How to Remove News Articles from Search Results

11 min read
Nov 15, 2022 12:38:51 PM

Have you ever scrolled through the news and felt bombarded by all the negative headlines?

You know the kind:

  • "Local Man Accused…"
  • "Neighborhood Business Owner Indicted…"
  • "Big Bust in Local Sting Operation…"

Yeah, it's everywhere. And if you're the person in those articles, it feels like you carry a huge weight.

Suddenly, it seems like everyone's against you, and you're stuck wondering if it's time to pack up and change your name.

But hold on—don't rush to disappear. This isn't your entire story.

Here's the thing: Bad news, especially the kind that's inaccurate or old, can really mess with how people see you or your business online.

But don't worry, there's hope.

You can actually do quite a bit to make those annoying articles less visible or gone altogether.

Instead of frantically looking for a magic "delete" button on Google, let's talk about smart ways to clean up your online presence.

How can you remove articles from Google?

Negative content on big sites, like news websites, can really spread far and wide. The more people see it, the bigger the impact – and not in a good way.

So, here are 7 smart ways to remove articles from search results.


Option 1: Contact the newspaper editor.

If you want to get a news article removed from search results, a good first move is to reach out to the newspaper's editor. This method is pretty direct and can work fast, especially if you've got a strong reason why the article should be taken down.

You can use tools like DomainTools or Whois to find the web admin’s contact information.

find the owner of a website

Your Action Plan

  1. Find the Right Person: Look for the editor's contact info or whoever's in charge of content. You'll typically find this on the publication's "Contact Us" page.
  2. Make Your Case: Write a respectful and clear request. Tell them why the article should be off the web, backing it up with any important details or proof.
  3. Highlight Key Issues: Explain the distress this article is causing everyone involved. 

 contacting the editor


 asking for article removal

Before you reach out to the editor, having a plan in place is crucial. If the publisher doesn't agree to take down the article, your next step should be to make it less visible in search results.

If you spot a mistake in the article, letting the publisher know might lead them to update it. An update in the content can make it more visible online, as the update can make it seem more relevant to search engines. Be sure to ask for the article to be removed.


Option 2: The Newspaper can add a “no-index” tag

Ask the newspaper to add a "no-index" tag on the page. It's like making the article invisible to Google and other search engines without actually deleting it.

What's a No-Index Tag?

Think of a "no-index" tag as a bit of code in the website's background that tells search engines, "skip this page." The article stays up, but it's hidden from anyone using Google to search it.

Asking for a No-Index Tag

Reach out to the newspaper like you would if you were trying to get the article removed. But this time, you're asking them to hide it from search engines instead. Point out how people searching for you are getting bad information.

Here is the code: Place the following meta tag into the <head> section of the page:

 <meta name="robots" content="noindex">

 how to add a no-index tag

A no-index tag is a good alternative for removing the article.

It's perfect for when website owners want to help you but aren't ready to remove articles completely. This way, you both win: the content stays, but it's not connected to your name.


Option 3: Ask Google to De-Index

When the website owner refuses to remove the article and the editor won't add a "no-index" tag, your next step is to ask Google to remove the article from their search results. 

How to Ask Google to Remove an Article:

  1. Why Google Might Agree: Google needs a good reason to take something off their search results. This could be because it's violating their guidelines or you have a court order.
  2. Legal Removal Form: If the article breaks the law or shares private info, Google has a form where you can ask them to take it down.
  3. What You Need: Be ready to show proof that supports your request. This might include legal documents, screenshots, and previous communication with the website admin.

Asking Google to remove an article is a bit more formal and might need you to gather evidence. But if an article is causing trouble or stress, it's an option worth considering.

asking google to remove content

Google also removes content for specific legal reasons, such as DMCA copyright violation reports and child sexual abuse imagery. 

Collect all the information that will help Google decide and file a report.


Option 4: Leverage the Right to Be Forgotten

This is the best option if you live in places like the EU and Argentina. (Not Applicable in the U.S.)

Understanding the Right to Be Forgotten

  • What It Is: It lets you ask search engines (like Google) to remove links to information about you that's outdated or not relevant anymore.
  • When You Can Use It: If something online about you is wrong, no longer relevant, or has minimal public interest, you can ask to remove it from search results. It's a balance between public interest and personal privacy.

How to Make a Request

  • Step 1: Gather Your Evidence: Show why the info should be taken down. Is it old news? Is it wrong? Make your case.
  • Step 2: Explain the Impact: Tell them why this matters to you. Is it hurting your reputation? Is it causing you stress? Get specific about how it's affecting you.
  • Step 3: Know the Rules: Each place has its own set of rules for the Right to Be Forgotten. Make sure your request fits the bill in your area.

Right to be forgotten form

If you live in an area that accepts the Right to be Forgotten, you can file a report here


Option 5: Getting a court order.

When you are dealing with content that's breaking the law, a lawyer can send a "cease and desist" letter. This approach is especially effective against smaller sites that might not have the resources to fight a legal battle.

Why go for a lawyer? 

  • Expertise: Lawyers know their way around the law, making it easier to deal with stuff like slander or privacy issues.
  • Cease and Desist Letters: A stern letter from your lawyer can make people sit up and take notice, even when they've ignored your previous pleas.
  • Going to Court: If things get really serious, your lawyer can take it to the next level by starting legal action against the publisher.

file a legal removal request with Google

Things to consider: lawyers aren't cheap, and there's no promise you'll win.

The road through the legal system can be long and winding, needing a lot of patience. Plus, court battles are expensive.

It's all about weighing the cost against how much you want that content gone.

