When people find negative publicity about themselves online, the first reflex is often to “bury” negative search results by making lots of new profiles and pages on other domains. This occasionally works well… but it’s usually an incredibly slow process — and it often fails completely.
Here’s why: Google likes and trusts the domain that is showing the negative result. That’s why it shows up on the first page. It’s sometimes a lot easier to create a new page on the same domain, than it is to try and create dozens of new pages on other domains and build trust for them. Try to leverage the trust of the domain that Google already loves!
How to Bury Google Search Results
Google likes to show pages from multiple different domains on the first page. Usually it will pick a single listing from 10 different domains to fill up the first 10 results. If a domain is trusted and it has closely matching content, Google will sometimes show one or two additional pages “indented” below the first listing from the main domain.
But many times, if you can create a newer, far more link-rich and “better” page on the exact same domain – it will just throw the bad search result onto page 2 or 3!
How to Bury Bad Blog Posts
If you are mentioned negatively in a Huffington Post article that wasn’t a big hit, then register for the site with your full name and get your own social profile page – and participate heavily to build internal linkjuice. You could also become one of the guest bloggers for the Huffington Post local metropolitan areas and cover some local events. You’ll get another “author” page with your name in the URL… Point some external links to these new pages and see if you can get Google to see those pages as more linked-to and more relevant page on the Huffington Post. If you’re successful, your “bad” article may drop out of the search results for your name.
If you can’t become a guest blogger or make a profile on the blog, you might be able to comment strategically and point links at a specific blog comment URL (if the content management system creates them).
How to Bury Bad Newspaper Stories or “Police Blotter” Listings
If your arrest was written up in a newspaper’s police blotter, and the editors refuse to change or delete it, then your best bet is to make a more flattering page on the same domain and get Google to notice it. Write top-notch letters to the editor until one of them is published with your full name and placed online. If the site accepts blog-style comments, then comment, using your full name, on other articles on the site. Hang out at local events where reporters are certain to be present and hound them with quotes until they take down your name and age. Do some serious PR and do whatever it takes to get mentioned in that publication in a positive or neutral light. As a last resort – take out an online classified at a yearly rate or write up a fake obituary for someone with the same name as yours (born in 1911).
Then point links at this new & neutral page mentioning your name, using proper anchor text, and wait for Google to love it even more.
How to Edit Negative Wikipedia Articles Out of Google
You can make your own user page (example) on Wikipedia and build internal and external links. You can sneak your name into the footnotes of neglected, unwatched articles… and chatter away on vacant talk pages. You can create articles and stubs about your organization and pray they won’t be deleted – snipe away the deletion flags in the middle of the night – sometimes it works!
How to Remove Negative Forum Posts
If there’s a bad post about you on a forum that’s showing up in the search results, join the forum and surreptitiously post your own neutral thread. Point links to it.
How to Remove Negative Digg, Reddit, Mixx or Propeller Stories
If someone submitted a story about you to a social news site and it didn’t get many votes, you might be able to remove it by submitting a neutral story with your name in the headline. Point links to your new story’s URL on the same social news site. Create your own tag page on Propeller or Delicious. Make your own subdomain on StumbleUpon or Ning. Then pray.
How to Bury Negative BlogCatalog Result Pages
There’s a blog directory site called BlogCatalog which has a lot of trust and authority (PageRank 7, 16 million inlinks) in Google. BlogCatalog that indexes blog posts on a number of given topics. If you are mentioned or tagged in a negative blog post on a two-bit, unknown domain… that blog post might not show up on the front page of Google but the negative info can show up on Blog Catalog’s category pages- which are likely to show up in the search results. (Because the BlogCatalog domain is stronger and more trusted than the small blog who first wrote about you.)
So submit your own blog to BlogCatalog and tag yourself in some posts. Or hire other bloggers who are members of the network to mention you in tags or in the headline. The bad listings will wash off the first page of the BlogCatalog topic pages, and eventually when the BlogCatalog topic page gets crawled by Google again… you’ll have a clean online reputation.
Stealthy, Strategic ORM vs. the “Caveman” Approach
Try these techniques first… before you engage in the “caveman” approach of trying to create new pages on 10-to-20 different domains and rank all of them. If making a new, neutral page on the same domain and ranking it proves impossible… then should you try to bury negative content through more brute force.
Do you have any personal experience (or ideas) on how to bury negative publicity in the search engines without trying to outrank it using other domains?