We’ve all done things in our lives we regret. Unfortunately, in today’s day and age, those things are often found on the internet, available to potential employers, schools and any other person who enters our life. So can you protect your online reputation by having those pages removed from Google’s index?
Unfortunately, it is not as easy as you would hope for. Google clearly states on their website that they do not own the internet. This means that in order to get the pages off of Google’s search results, the website that houses the undesirable information must be changed. Your only hope of getting a change is to approach the webmaster of the offending site to request removal of the page or at least request they block the page from Google’s indexing. Google’s response if you approach them first is a polite, but firm, “We are sorry, but we can’t do anything without action by the webmaster.”
Your only hope is if the information falls into one of the categories that Google is prepared to deal with. They include:
- Social security or credit information in results
- Adult content in results, when SafeSearch has been turned on
- Inappropriate images in video results
Beyond these points, you are pretty much on your own. Once you understand that Google has no control over what is posted to the internet, it does seem to make a bit more sense. Google’s job is to tell you what is out there, not to police what is already posted to the Web.
So what is the best way to protect yourself? Be on your best behavior to keep your reputation intact, and well, if that doen’t work for you… than you’re in good company. If you do have to approach someone to get a page removed, make nice and hope for the best. If that does not work, just make sure you have lots of good stuff to make up for being less than perfect. After all, nobodys perfect.