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Remove Defamation/Libel From Google's Search Results

Updated on September 30, 2011

Defamation, libel (slander) in the search results

There are various reasons why you may want to remove certain information such as defamation from the search results. Because it may affect your chances of getting a job, because you don't want friends and family to see it or if you are a business you may be losing customers by having a negative comment show up on the first page of search engines such as Google and Bing.

So how to remove the information?

You first need to get the information blocked or removed from the original website before it can be taken off the search engine results pages. Google and most other search engines do not typically remove defamation from the search results if the content is still live on the web page.

Remove the content - You will need to as the webmaster of the site to either remove the entire page and get it it to return with a 404 (page not found error) or to keep the page active but to remove the keywords that are causing the search result to appear in Google (i.e. your name). Getting the page taken down with a 404 is best as you can use the Google web page removal tool to expedite the complete removal from the search index.

Blocked from search engines - The webmaster of the site has the option of preventing Google and other search engines from including pages in the search results. The webmaster can add a "noindex" meta tag or a robots.txt directive to tell search engines not index a given page. Once this has been completed you can use the Google web page removal tool to expedite it's removal from the search engine.


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What if the webmaster won't remove the defamation?

If the webmaster refuses to remove the offending content or to block search engines then Google will not allow you to remove the result. The Google removal tool is 100% automated and looks to see if the page is a 404 or if the keywords (such as your name) have been removed from the page, if they haven't the tool will deny your request.

Get negative search results pushed down to page 2 of Google

It is a well known fact that very few people click through to the second page of the search results, so if you can get the defamation pushed off the first page then only a small percentage of people will ever see it, if you can get it down to page 3 then less than 1% of web searchers will ever see it.

Reputation management

On-line reputation management includes the creation of positive content that will appear on page 1 of the search results, think Facebook, Myspace, a blog, articles and press releases and you are still only scratching the surface - there are hundreds of sites that allow you to create content that will appear in the search results. Most places do not charge a fee either.

On this hub you can find a ton of helpful info on reputation management for small businesses and individuals, it also contains a list of places to create content.

FYI The Google web page removal tool is here, it only works if the web page has been taken down or is blocked.


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