The other day I received an email from one of my subscribers who asked me the following question:
“I have negative content on the Internet that I’d like to suppress if it is possible. Can you help me?”
Since I know first hand this is a problem many legitimate business owners face, I want to answer the question on this blog so everyone can benefit.
Unfortunately, any lunatic can write a degrading article or review about your business and with a little work or luck get it to be on the first page of Google for your business name.
The fact is you can’t prevent this from happening. Even if you provide excellent products and services and treat your customers like kings and queens (which as you should know by now I highly recommend and sincerely hope you’re doing already), there will still always be a few bad apples who can’t help but try to knock you down a few rungs.
So if/when this happens to your business, you need to know how to implement a search engine reputation management campaign.
What is Search Engine Reputation Management?
Search engine reputation management is the process of pushing negative content off of the first page of search engines like Google.
For example, if you search your business name and find a negative article or review posted by an unethical competitor, then you can use search engine reputation management to “hide” that content from your prospects and customers.
I used quotes around hide because you can’t really remove the content from the search engines. The best strategy is to make sure the content is no longer on the first or second pages of Google because very few of your prospects or customers are going to click through multiple pages when they search your business name. Once you push the content off the first page, then for all intents and purposes, that content no longer exists.
How to Use Search Engine Reputation Management
Search engine reputation management is fairly straight forward especially if you’re familiar with search engine optimization (SEO).
The strategy is to get your own content or other positive content to rank higher than the negative article or review, so that you push it off of the first page of the search engines.
Typically this is not a difficult task because the negative content is not being actively optimized, so you don’t have to be an SEO expert to use search engine reputation management.
So how do you get your own content to rank higher without SEO knowledge?
Well here’s a list of some different strategies you can use:
- Issue a press release and use your business name in the title of the release. Many PR syndication websites naturally rank high in the search engines, so this is a quick way to get an article above the negative content to push it down in the results. Plus, if your release gets picked up by other bloggers or authoritative news sites, then it’s possible to get multiple websites listed above the negative content with just one press release.
- Write a blog article and use your business name in the title. If you have a blog on your website, then create a new post about something new and exciting in your business.
- Create listings in all of the major business directories. Google will give high rankings to many of these directories, so they will quickly push down the negative content. For a large list of directories, check out The Local SEO Formula.
- Create business profiles on social media websites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Quora. You control the content on these websites and again Google tends to favor these in the search engines so it’ll be easy to push down any negative content.
Positive Reviews Will Trump Negative Content
Now even if you couldn’t get the negative content off of the first page of Google, you still have one secret weapon – Positive Reviews.
If you have a system in place to continually get positive reviews on your Google+ Local page (and other directories that may be important for your business, like Yelp), then it’ll be obvious to your prospects and customers that you’re a great business.
Think about it. If you saw 100 overwhelmingly positive reviews for a business and just one angry 1 star review, then what would you think? I know I would immediately discount that negative review and that’s what your prospects and customers will do as well.
(And it’s actually not a bad thing at all to have a few negative reviews here and there, because it shows that you’re a real business. If you have 100 reviews and 100 of them are all 5-star ratings, with no 4-star, 3-star, 2-star or 1-star ratings, then that can look a little suspicious…)
So the key is to have a system in your business to consistently obtain online reviews. This is your best offensive strategy for search engine reputation management.
How to Get Tons of Happy Customer Reviews
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