How can we remove stuff online when we have no control over the website?
There is an interesting way this is done and understanding it requires a little background info on how people find and use content online.
The method doesn’t always work but it works well for companies with a big budget or if the content you are trying to remove is not already too popular.
How Content Is Found
These are the facts you need to be aware of:
- Google is the main search engine with over 80% market share.
- Bing is becoming more similar to Google, which I don’t think helps them much
- Google’s index is far greater than that of Bing, but they both use different ranking methods
Very important stats to know:
- Most websites receive 80-90% or more of their traffic directly from Google
- Most people (well over 80%) click on one of the first three results at the top of the page
- People don’t even click through to page 2, it’s less than 5%. Page 3 is visited less than 1% of the time…
- Content in Google is ranked by title and text relevance, which often just means:
- the keyword phrase has to be in the title
- the keyword phrase should be in the page text
- weaker but still useful for ranking: keywords related to search phrase is found in title and page text
- The more links are pointed to a page, the higher its ranking in Google
- Websites are ranked using a ‘pyramid scheme’. For example, Harvard.edu is trusted by Google (a lot) whereas a new domain is not trusted at all. One link from a trusted site is a hundred, thousand, or even hundreds of thousands of times stronger than a link from a ‘nobody’.
So How Do We ‘Remove’ Stuff Online?
It’s actually simple when you have the resources. A website with a lot of ‘ranking power’ will start publishing content about the keyword phrase on multiple domains. The pages will be linked from other domains that the company owns and voila, all you see on page #1 in google for your magic keyword phrase is all from the same source, masked as different content because it is hosted on different domains.
This is basically ‘removal’ by creating chaos. Your great article about “How to Win the Lottery” will be pushed far down in Google, no one will ever get to see it….ever!
How Is This Technique Used?
Say you are a dentist and you messed up bad. A patient went and wrote online a few bad things about you, which unfortunately are true so you can’t sue or otherwise force a takedown. So now you could publish articles on high ranking websites as ‘Dr. Baddentist Reviews’ and similar phrases. Google will soon show those at page #1 rather than reviews posted somewhere on blogs or review sites because the title has the highest relevance measure. People will then visit your ‘fabricated’ reviews and this click-through is another good ranking signal for the websites you created, as long as people stay there for a while and don’t bounce back immediately.
A Blog Page That Describes an Industry Scam or Problem With a Product
A blog page is published, and it is unique for a while, that describes how a big scam takes place. Obviously the industry players take note quickly. They analyze the keywords in the blog page and start publishing articles with the same or related phrases on ‘established’ magazines and industry forums.
Another great tactic is to openly link to the offending article from a forum that they own and operate. Then they ‘discuss’ anonymously how everything in the article is incorrect and misleading. Innocent Google surfers won’t notice a thing. First of all the offending blog post is very quickly pushed down to page 2, where no one look at, and even if the blog post is found, it’s very likely the staged forum discussions will also be found along with it.
Say a big company called “EvilCorp” discovers that a much smaller competitor is ‘causing trouble’ by taking away ‘their’ customers. They discover the competing online business “NiceCorp” depends on the phase “golden tea cups” to get most of its business. EvilCorp also manufactures tea cups. So they start publishing lots and lots of articles about “tea cups” especially “golden tea cups” and “tea cups made out of gold” and so forth.
They then contact bloggers and online shops who deal with tea cups and pay them to publish their articles.
In just a few weeks Google takes notice and “golden tea cups” now lists over 100 shops and blogs all over the place. Because all articles link back to EvilCorp, Google sees this as a ‘vote’ and treats it as a ranking signal. NiceCorp is pushed quickly down to page 5, 10 and lower where absolutely no one will ever click through.
Sure, NiceCorp could go ahead an look for more phrases to sell their tea cups, but unfortunately EvilCorp has more cash to spend on doing the same, so it quickly becomes a ‘who has more money’ game rather than ‘who makes better tea cups’… Lots of EvilCorps out there also receive investor money by the truck loads, so the money they spend buying ‘publicity’ is not even money they had to earn or work for.
In the dentist example above, the dentist has more at stake than the unhappy patient; hence, the dentist will spend as much as it takes to ‘clean up’ her reputation. The patient is not going to post reviews indefinitely…
Why Does Google Allow This?
Note that Google is not a ‘search’ engine. They are an advertising machine. The Big Guys are the Big Spenders and Google protects them, just as magazines protect their advertisers and will never publish articles that are critical of their advertiser’s products and services.
And that’s how you can remove the truth online and win the big game my friends 😉