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How to Suppress Negative Search Results in 2024?

Suppress Negative Search Results

Content suppression is actually a form of search engine optimization. The focus is on negative or unwanted search results appearing on Google and other search engines.

But why suppress? Can’t they be deleted? Well, the chances of deleting the negative search results are very low.

It can only be done if you are the sole owner of the negative content. If not, then you can just send a request for removal from the party that owns it, which most of the time is not accepted. Another way is to take legal help but that will also work only if you have solid grounds.

Further Reading: How to Remove Negative Search Results from Google?

Also, search engines like Google do not allow removal of content unless it breaches their prohibited and restricted content policies.

Therefore, you are only left with the option of suppressing negative search results, whether it is on Google or any other search engine.

So, let’s talk about how it works.

What is Negative Content Suppression?

Negative content suppression involves the outranking of negative content with the help of positive content. Therefore, the ultimate goal is to suppress the negative content from page one to page two and then to third, fourth, and so on in the search results.

But why page two and beyond? Wouldn’t people be able to see the negative content on the second page and beyond? Well, they would but the chances of people going on the second page and beyond is very low.

Look back at how many times have scrolled to page two, third, or beyond when you search for something on Google. Most people don’t. And even stats don’t lie.

According to Advanced Web Ranking’s latest April 2024 data on Google’s Organic SERP Click-through Rates, the organic CTR for Page 2 of the Google SERPs is 2.15%, which means only 2.15 people out of 100 scrolls to the second page of a SERP.

latest CTR stats from advanced web ranking                                                    Image Credit: Advanced Web Ranking

Backlinko also studied the organic click-through rates and their findings also came out to be somewhat similar. According to the study, a few searchers visit the 2nd page of the SERP and beyond.

latest CTR stats from backlinko

                                                                      Image Credit: Backlinko

Examples of Negative Content Getting Suppressed by Positive Content

Let’s take Prince Harry for instance as an example of a negative search. Recently, Harry and his wife were involved in a controversy related to the legality of their Archewell Foundation, which has been labeled as delinquent by the California authorities.

So, now if you search for Prince Harry on Google, you will see the following search results:

positive and negative search results of Prince Harry on SERPs                                                                     Image Credit: Google

The links that are pointed with green arrows have positive content and the ones pointed with red arrows have negative content. What’s evident is that positive content has the capability to position itself above negative content in the SERPs.

Therefore, if keep on creating and publishing positive content, the suppression of negative will happen.

How to Suppress Negative Google Search Results?

The step-by-step process to suppress negative search results is:

Step 1: Research Keywords with Negative Content

Step 2: Optimize Positive or Neutral Content

Step 3: Build New Websites

Step 4: Create New Social Profiles

Step 5: Publish on Third Party Sites

Step 6: Optimize for Featured Snippets

Step 7: Create Backlinks

Step 8: Leverage PR Campaigns

Step 9: Track Keywords Regularly

 

Now, let’s learn how to perform each of the above steps in detail.

First, Research the Keywords on Which Negative Content is Appearing

What exactly do you search on Google that shows negative content related to you? That’s what you’ve to identify the keywords first – keywords that are showing negative links related to you, your personal brand, or your business.

A simple example of this – the negative search results related to you might show up when someone searches your name (Prince Harry for instance). If the negative content is related to a business, then it will show up when the business name is searched.

Also, negative content can appear on other keyword combinations such as business name along with the negative event/activity the business was involved in. In that case, you’ve to search for “company name + negative event”.

So, whatever the case it is – whether your personal brand, business, or any other asset related to you is in question, make sure you are researching and identifying the keywords in the right way on which negative content is appearing.

If you do that correctly, you are on the right track to suppress negative search results from Google or any other search engine.

 

Check Which Content is Ranking Higher – Positive, Neutral, or Negative

After researching the keywords, the next step is to find the intent or in more precise words the sentiment of the content that is being preferred by Google’s algorithms.

You have to categorize all the content that is showing up into three sentiment categories i.e. positive, neutral, and negative.

Positive content is a plus point and an advantage for us. Down the road, we will aggressively promote positive content online so that it suppresses the negative links.

Neutral content is okayish, which means we’ve got to work on making it positive too. We won’t make all neutral content to be positive because then things would look shady or doubtful.

Negative content is what we have to sideline, monitor, and take note of. Because that’s the content that we are trying to get rid of. The strategy would be simple – prioritizing positive and neutral link assets, making them authoritative so that Google and other search engines start giving them more ranking preference than the negative link assets.

