What are your rights when it comes to dealing with negative content in the search results?
- According to a ruling by a 2014 EU court, everyone has “the right to be forgotten” online. Based on that ruling, Google changed its practices. People can now request the removal of links that contain their personal details. To request the removal of a link, use the Internet-based form provided by Google. When filling out the form, you have to provide your full name and your mailing address. You also have to submit a copy of a valid photo ID. Remember – this court ruling took place in Europe. If you are in the US or anywhere else in the world, you may not have as much success with this tactic.
- Use the URL removal tool provided by Google. This tool won’t work for every situation but it can be useful under certain circumstances. For instance, imagine that you shut down your old account on MySpace. Even though your account is closed, the listing is still showing up in Google’s search results. In this case, you can ask to have the link removed.
- Another valid reason to request the removal of the link is if the content is illegal. Google provides a special form that you can use to request the removal of content that breaks the law. According to VelSEOity, this is very common with troublesome domains such as ripoff report and a good way to get a link removed.
- If you are dealing with extremely negative content that could ruin your reputation or harm your business, consider seeking help from a lawyer. Although this option is costly, it is worth it in many cases. Just remember that the content needs to meet the legal definition of defamation. According to the Digital Media Law Project, offensive statements on their own aren’t considered defamatory from a legal standpoint. To qualify as defamation, the content has to be false and has to have the potential to cause serious harm to your personal or professional life. You can read the full legal description of defamation on their site. If the content in question is serious enough to meet these requirements, a lawyer who specializes in defamation cases can help protect your rights.