Think about this route when you've tried everything else or when the issue has big legal consequences.


Option 6: Hire a Reputation Management Company

Why not go beyond just content removal? 

Imagine this scenario: You get rid of one negative article, but then another pops up elsewhere, putting you right back where you started. That's where a reputation management company comes into play.

They don't just do clean-up; they protect you from future negativity.

removing articles from search

Don't play "Whac-A-Mole" with your reputation.

Why Reputation Management?

  • Content Removal: Chat directly with publishers or use legal channels to remove the content.
  • SEO Expertise: They use search engine optimization to push negativity down with positive content.
  • Always Watching: They monitor your online presence to catch any issues quickly.

Picking the Right Team

  • Do Your Homework: Look for a team with a solid track record.
  • Strategy Talks: Make sure their game plan fits your needs and values. 
  • Clear Agenda: Choose someone upfront about how they work and what they can pull off.

Why It's Worth It

  • They're the Experts: They have dealt with this situation before.
  • Save Your Time: Let them worry about your online image, so you can focus on what you do best.
  • All Bases Covered: They don't just stop at cleaning up; they help make your whole online presence better.

Hiring a reputation management company is an investment, but it's worth it for the peace of mind and proactive approach to improving your online image.


Option 7: Implement Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

Boosting your online rep is the goal, and SEO is a big factor.

It's all about getting the good stuff about you to pop up first on Google, pushing the negative news way down where fewer eyes will see it.

Why Does SEO Work?

SEO pulls your content up the ranks, so when people Google you, they see the positive things first. It's all about making sure the people get a positive first impression, pushing the negative articles way down the list.

Here’s How You Do It:

  • Make Great Content: Write content that showcases the highlights of you or your business. This could be blog posts, news you're proud of, or just engaging social media.
  • Pick the Right Words: Use the magic words (a.k.a. keywords) that people are typing into Google when looking for you. (Name and City/State)
  • Get Some Links from Other Sites: When reputable sites link to your content, it helps push up the positive.
  • Be Social: Keep your social media accounts active. Active profiles can show up high in search results, helping keep down the negative.

Why Use SEO?

  • It’s the Long Game: SEO isn't a one-and-done deal. It takes a bit, but it's a solid way to make sure your online presence is positive.
  • You’re in the Driver’s Seat: With SEO, you get to control the narrative a bit more when it comes to what people find about you online.
  • Give Yourself a Voice: It’s not just about hiding the bad; it's also about boosting the good. Share your story!

Putting in the work with SEO is a good move. If you can play the long game, create and share content that makes you look good, and keep those negative articles out of the spotlight.

Dive in, stay consistent, and watch the changes take place.

The Challenges of Removing Negative News

Getting rid of bad news articles from Google isn't as easy as hitting the delete button.


Let's break it down:

1. The Power of Public Interest: News sites value their credibility. So does Google. This trust puts more emphasis on how their stories rank in search results.

2. The Persistence of Search Engines: Ever try to un-Google something? Yeah, it's not easy. Articles can be copied, shared, or reposted on other websites, making removal challenging.

3. Archived Content: Many websites and online archives store copies of web pages, making it nearly impossible to erase an article completely from the internet.

Removal might be tricky, but there are clever ways around it, like pushing it down in search results.


Will the news article go away on its own?

Have you ever heard of the news cycle?

It's how, after one news piece goes live, the next one doesn't pop up until about a day later.

That's the news cycle - a whole day passing between daily updates.

While it started with newspapers, this concept now covers all ways we get news.

remove negative news articles from Google Search

Once the next news cycle is published, any negative news about my name should be removed, right? 

The short answer is no. 

According to Google Trends, the average “big story” lasts about seven days before the public moves on to the following shocking headline.

Let's face it, most of us don't make headlines daily. So, the top thing popping up on Google with your name? It's going to stick around until something fresher comes along.

Now, while old newspapers end up in the recycle bin, online articles? They live on. Getting rid of them isn't as simple as throwing them out with the recycling.

Understanding the Journalistic Landscape

Factual News (Tricky): These articles are all about the facts. If you find one that's sharing false or misleading info, you should argue for its removal. But, they could just update it.

Opinions or Commentary (Also Tricky): Unless it crosses the line into hate speech or defamation, it's probably staying put. Freedom of speech is a big deal.

Personal Stories or Interviews (Somewhat Tricky): Wanting something deleted just because you don't like it? That's tough. But if it's sharing your private info without permission, you've got a better chance.

Investigative Reports (Very Tricky): These pieces take a lot of work and often shed light on big issues. Getting these erased is a tall order, given their impact and the effort behind them.

Public Records (Easier): Articles based on public records, like court docs, can sometimes share too much about you, violating privacy laws. But if it's about something that did happen, like an arrest, it gets a bit more complicated.


If you are found “not guilty,” will the newspaper remove your article?

Many newspapers aren't aware that their stories can have a negative impact on your life. Even if they were, most wouldn't bother to care.

But, if a story changes because someone is proven innocent or there's new information, the good publishers will often update or delete that story. They don't have to do this by law, but it's the right thing to do.

If a story has a big mistake, it might be completely pulled from a website. This is known as a retraction. For smaller mistakes, a correction, or "corrigendum," is made.

Key Takeaways

Getting rid of a news article online isn't quick or easy. Instead, focus on pushing down the bad news to get it off Google's first page.

You can try fixing this on your own or get experts to help. Either way, the aim is to make sure your online image is impressive.

If you have found a negative news article has been published about you, contact us today for a FREE consultation. We will provide a detailed strategy to repair your online reputation quickly.

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