So, categorize and label the higher-ranking results into three sentimental categories. Make an Excel sheet or something and paste all the positive/neutral and negative links on it. Save it for future purposes like monitoring and progress of the negative link suppression campaign.

Let’s go back to Prince Harry’s example again to see what negative, positive, and neutral content links look like in the SERPs:

negative positive and neutral search results of prince harry                                                                         Image Credit: Google

So, if you look at the above screenshot of the Google search results page that appears when we search Prince Harry, the links pointed with green arrows are positive content, the blue arrows are neutral content, and the red arrows are negative content.

Therefore, it makes sense to not touch the positive link much because it is already ranking above the negative and instead optimize the neutral links so that they outrank the negative link.

If You Own Positive or Neutral Content, Optimize it

So, now you have segregated the positive, neutral, and negative content into three different categories of their own.

Just keep the negative content aside for a while. Make sure you don’t click on those negative links because if you do, the SERPs will give more preference to them, deem them to be active, and show them higher up in the SERPs.

Move to the links that are positive or neutral. Now, there’s a trick while doing that – do not choose the positive/neutral links that are already ranking above negative links. Only go for those that are ranking below the negative links.

Optimize them for SEO so that they can outrank the negative search results.

The point to be noted here is that you can only optimize the content that you own not the one that you don’t own or have control over it.

This kind of SEO optimization is known as On-Page SEO Optimization. It is the process of making sure that a certain page/content link is well aligned with the search intent of the keyword we are trying to rank it for. In other words, it should be optimized for that keyword because that’s when it will rank on top.

The process of On-Page Optimization typically involves:

  • Use the keyword you are trying to rank for in the title tag of the page
  • The page headings also must have that keyword in it
  • The keyword density of the keyword should be optimum in the content
  • Do some internal linking with other positive/neutral content types using keywords as anchor text
  • Make sure the content satisfies the search intent behind the keyword
  • Add images to the page – relevant images that are related to the keyword. Also, optimize their file names and add alt text to them

 

Learn More: The Complete Guide to On-Page Optimization

 

Build New Website(s) for Yourself or for Your Business

This one can be the trump card in your campaign to suppress negative information on Google. Creating new websites related to keywords on which you want to rank will help outrank the negative content.

So, buying domain names that contain the keyword in it would be best. Often domain names that exactly match the keyword are available. For example, if the negative content is showing on the keyword “tom hunt”, then the domain name “tomhunt.com” might be available. And these kinds of domains perform really well on the SERPs, which is evident from the following example:

exact match domain example of mark manson

                                                                     Image Credit: Google

The above example is of the famous author Mark Manson. Mark owns an exact match domain on his name. So, whenever you search for his name on Google, his domain, which has his name in it will show up in the #1 position.

So, what does that mean? If you have negative content appearing on your name and you want to suppress it, buy a domain that has your name in it. Let’s say your name is Tyler Durden, so buy a domain that is “tylerdurden.com”.

In case, if it’s not available for purchase and is already taken, buy a domain that still has your name in it but with a slight variation, like:

  • realtylerdurden.com
  • officialtylerdurden.com

 

There’s a more aggressive approach that you can take if you want to suppress negative search results faster. You can buy multiple domain names having your name along with a variety of variations. Variations can be:

  • Your name + your profession 1
  • Your name + your profession 2
  • Your name + your location

 

This way, you will have multiple websites under your name or the keyword you are targeting.

Create New or Optimize Existing Social Profiles

Social profiles are important, and they become even more important when you are trying to suppress negative search results that appear by your name.

Google and other search engines prefer to show social profiles whenever a person’s name is searched. Let’s go back to the example of Mark Manson:

instagram and twitter profiles of Mark Manson showing up in SERPs                                                                         Image Credit: Google

It is evident in the above screenshot that if you search Mark Manson on Google, you will see his website first, then his Instagram handle, and in third position his X (formerly Twitter) account.

mark manson youtube profile in google search results page                                                                          Image Credit: Google

And at the fifth position, you can see Mark’s YouTube channel, which again is a social profile.

So, it’s clear that Google prefers ranking social profiles more than any other kind of content, especially in the case of “person name” search queries.

Therefore, optimizing your existing social profiles would be the best option. If you don’t have any, creating them as soon as possible. According to a study published on Search Engine Land, here are the most appearing social profile sites on the Google SERPs:

 

Thus, it makes sense creating social profiles on these sites.

