Reputation management is a growing industry on the internet. Don't be fooled by the promises you see on their websites; there's only so much they can actually achieve in terms of presenting a positive image of you. This actually depends on one person: you.

Hello, I'm an internet expert. I can help you build your brand online and bury all bad news about you under a huge pile of positive blog posts and articles.
Man holding "expert" sign
My amazing SEO skills will see you right!
Okay, well, there's an article about me in a national newspaper that I want to make disappear from the search results on my name.
Know it all
I'm worried that it might come up at any job interviews I might be invited to. Potential employers might not hire me if they see it.
internet expert
No problem! The EU has a right to be forgotten law; I'll use that to make the search engines remove the link to the article from their search results.
A few weeks later...

Cartoon of male customer
I looked up my own name in the search results and the negative article is still there. In fact, there are now more mentions of it; some other papers and blogs have picked the story up and are commenting on it — and my efforts to get it offline.
Ah, well now I never said I'd get the article itself offline, sir. The right to be forgotten only gets the link to particular blog posts, etc. off the search engines. They actually remain online.

internet expert
The newspaper doesn't want its rankings affected so you may find they've posted the link on a new page.
That doesn't explain why the other papers and blogs have picked it up. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry is talking about my embarrassing incident.

Know it all

Now thousands of people all over the world are making fun of me. You haven't made it disappear, you've made things worse!
Cartoon of Wendy Cockcroft cringing

Oh, dear lord, you didn't try to get the story taken off the search results, did you?
Aren't you one of those rude people who are mocking me on their blogs?
Cartoon of male customer
I'm trying to make this whole thing go away so I can get on with my life. I tried using Right to be Forgotten but that's just spread the story everywhere because people are saying it's a freedom of speech issue. Why do you need to know about that stupid thing I did ten years ago?
Well... sort of. You see, getting one link off the search results doesn't get them all off. Every page uploaded to the internet creates a link.
Wendy Cockcroft on the internet
So if someone comments on a story being removed because the subject finds it embarrassing, they'll link to it to provide evidence to back up their argument. This creates more links to the original story.
Very well, then, you leave me no choice. I'm going to sue you and all the other bloggers, etc., for libel, slander, and cyberbullying!

Know it all
And since Google controls what goes on their search engine using their algorithms, I'm going to sue them too!

I see. Have you considered the fact that this is newsworthy and therefore more papers and blogs are going to write about it?
me, serious
This will, of course, bring that embarrassing story back into the public eye. Is that what you want?
Cartoon of Wendy Cockcroft thinking before typing
The best thing you can do right now is think about the image of yourself you want to project, then act accordingly. We all foul up, it's what we do afterwards that counts. Proving you can learn from your mistakes is much more impressive than pretending you've never made any.