
By far, search engine suppression is the best way of ‘removing’ negative news articles from key search pages. In fact, it doesn’t actually involve having them removed at all.
Instead, suppression simply replaces those negative links with more positive news, stories and other information.
By pushing problematic results down to page two or three, you reduce the likelihood of them ever being seen – or of impacting your reputation.
In fact, experts suggest that as few as a third of people look past the top three results. Across all searches, only 5 percent look at page two.
If you can suppress a bad news article to page two, you’ve all but eliminated its impact on 95 percent of people searching your name online.
Cost: Free (or $ with professional help)
Suppressing negative news articles
To successfully suppress negative news articles, you need to publish positive news, stories and other information to replace them.
Some will gain traction, and some won’t. In the best-case scenario, just 9-10 pieces of positive information may suppress a top-ranking negative news article from the first page.
Where a top-ranking result exists on an extremely well-established or authoritative website, the process often involves a switch to other tactics.
Calling in reinforcements
Anyone armed with the necessary knowledge can utilize the methods outlined above can be completed for free.
The process may call for a little technical know-how at various stages. But the largest requirement in seeking to remove negative news articles is time. This is especially true when looking to suppress rather than remove them.
If you’re short on time or would simply prefer to call in reinforcements, we’re here to help. We have more than a decade of experience removing and suppressing harmful online content, and can help you restore control over your online footprint.
What’s more: with your online reputation in the hands of our experts, you’re free to concentrate on what’s important, including your job, your family and your career.
Want to find out more? Contact the NetReputation team today to learn about negative news article removal today.