The internet can be a very unforgiving place. From negative reviews to damaging comments to posts that feature your failures, negative links can quickly add up. And trying to refute them often only stirs up the controversy again.
To make matters worse, negative links somehow seem to become your most popular links. Because they attract a lot of attention, they often rank the highest on search engine results. The result is an unsavory picture of your brand that can be damaging to your reputation.
Negative links are difficult to shed, but not impossible. If you are wondering how to remove negative information from the internet, read on.
Becoming A Reputation Management Expert
Addressing the negative links that crop up about your brand on the internet is a part of reputation management. To truly appreciate how important deleting negative links can be, you must understand the power of search rankings.
Research has shown that the top search return on google has almost a 40 percent click through rate (CTR). The CTR on the second link is less than 20 percent. By the time you get to the fourth return, the CTR is less than 10 percent.
These statistics reveal that most people who search for your brand are going to click on the top search result. So what does it mean for your brand if that top result is a negative link? It most likely means you will not be making a sale or signing up a new client.
If this has convinced you that you should spend some time pursuing negative link removal, I have some tips for you. First, however, you need to do an honest assessment of the links. Are they justified? Did your client have a legitimate negative experience? Does your product need to be improved? Did you make a bad decision and get called on it?
If the negative links are justified, you may want to start by cleaning up your brand. Fix the product and send unhappy customers a new one (or at least a coupon). Tell the client that they were right and you can do better. Make a commitment to improve your brand’s integrity. Once that is done, it will be easier to remove negative links.
Ask For Help Removing Negative Links
A wise man once said, “You have not because you ask not.” Sometimes removing negative links is as easy as asking nicely. So start by reaching out to the site where the link is found and request that they delete the link.
When taking this approach, make sure to make a good case for removing the negative links. If the bad review was unjustified, explain what truly transpired. If the caustic comment was an anomaly, prove it. If the report is ancient history, show how your brand has changed. The site will be more helpful if you can show that the negative link does not reflect your brand.
Keep in mind you may need to be persistent when taking this step. In fact, finding the right person with whom to connect could be challenge. If the website does not provide any contact information, try sending a direct message through the site’s social channels. If you do not get a response in a few days, try again.
If the site does respond and tells you that they will not help you, keep trying. Make sure you have made a case as I outlined above. Ask them to map out what you can do to show the link is not justified. Without doing something that results in a restraining order, make sure they know you are serious about finding a solution.
Replace Negative Links By Increasing Positive Links
An alternative way to get rid of negative links is to bump them down in search results by getting positive links above them. As a result, the negative links end up becoming results that are never clicked.
You can start accomplishing this by optimizing your website to eat up more space on search results pages. In many cases, your site will rank high when someone is searching for your brand. So if the listing includes more information, there is a better chance of negative links getting bumped to page two.
Optimizing your site links is a good way to increase the space that your link takes up. Site links are the links within your site that take visitors to your “Products” page or “Media” page or “FAQs” page. If you have a well designed site map and informative site links, Google will often list several site links under your main link. Every site link that appears pushes negative links farther down the page.
Bonus tip: If your site is not ranking well on Google, check out our post on SEO for Beginners: Rank Number 1 on Google in 2022 for help.
Another quick way to take up more space on search engine results pages is with your social media profiles. Searching for brands often brings up links to their Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn pages. If you have not set up social profiles, removing negative links gives you a good excuse to do so.
Let A PR Firm Help You Remove Negative Links
Finally, you can push negative links to a place where they are not relevant by creating positive press for your brand. This takes you into the realm of public relations.
An easy PR step is creating a press release that highlights a significant accomplishment or upcoming initiative. There are dozens of press release distribution services that enable you to share your press release with news outlets. Even if the release does not inspire a news story, it becomes a positive link that can help your cause.
Of course, the ultimate goal would be to have several news outlets pick up your press release and do a story on you. By filling Google’s search results with plenty of positive links about your brand, you effectively delete negative links by burying them.
If creating a successful public relations campaign is not something that you have time for, enlist a PR firm to help. Make sure that the firm you choose has a reputation management expert on its staff with experience removing negative links. Remember, most people will find your company through Google and what they will find will be the top link. If the top link is negative, do whatever it takes to change that.