ORLANDO, FLORIDA – Criticism is an inevitable part of doing business, but in a time when more and more people search online when deciding what products to buy and which companies to hire, bad press can significantly affect the success of the company, whether the criticism is warranted or not.
That is why online reputation management tools, also known as reverse SEO, can be a lifesaver. Reverse SEO uses black-hat techniques instead of white-hat techniques. Organic SEO tactics are the best way to prevent negative, undesirable links or bad press about your business from getting top ranking on Google search results.
“We use reverse SEO for businesses that have received unflattering or unfair press in newspapers, blogs or review sites to mitigate the damage and diminish the visibility of the links as quickly as possible,” said Ali Husayni, our CEO.
Sometimes the undesirable content is a messy lawsuit, a disgruntled ex-employee or angry client who either wrote and submitted an article or created a website solely to defame a company. Anyone with determination and some online know-how can create content that reflects poorly on a company that begins to rank well for searches related to the business. While completely removing the content from the Web is usually impossible, it can be pushed onto the second, third and fourth pages of search results where they will garner much less attention.
“What we do is analyze the sites that own the negative content about the business then formulate the best strategy to limit that content’s visibility,” said Husayni.
Although much of the work requires technical SEO knowledge, these tips and techniques are ways any business can help recover from bad publicity:
- If you have direct control over the content, such as personal photos or writings that reflect poorly on the business, delete the negative information or change privacy settings of the site it came from. This does not automatically remove the offending item from the search engine’s index – there’s always a chance that it was picked up elsewhere – but it will make that content much harder to find.
- Monitor consumer review sites like BBB (Better Business Bureau), Yelp, Google+ Local and Angie’s List and address complaints promptly. Search Engine Land reported that 72 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, so consider reaching out directly to the customer to resolve the complaint and ask if you can do anything to switch their sentiment to positive. If the problem is resolved to their satisfaction, ask them to consider updating their review.
- Keep tabs on the business by regularly checking what is being said about the company.
- Set up Google Alerts for relevant keywords to find out right away when new content hits the Web. Google sends you an email whenever it finds new results that match your search term, including websites, newspaper articles and blogs.
- Use the Me on the Web feature on Google Dashboard to help monitor what information is out there about an individual or business.
- Counteract the bad content with a consistent flow of positive information about the company.
- Create a Google+ profile. From your profile, you can link to helpful videos, original photos, blog posts with relevant content, or even ask customers for testimonials. Google+ information is indexed and will show up in organic search engine results, so this is an important and effective tool to getting more positive recognition. Learn more.
- An essential part of any SEO campaign – regular or reverse – is having a blog that is updated at least several times a month with high-quality, relevant content. Search engines love original, fresh content. If your business does not already have one, starting a blog can go a long way toward pushing the bad content out of the top search engine results. This also gives you a centralized location to embed videos and photos that highlight your company.
- Do some short videos, informative ones or testimonials from satisfied customers, and post them on the company’s YouTube channel. This gives the opportunity to use keywords in the video title and description and a backlink to your website. You can also have your videos pull double duty by doing a blog post announcing the new video.
- Search the name of your company along with “review” or “scam”. For example “my company reviews” or “my company scam” to see what comes up.
“One of the most important things for people to remember is that it takes time to work, just like any SEO campaign used to boost a website’s ranking would,” said Husayni. “Even the best SEO company
will have a hard time permanently burying bad press from a website with a lot of authority like a major newspaper or blog. There is a good chance the bad press will resurface, so businesses need to approach reverse SEO and online reputation management as an ongoing, long-term effort.”