There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to managing negative information about your brand in the search engines. The tips that are listed below, however, will give you a basic outline that you can follow as you work to improve your company's reputation online.
Understand The True Nature Of The Problem
When negative information about your company shows up online, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking of it as a technical issue or as a problem that can be solved through SEO (Search Engine Optimization). The true problem usually has to do with the experience your customers have when working with your business. This post by Velseoity on burying negative search results is another resource on the subject.
Even if you manage to change the way that people perceive your company through the use of marketing and public relations, these are only band-aid solutions. You need to get to the root of the problem to keep similar negative stories from cropping up again.
A good place to start is by really evaluating what went wrong. Why did the negative information show up in the first place? Was it an issue that was handled incorrectly? Is there a way you could do things better in the future to avoid more problems?
Although it can be hard to plan ahead for things that have not yet happened, it is important to act quickly when problems occur.
Your marketing department or PR team should be actively monitoring any mentions of your brand online. That way, when anything negative happens, they can address it as quickly as possible to help keep it from spiraling out of control.
Is There A Way To Get The Negative Information Taken Down?
Depending on the site where the negative information is published, you may be able to get it removed. For instance, on platforms like Yelp, Twitter, and Facebook, there are options available for businesses to deal with unfair or negative information. Before you take it down, however, think about whether or not it would be wiser to respond to it.
Deleting a complaint can often reflect negatively on your company. The key is to have a plan or system in place that you can reliably turn to when dealing with situations like these.
On Google, there is a tool available that you may be able to use to have the listings removed. In order to qualify, the results either need to be outdated, irrelevant, or improper in some other way.
Even if you are able to use this tool to remove the content from the search results, keep in mind that people can still read and share it on the original platform where it was published.
Contact The Publication To See About Following Up On The Story
If the negative information was published by a traditional media outlet, you may be able to improve the situation by following up with the journalist who wrote it.
The PR professionals working for your company may be able to convince the journalist to follow up on the story, giving you a chance to tell your version of the events or to discuss any steps you have taken to remedy the situation. This is a great way to demonstrate that you are going above and beyond to keep your customers happy.
If you decide to go this route, remember that the journalist is the one who writes the story. That means that you have no way to control what they decide to write. Although it most likely will go well for you, there is always a chance that it could backfire.
Use Social Media Platforms To Push Unwanted Stories Lower In The Results
Google naturally favors certain websites in the search results. Many of these sites are social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
If you haven't already, you should set up profiles for your business on all of these platforms. Search engines like Google view these as authority sites, which means that they usually will list them at the top of the search results. When people search for your brand, your profiles on these sites will show up at the top of the results, which can push any negative information lower until it eventually falls off of the first page.
Of course, you can't just set up social media profiles and forget about them. You need to regularly update them. Becoming more active on social media can benefit your business by making it easier for you to connect with your target audience.
You may also want to think about using paid advertising to force negative results lower. For instance, buying ads through Adwords can help distract from any negative stories.
On Google, paid advertisements are listed at the top of the page above the organic listings. This forces the other listings further down the page. Of course, you do have to pay for any traffic that you receive. In many cases, you would have otherwise been able to get this traffic for free. Typically, the cost is quite low when bidding on brand-related terms, which may make it a worthwhile expense for your business.
Promote Positive Stories About Your Business
The only reason why negative stories show up when people search for your company is that they contain the name of your brand.
You can counteract this problem by convincing other media publications to put out positive stories about your business. This is something that your PR department can handle.
Ask the publications to use the name of your company in the title of the article as well as in the article itself. This will boost the odds of it ranking well when people search for your brand.
After the story is published, add a link to it from your website. You can also promote it on social media to help it perform even better.
Remember That There Is No Way To Hide In The Digital Age
Providing excellent customer service and dealing with problems quickly is more important than ever. Negative information can quickly spread online. Even worse, it can stay around forever. One of the best ways to manage your reputation is by avoiding problems in the first place by going above and beyond to make sure that your customers are happy.
About the author
Charlotte Lewis has worked for a variety of different businesses over the years and has taken a big interest in social media in the last 3 years. She is a content marketer and social media consultant. Charlotte Lewis has worked for a variety of different businesses over the years and has taken a big interest in social media in the last 3 years. She is a content marketer and social media consultant.
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