Create Positive Content and Publish it on Third-Party Sites

This is going to be one of the most important aspects if you want to suppress negative search results. 

Writing keyword-targeted positive content and then publishing it on third-party sites will help to outrank the negative Google results.

One thing that you must keep in mind while doing this is that you’ve to choose reputable and high-authority sites only. Because if you choose low-quality sites and sites with low authority, the content you publish on them won’t perform well and your efforts to suppress negative search results will go in vain.

Here are some reputable third-party sites that allow content distribution:

You can also pitch your content to big new media websites such as Forbes, New York Times, etc. Plus, look out for influencers and bloggers in your niche because collaborating with them will help you in getting your content published on their site.

Optimize Content for Featured Snippets

Featured snippets are really powerful. Whenever you search a query on Google, if you get an answer in the following manner, then you are viewing a featured snippet.

a featured snippet on the Google search results page                                                                            Image Credit: Google

The above-featured snippet is in the form of a paragraph with 2-3 sentences. Featured snippets also appear in bulleted or numbered lists, such as:

example of a numbered feature snippet in the google search results                                                                      Image Credit: Google

Google automatically generates a featured snippet for a web page. But there’s some optimization that can be done so that your content also gets featured in the snippets. Here are some tips to optimize your content for featured snippets:

  • Use “What is” in your content heading
  • Direct the sentence in “is” form and structure
  • Define the topic completely
  • Don’t use first-person language and brand names

Mimic the format of featured snippets

Create Backlinks for Owned Content, Social Profiles, and Other Assets

Backlinks are important as they help websites rank higher in the search engines. So, the focus shouldn’t be only on creating new content and publishing it on third-party sites rather also creating backlinks to that content.

Backlinks are like votes and Google sees them in that way. The more votes your content has the more authority your content will gain and the higher it will rank, ultimately outranking the negative content.

There are lot of ways to build backlinks. If you’re a beginner at it, then here’s backlink building guide from Ahrefs that might help.

Further, internal links are something that you should be considering. If you just create all the positive content, create social profiles, and publish articles but do not link them with each other, then you won’t be receiving a boost in Google’s search results.

Here are some tips for internal linking:

  • Link all your author bios with each other
  • Link your social profiles with each other
  • Link blogs and articles that you publish on third-party sites with your website
  • Add your website’s link wherever you publish your content
  • Link your blog posts with each other but do it relevantly

 

Use PR to Your Advantage

It might sound a little old-fashioned, but it still works. If your business or you as a personal brand is in question and search engines are showing negative content related to them, then getting some press releases published can help.

You can get your PR news articles published on websites such as Forbes, The New York Times, etc. as these websites show these articles higher in the search engine results.

In fact, you can create a full-blown PR campaign in which other PR-friendly activities can also be included. Interviews, podcasts, digital conferences – all these activities can be leveraged to suppress negative content from Google and other search engines.

 

Regularly Track the Keywords on Which Negative Content Appears

Yes, tracking and monitoring are very important, especially in the case of content suppression campaigns.

It becomes even more important in the wake of regular algorithmic updates that tend to fluctuate the search results. So, one day you will see negative content getting buried in two positions and the other you will see it coming back up in the SERPs.

Therefore, to make sure the campaign is running well, and you are well on your way to achieving the desired goals, you’ve got to regularly track the keywords on which negative content appears as well as the positive.

It will give you an idea of which link you have to focus more on and which not.

 

FAQs

What are negative search results?

Negative search results are links, content, or web pages that reflect an individual, business, or company in an unfavourable light. Negative results can be in the form of reviews, news articles, documents, images, videos, or any other form of digital content.

Why is negative content suppression important?

It’s important to suppress negative search results because they can harmfully impact the reputation of an individual or a business. Consequently, individuals can face downfall in their career and the business can face difficulties capturing new clients.

How does suppression of negative Google results work?

To suppress negative search results, strategies to push down unwanted or negative content in search engines like Google are used. These strategies involve creating positive content, building new websites, building social profiles, leveraging PR campaigns, promoting content on third-party sites, and creating backlinks to positive content.

How to remove or push down negative Google search results?

You can remove negative Google search results by completely deleting them if you own and control them. If those search results are in the control of third parties, you’ll have to request them for removal.

Does Google suppress search results?

Google does not suppress search results. It’s the websites that are competing with each other on a particular search query that can suppress and outrank each other by creating better content, SEO optimization, and more backlinks.

 

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