That unflattering photo seemed harmless at the time. But now that it’s online, it’s doing real damage to your personal brand, hurting your reputation and standing between you and the job of your dreams.
Below, we explain how to remove that image from Google and build the rep you need to succeed.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words.
But what they don’t tell you is when that image makes it to the internet, it can tell a story that does untold damage to your relationships, your reputation and even your career.
And the longer it’s left online, the more traction that unflattering picture gains in search results, strengthening its visibility and creating a bad first impression on anyone that searches your name—including employers, colleagues, customers and your loved ones.
If a negative image is tarnishing your personal brand, it’s important to take action before it goes viral. Here’s a look at how to remove images from Google search results and restore your online narrative.
How do I remove images from Google?
To remove your pictures from Google search, you must first know where your images are posted and who owns the content. Once you have the URL(s) and webmaster’s contact information, you may then request removal of your photos from their site. If the content owner approves your request, Google crawlers will no longer be able to locate and index your images.
Unfortunately, many sites pull and repost content from other sources. What’s worse, most sites rarely feature contact info on their webpages—or, at the very least, make that info hard to find. This can make deleting images on Google quite challenging, if not impossible, which often leaves search engine suppression as your only viable removal option.
“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.”
How do I remove images I own from Google?
Deleting embarrassing images you’ve posted online is often as simple as logging into your social profile or website and removing the photo yourself. While it may take Google some time to de-index the unflattering photo, it will eventually disappear from search results and have little-to-no impact on your online reputation.
Another option to remove images you own from Google is to simply change the privacy settings associated with your account. Most social and blog platforms provide the opportunity to switch your post’s visibility from “public” to “private,” which will effectively pull your content out of search and public view.
If you’ve deleted all instances of your owned photo and it’s still showing up in Google search, you may request that Google remove the offending search result directly. To do this:
- Visit Google’s Remove outdated content page.
- Copy and paste the web address (URL) that contained the now-deleted content.
- Hit ‘Request removal.’
If you receive the message “We think the image or web page you’re trying to remove hasn’t been removed by the site owner,” follow the prompts to provide Google more info. If you see “This content is no longer live on the website,” you may complete the process.
“The reputation of a thousand years may be determined by the conduct of one hour.”
How do I remove images I haven’t posted?
Removing pictures and personal info from third-party websites and Google image results is much harder than deleting photos you posted yourself. Sites and site administrators are often unresponsive when it comes to answering removal requests—and those that do answer are unlikely to process your request regardless of the reason.
But that certainly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. While getting negative images removed from Google or another site can be tricky, there’s always a (slight) possibility your efforts could pay off.
For instance, if the person who posted the image is a friend, relative or coworker, a simple phone call or email may be all that’s needed to get it off the web.
And a polite, persuasive removal request to the right site owner is sometimes all it takes to remove an embarrassing image and repair your Google search results.
Unfortunately, if you’re trying to delete images on Google and elsewhere, you’ll likely hit a snag somewhere in the process. And when a site has stolen or used your images without permission, that snag can turn into a major obstacle, requiring a more forceful approach.
Requesting a search results change from Google
There are certain times Google itself is your best bet for removing images from search results. While this isn’t the same thing as deleting a picture from a particular site or wiping it off the internet, it will help to reduce its exposure and minimize its impact on your online reputation.
Google’s Removal Policies provides a set of guidelines for what it considers removable content—images, blogs, articles or other content types that constitute a “significant risk” to the individual and may the Google’s removal of personal information from search results.
According to Google, images that may be eligible for search result removal will likely:
- Contain sensitive medical, financial or national ID info
- Involve involuntary fake pornography
- Exist on sites with exploitative removal practices (mugshot sites)
- Include personal contact info intended to harm the individual
- Contain nude and/or sexual imagery and was posted without your consent (i.e. revenge porn)
Google will also delete pictures and images from search for “specific legal reasons,” such as those containing imagery of child sexual abuse or violating DMCA copyright law under the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act). Note that the latter will only help remove images from Google if you’re both photographer and holder of the photo copyright.
This video provides a quick but helpful intro on Google’s process for assessing removing images and personal content from search:
How do I remove myself from Google images?
When removal requests to third-party administrators and Google fall short of deleting harmful personal content, your best solution is burying those images in search. And the best way to suppress negative results and regain control of your online reputation is by taking steps to own your presence in Google images, posting positive assets that get attention and push embarrassing photos out of sight.
By populating the web with images that reflect well on your name, accomplishments and personal brand, you’re making it harder for that sophomore-year keg stand photo to hold center stage and scare away potential employers.
“The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.”
Sharing and spreading good images as part of a comprehensive reputation management strategy can be an effective way to make unwanted pics go away while enhancing your cred and boosting your image where it’s needed most.
Good venues for posting photos and remove harmful images from Google include:
Domain names are relatively cheap (less than $10 on many domain registrars). And with a website in your personal control, you have the opportunity to post blogs and positive photos at will, those that will one day end up in SERPs and help remove bad images from Google.
When you upload photos, be sure your full name is included in both the filename and adjoining alt tags. It’s also crucial to include your full name in your domain, if possible.
The more, the better.
Google gives social media top billing in search, meaning any searches of your name will likely give your profiles and any images you post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok front-page attention.
Sign up for a few social sites and upload multiple photos you want associated with your name. And, make sure your settings on each site are set to public and accessible to Google crawlers. In time, this approach can help give your Google image removal strategy a real boost.
Guest posting platforms
Whenever the chance comes along to post as a guest blogger or industry discussion board, take it. Guest posting generally offers the opportunity to share a headshot and bio with each new submission, providing a wonderful chance to get yet another image out there and in the public domain.
It goes without saying that you should always consider your posts and what you’re saying carefully, particularly if you’re using your real name.
What should my images look like?
When posting new photos on the web, the only golden rule for how they should look is to avoid anything that sends the wrong message, or that may lead to a negative association that does further damage to your online reputation.
While more striking or professional images may garner more attention and take eyes off that negative photo, their quality alone may not be enough to move the search engine needle in the right direction.
“A good reputation is more valuable than money.”
Remove images from Google search results
Each day your negative image gets front-page coverage on Google is yet another missed opportunity to impress your followers, strengthen personal relationships, attract more customers and advance your career.
But with the right level of support and expertise, you too can remove bad images from Google search, repair the damage and take the wheel of your personal brand online.
At Internet Reputation™, we specialize offers Google image and personal information removal services designed to delete your pictures from Google and give you the control you need to be successful. Whether you’re applying to college, seeking a job, leading a local business or living in the public eye, we provide the proven image removal techniques and technology to mitigate your online problem fast—and in a way that fits your budget.
Our industry-leading removal solutions have delivered lasting results for:
- C-suite executives
- Professional athletes
- Business owners
- Public officials
- Job applicants
- And more
It’s time to redefine your online reputation. Visit us online or call 888-612-8705 to schedule your appointment.