Oftentimes potential clients come to us asking to delete unwanted information appearing about them in the first pages (or more) or the search results.
So to set the record straight, once and for all – we don’t delete information from Google’s, or for that matter any search engines’, search results.
While it would be an interesting plot for an action film (and kind of cool), we don’t break into Google’s headquarters in the middle of the night wearing ski masks to fiddle with the servers.
Instead, we push down unwanted results by uploading more accurate, up to date content or by promoting positive information already out there online.
Usually, this is a process that takes time and isn’t guaranteed.
This has to do with the strength of the search result.
The strength of a search result is a combination of many factions: the perceived relevancy of the unwanted result, the strength of the platform on which it sits and outgoing and inbound links, to name a few.
Are people clicking?
Unwanted results come in all shapes and sizes. From angry forum posts to newspaper articles to court verdicts to gossip columns – and everything in between.
If a search result contains juicy gossip, no matter how old or irrelevant to today, people, being people, are going to click on the result. The same goes if it has a catchy headline.
When people click on the unwanted result, Google sees it as still being relevant and will keep ranking it highly in the SERPs (search engine results page). Consequently, pushing down such a result will take more time and determination.
That is also why ORM projects that at first appear straight forward, might take longer than originally expected – people are clicking on that result thereby teaching Google that the result is interesting and relevant to searchers.
For this very same reason, we ask our clients NOT to click on the search results they are looking to push down. By clicking, they are strengthening that site.
Google gives certain websites more authority than others. These websites include news sites (BBC, The New York Times, Huffington Post), .gov sites and academic sites, large magazines, etc. The bigger and more famous the website on which a search result appears, the more difficult and time consuming it will be to push it down.
To further complicate matters, search results that sit on the same platform can vary in their strength depending on the keywords used, the title of the text, how old the article is and backlinks.
No two search results are ever created equal. Carefully researching each search result and then setting the correct expectations and goals are fundamental to understanding the progress of any ORM project.