Ranking on the first page of Google is no easy task, so it can be shocking to find a negative news article about your business securing a top spot. Considering 75% of people never scroll past the first page of search engines, this is certainly bad news (pun unintended) for your business. Add to it the perpetuity of the internet, and a single piece of news can have a devastating impact on your business’s reputation for years.
The good news is you can do something about it. We’ll show you how to remove news articles from the internet and protect your business’s online reputation.
Why Removing News Articles From the Internet Is Worth It
Getting your business featured in the news is similar to getting free advertisements. People learn about your business and the goods and services you sell, as well as discuss your business’s success and journey helping you strike a chord with your target audience.
What’s more, depending on where the news article is published, you can get local and national—even international—coverage. As people share the news clip on their respective social media profiles, The interest will eventually snowball into a much bigger piece of content that opens a lot of doors for your business in terms of brand awareness and revenue.
Now, imagine the same level of coverage and reach…but with a negative news article.
Instead of increased brand awareness and boosted revenue, you’ll find yourself struggling to generate new business and perhaps even retain current customers. Additionally, news articles also ranked higher in the SERPs, thanks to the 80+ domain authority of popular news sites like The New York Times (95 DA), The News & Observer (82 DA), and The Wall Street Journal (94 DA).
If you weigh the pros and cons, you’ll quickly see that removing negative news articles from the internet is certainly worth it to control the damaging effects on your business’s reputation.
The Investment Needed to Remove News Articles From the Internet
There isn’t a fixed price you can pay to remove unfavorable news articles from the internet. Instead, the amount will differ depending on certain variables like the complexity of the article.
For lengthy and complex news articles, the removal process is more challenging. Not only do you need to coordinate with third parties, but you must also compile adequate documentation to challenge the publication.
The other huge contributors to cost are the number of articles you want to remove and the number of platforms featuring the articles.
If the negative news piece appears on multiple online platforms, you’ll need to invest more time, work, and money to get it removed. Similarly, the higher the number of articles you want to remove, the more time and money you need to invest in addressing each article and platform.
Naturally, the whole process can get quite overwhelming. It’s why many businesses seek expert help and hire reliable online reputation management services. Our #1 recommend ORM solution, WebiMax has flexible pricing starting from $400, but you’ll have to reach out to the team for a custom quote based on your needs.
4 Steps to Remove News Articles From the Internet
Before we discuss the steps, know that removing news articles from the internet takes time.
Sometimes all you need to do is submit a removal request to the news source—but you may also have to explore other options to mitigate the reputation damage. We’ll explore each possibility in detail below.
#1 — Document All the News URLs You Want to Remove
Chances are you have more than one negative news article posted on the internet. It’s also likely the same news clip will be republished elsewhere. If you want your reputation to be speaking clean, you need to identify every website that has negative news articles about your business.
Do a Google search in Incognito mode, where you look up the heading of the news article you know about. This will bring up the article you want to remove, along with others featuring keywords or similar content as the negative piece you already know about.
Note: It’s important to be incognito to prevent Google from modifying search results based on your previous searches.
Next, perform Google searches for your company name, your name with your business name/professional titles, and your company’s other identifiable information. This will present all the negative press associated with your company and ranking in the SERP. Then document each URL, along with its ranking in the search results. This will help you organize and prioritize your article removal efforts.
You’re probably aware of how quickly users share content on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. The author of the news article often requests their followers to “spread the word“ and make the news viral. To make matters worse, controversial news articles are more likely to generate a social media frenzy.
That’s why you must also check social media to ensure you’ve documented every website that has published negative news articles relating to your business.
#2 — Reach Out to Websites Requesting Removal
Now that you know the number of news articles you want to remove and the number of platforms the news article(s) is published on, reach out to each individual publication requesting removal. Prioritize publications and websites with higher DA and that rank higher in the search engines.
Ensure you have the correct contact information for the website or publication. Then create a polite and persuasive email requesting specific edits or the removal of the entire piece from their website. Also, attach the necessary evidence of documentation to support your request.
You can also speak to a lawyer to understand whether you can request removal on valid legal grounds. The following are a few legal defenses that may be applicable in your case:
- Wire service defense
- Statute of limitations
- Newsworthiness defense
- Substantial truth doctrine
- Fair report privilege
- Incremental hard doctrine
- Opinion and fair comment privilege
Before pressing send, make sure you’re familiar with the unpublishing process of the publication.
Also, avoid making furious demands or threatening legal action. In addition to being unprofessional, this may just ruin your chances of establishing contact or getting the article unpublished at all.
#3 — Hire an Online Reputation Management Service
We’ll be honest: carrying out Step 2 is feasible only when you have a few links to remove, and even then it’s easy to mess up and create more problems for yourself.
If you want to avoid making mistakes or simply find the process tedious and overwhelming, consider hiring an online reputation management (ORM) service.
While there are several options, we highly recommend signing up with WebiMax.
As mentioned, you need to request a free code based on your reputational problem and complexity. But WebiMax is comparatively cheaper than other ORM services. Also, the company doesn’t trap you in a long-term contract, and you can work with them on a monthly basis.
If you don’t want to make a commitment right away, use WebiMax‘s free reputation analysis to see a detailed report of all the negative content about your business on the internet.
The fact that you get a proposal for removing each type of negative content, along with an estimated time period to do the same, is another benefit of using WebiMax.
#4 — Ask Google to Remove the News Article
Once you hire a service, you don’t have to do anything. Simply sit back and relax. But we want to tell you what happens when websites or publications refuse to remove the article.
The next step is to contact Google to remove the news article from its search results. But before this, you must acquaint yourself with the search engine’s search removal policy.
Here’s when Google will accept your removal request:
- The news article has been removed online but still appears in the SERPs
- The news article contains confidential login credentials or content that doesn’t comply with a court order
- The news article violates intellectual property rights (copyright, trademark)
- The news article has personally identifiable information (physical address, phone number, images of sensitive documents)
Again, it’s worth talking to an attorney or your ORM expert to know whether this will be helpful.
If the odds look favorable, go to Google‘s legal page and submit your removal request. Remember, you’ll have to specify the Google service you would like the content removed from, as well as submit a separate notice for each Google service where the content appears.
Removing a news article from the internet is a time-consuming and difficult process. In the meantime, you should channel your efforts into suppressing the negative news articles to push them off of Google’s first page.
Here, you need to do two things:
- First, create fresh new content that talks about your brand in a positive light. Make sure to add relevant keywords so that the content appears when people look up your brand or the said keyword(s) I in the search results.
- Second, optimize existing content to rank higher on search engines. In addition to including relevant keywords in the content, you can also add optimized images and incorporate internal links with the target keywords.
All these efforts combined will eventually help you build a positive brand presence on the internet. If you looking for more help, we recommend checking out other Crazy Egg posts we’ve covered: