30+ SEO Specialists Talk on Google and Online Reputation Protection

One of the key areas of work that I undertake is by helping clients with online reputation management, but there are some pretty clever and innovative people out there so thought a roundup would be a great way to impart this advice – I asked more than 30 bloggers and experienced SEOs a simple question:

“What do you do if negative press appears on Google about you or your company, how do you protect your reputation online?”

The answers will definitely please you as we’re getting some practical tips for your brand and business. Enjoy and feel free to share the content online.

 

Rick Ramos

http://www.rickramos.com
https://twitter.com/ricktramos

If negative listings are appearing on your Google results, the best thing to do is push it down or off the page as much as you can. I would start by recommending creating a social media listing on every platform you can think of; Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Quora, Google Plus, GoodReads, YouTube, etc. These tend to rank pretty high, so it will go a long way to push down the negative press. If you have a blog, start putting out lots of content. If you can get more press, do it! Finally, the worse thing to EVER do is link to the post from your website. Avoid doing that at all costs.

 

Adam White

https://seojet.net
https://twitter.com/realAdamWhite

The key to getting negative press pushed off of page 1 of Google for your brand name is to use authority sites that Google already loves. For example, your Facebook business page, your Twitter business profile, Yelp, and your own website should all be able to rank in the top 4 for your business name.

Then move on to sites like TrustPilot where you can solicit reviews from your happy customers. You may want to pay an authority blog to write a review on your business. Then build links to all of these pages.

Finally, make sure you have an awesome product or service and provide great customer service. In the end that will win out.

 

Bernadette Coleman

http://www.adviceinteractivegroup.com
https://twitter.com/BernieColeman

Avoiding negative press on search engines like Google is almost impossible in today’s digital world. Consumers instinctively hit the search engines when looking for a product or service. They also hit them to share a negative experience much faster than a positive one.

For these reasons, every business must monitor their online reputation and address any situations that arise. Here’s how to protect a business reputation online.

Situation: You discover a review about the business online, and it’s not good. Here’s how to deal:

1. Verify the Review

Carefully read it. Is it real? Verify details, such as when/where the incident occurred.

Newsflash: sometimes competitors or trolls post false reviews.

If it seems fake, contact the review site. Some sites will remove a review based on the business’ word.

2. Respond

If you ignore it, it won’t go away. The business must respond if the review site allows that.

  • Address the problems
  • Apologize – ask reviewer to contact the business
  • Don’t offer a refund publicly!

The proper reply can make that bad review actually lead to positives like strengthening client trust.

3. Play Up the Positive

Yes, positive reviews can eventually bury a bad one. Simply make it easier for real customers to write a review – with a link in the online receipt for example.

Use Reputation Monitoring Tools

Whether you have an internal team or an outside company monitoring online reputation, you must pay attention to what’s being said.

Many tool options (like Mention) can help monitor online reputation. At Advice Local, our local presence management technology includes an integration that monitors social mentions, tracks reviews on sites like Yelp, and makes it easy to share them online.

Now you know the key to squeezing review lemons into sweet lemonade – it’s all in the way the business deals with it.

 

Dennis Seymour

http://www.leapfroggr.com/blog
https://twitter.com/denseymour

The first order of business is not to hit back and further damage your reputation. Handle it with class and focus on what can be fixed early and leave the rest to be cleared over time.

Regarding Google, be sure you have your social media pages guarded as it’s going to be one of the main pages ranking in Google so the information on those and how you handle it will be critical.

Next, be sure to get all the possible websites where you can rank your content on and build pages on those. You obviously still need to promote them. If you’d like to prepare for anything in the future, be sure to do this now for your brand. This is what I’m doing now for our healthcare startup https://seriousmd.com just we have control of the brand properties and it can also be useful for content distribution in the future.

Third, regularly keep an eye on the search results. News websites will always be the ones to show up first along with popular blogs. Try to find the contact for those articles and offer your side of the story. In many cases, they will approve and that’s another content that will very likely beat the currently ranking news page.

 

Tommy Landry

http://returnonnow.com
https://twitter.com/tommy_landry

It’s inevitable that someone will eventually find themselves frustrated with you or your business and share their angst online. But even negative press can provide an opportunity to turn to a positive if you approach it right.

Here’s how we have gone about it in the past:

1. Acknowledge the complaint: Many times negative press, reviews, or other commentary are simply made public out of frustration and anger. Simply acknowledging the voice is a huge first step in coming to a resolution about the issue.

2. Provide a response: We see it all too often – companies go into hiding at the first sign of negative press. That’s absolutely the worst thing to do! Without a response, the snowball spirals and the problem worsens. At a minimum, push out an apology if such is merited. For issues where a misunderstanding is the cause, offer an olive leaf to the complainer. Whatever you do, remember that the public is watching.

3. Offer remediation: Unless the negative press is more complicated, perhaps a legal issue or accusation of major wrongdoing (in which case seek legal counsel immediately), you’ll need to offer something of value to the person or organization where the press originated. The right remediation can result in even better positive press to offset the negative, if managed properly .

Negative press isn’t the end of the world. But when it happens, be ready to react immediately. The faster and more openly you address the issue, the less likely you’ll have an ongoing reputation management problem for weeks, months, or even years down the road.

 

Ryan Scollon

http://www.ryanscollon.co.uk/
https://twitter.com/ryanbowlerhat

If you are ever a victim of negative press appearing on Google about you or your company, remember that there is always a way around it. I have actually helped several people/companies with this sort of issue recently, one being a very well known engineering company that appeared in some of the biggest news publications in the world such as the BBC & The Guardian for a very serious incident.

Option one mainly applies to you as a person being slandered. Google has an option for you to request removal of pages from its search results (https://support.google.com/websearch/troubleshooter/3111061?hl=en). This option will not work for everyone as there are specific requirements for you to be applicable for this option. If it works, that’s great. If not, you may need to check out the next option:

The other option is to use SEO to help you push those bad articles down. If these slanderous posts are showing when someone searches for your brand, we can use SEO to help other ‘good’ posts rank above those bad posts, with the aim to push them down to page 2. This can work extremely well and is my go to tactic if option one if not available. There are certain websites that rank well for a brand search, such as social media sites (Facebook, Twitter..) and even directories such as Yell.com. Simply making a listing on these sites if you haven’t already, can sometimes push down these bad articles.

You could also consider doing some positive PR once the dust has settled with the bad incident, allowing you to get some positive articles out in the search results. You can then link to those positive articles from your own website which should help them rank even better.

 

Ryan Biddulph

http://www.bloggingfromparadise.com
https://twitter.com/RyanBiddulph

If someone says something negative about me or Blogging From Paradise online I actually celebrate it.

This means I am going somewhere 🙂

Since I don’t *fear* losing my reputation, I let it go. I am just being me. My business is just being itself. Anybody who says something negative about an authentic, genuine brand simply lacks authenticity, since I am mirroring their feelings back toward them. Why would I have an issue with someone who’s obviously having issues in life? Or with people who’d resonate with that negative feedback? It’s like kicking a dog when it’s down.

The only reason why folks attempt to manipulate search rankings or fear losing their rep or flip out when someone writes a negative view about them is because they are not being 100% authentic, nor is their brand. Because if they were being 100% authentic and their brand was 100% authentic and their business was 100% authentic,there would be no fear on losing your reputation so critics would not bother you.

I actually worry if I have a weak moment and worry about critics. This means I fear what people think about me, which means I fear criticism, which is fatal to my chances of expanding my presence online. I take a deep breath, realize that critics are actually confused fans and simply realize that receiving negative feedback is just a complement offered through the filtered mind of a raving fan.

The real warning sign is when nobody is saying anything about you, your brand and your business.

 

Patrick Coombe

http://patrickcoombe.com
https://twitter.com/patrickcoombe

Great question, because this is something that most businesses have faced in the past or will face in the future. “Negative press” can really vary from something simple like a Facebook comment that says “this restaurant wasn’t that great” to a write-up in the New York Times about a sex scandal in upper management.

Negative press can also be contagious. If you are unlucky enough to have some sort of write-up about it in the mainstream media, chances are its going to be syndicated in other media and possibly go viral. To answer your question specifically, I am a huge proponent of offensive reputation management. In fact I’ve been a supporter of this method for over a decade and wrote about it in 2012.

The task is quite simple: if you are always working on your reputation, if something does happen to your company, you are prepared to deal with it right away. For example, I see so many companies that don’t even have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc pages ranked on p1 of Google for their brand name. My motto is simple when it comes to offensive ORM: own your brand SERPs, or someone else will. I go as far as saying to own the first 3 pages of your brand SERP. It is really easy control once you learn the right SEO signals.

In some cases where you are being slandered or if it is truly a lie what is being posted about you, this can easily be removed by sending a cease and desist letter to the owner of the domain.

In some countries you can even send a removal request to Google and have it removed from the results.
Whatever you do, don’t react. Take 24 hours to just breathe. Talk to your colleagues, mentors, and family. If you have a PR company or department, talk to them right away.

In most cases, responding to the negative press with full transparency and honesty will result in the best outcome. Denying it or back-lashing usually results in even more negative press.

In some cases no response is necessary at all, a simple acknowledgement of the person leaving the review is good along with a “we take this seriously and will take a look at it” is all they want to hear. If you truly are a good company you will look into the review, however trivial it might seem and use it as a way to improve the quality of your service.

Own your mistakes, be human, and your customers will forgive you for your wrongdoings.

 

Josh Steimle

https://twitter.com/joshsteimle
http://joshsteimle.com

Most people look at negative press about them or their company as just that–negative, but in many cases you can turn a negative article into a great opportunity.

If the article is true or mostly true, and it’s based on a mistake or bad decision you made, then write a response blog post or article taking full responsibility and talking about what you learned. For example, Travis Kalanick, who recently resigned from the CEO role at Uber, could write a post with the headline “What I learned from being a jerk to one of my drivers.” If an article has come out that isn’t true, or is mostly false, then you can write a response piece with a title like “What I learned from being falsely accused of…”

The point is that if you create the right kind of content for this piece, and optimize it effectively for search engines, then there’s a good chance those who find the negative article in Google will also see your article, and even if they only see the headline in Google and never even click on your piece, just the fact that they can see that you have responded to the negative press will make a huge difference in how they perceive that negative press, and how they regard you.

 

Steve Wiideman

http://www.top10seotips.com/
https://twitter.com/seosteve

Online reputation is a serious issue for marketers, not just because of permanent first impression it leaves with potential customers, but because of the cost required to manage and protect reputation as part of our day-to-day marketing.

Whether there is a problem or not, businesses should allocate at least 5% of their digital marketing efforts toward building a virtual wall of “controlled” content within Google, Bing and other search engines to protect themselves from negative content appearing.

What happens when negative content appears in search engine results? Users stop clicking the company’s listing in search engine results, a user behavior signal that could result in search engines inferring a negative relevancy signal.

Here are our steps to planning and managing online reputation, particularly within Google:

  • Use a Google Sheet, such as this one, create a baseline and to use for tracking (video walk-through)
  • Capture current results for brand-only and brand+negative word or phrase
  • Capture current results in Autocomplete for brand and for brand+first letter of negative word or phrase using UberSuggest.io
  • Decide on preferred results you’d like to have appear for both organic and Autocomplete (social networks are always a good choice)
  • Optimize each controlled asset by including the name or preferred modifier in the HTML title, H1 heading, and sparingly throughout the content
  • Start including links to the controlled content in day-to-day marketing initiatives, using the name or name+modifier in the link text (randomly; never create a pattern)
  • Measure your results monthly
  • Consult with an Online Reputation Expert (ORM Expert) if results to not improve within 2-3 months

I hope these tips, our tracker and the video walk-through give you a great starting point toward controlling what appears in Google when your name or your company’s name is searched.

 

Russell Jones

http://moz.com
https://twitter.com/rjonesx

Simple. Positive press.

Charitable marketing should be the bedrock upon which all companies stake their reputation. Whenever a company considers a marketing channel, the first question they should ask is how they can use those dollars for good. There is no shortage of need around, so get some press by starting to actually improve the communities with which you work. The good press will eventually replace the bad.

 

Jeremy Rivera

http://www.jeremyriveraseo.com
https://twitter.com/JeremyRiveraSEO

The reality of Google is that there are only 10 sites that can rank on the first page, at the VERY most. If you have the misfortune of having your dirty laundry aired on search results you MUST take advantage of the fact that ~+90% of traffic will only view the first page. So that leaves you with two approaches, push UP other results or push DOWN the bad result.

With the Penguin live update came a “sea change” in Google’s approach to spam and low quality sites. Instead of applying a negative penalty they’re aiming to devalue the links. This essentially means that outside of a manual action, there isn’t much that will sink a site in terms of “negative SEO”, so even if you didn’t have moral and ethical qualms about using that tactic, it’s not the weapon it once was.

That leaves pushing UP results to displace the negative one. This means you need other entities writing about you or your company in a positive or neutral way.

Here’s some ideas:

  • Participate in HARO to get mentions for your contribution to journalist’s articles
  • Hold a series of live events at your location and be sure to list it at eventbrite, eventful, zvents and any other local event website in your city.
  • Contribute to charities, sports leagues or other organizations to get brand mentions

Once these appear, you’re going to build links to THOSE entities until they appear on that same query, and push that result further and further down the page.

 

Arnout Hellemans

https://twitter.com/hellemans
http://onlinemarkethink.com

First thing, make sure bad news / reviews don’t happen. But if they do? There are some things to do. If you’re a person, make sure you optimise all your social profiles and claim your personal domain name. And if it is not true reach out to the publisher for some the other side of the story. And if it is persona and in the EUl then please use Google Right To Be Forgotten form.

If you are a local business the best way is to claim you Google My Business location and ask for proper reviews starting now….

And please listen to complaints and reach out to the complainer and fix their issue. Be open and sincere.

Reach out by calling and making it personal really helps bad sentiment.

 

Dom Wells

http://www.humanproofdesigns.com/
https://twitter.com/human_proof

It really depends what form the negative press appears. If it’s a comment on a blog post or something, I will respond to the comment as myself and address the commenters concerns. I may also reach out to the blog owner to make sure my reply gets published.

If it’s the actual blog post which is the negativity, I will still do the same as above, but I will also reach out and see if I can get the post amended in anyway, such as offering proof that it is unwarranted.

I think it’s also important to get as many positive posts on Google as possible, so even 1 or 2 negative ones have their damage limited.

 

Andy Crestodina

http://www.orbitmedia.com/
https://twitter.com/crestodina

If negative press appears in search results, you can sometimes push it off of page one by setting up social media profiles for your company at every possible social network. These may outrank the press and push it out of view.

Create company accounts on Slideshare, Vimeo, Google+, Flickr, YouTube and everywhere else. You don’t have to be active in the social network. Just claim your profile!

 

Christoph Trappe

https://authenticstorytelling.net
https://twitter.com/CTrappe

Once negative press appears on Google highly consider responding to it on all relevant channels. That could be on the source and also could be on your website and it also could be on your social channels. Ignoring content typically does not make it go away.

Scott Eddy

http://www.mrscotteddy.com
https://twitter.com/mrscotteddy

If I see negative press, so be it, in my opinion, if there’s nobody’s talking about you (bad or good) you’re doing something wrong. Replying to it is only feeding the beast, look at it as ‘someone is taking the time to pay attention to what I am doing’ and move on.

Scott Hendison

http://www.searchcommander.com
https://twitter.com/shendison

I always recommend that clients “own the issue” and respond publicly, anywhere they can. If it’s appearing in Google, then reply on the site hosting the content, whether it’s Facebook or anywhere else.

When something is online there’s almost always a way to respond there at the page, either as the business owner when it’s a “review” or as a reader in the comment thread, whether it’s something on Facebook, or a blog post, article, forum post or tweet, that contains the negativity.

I recommend they always start with something diffusing even if they think the customer is wrong – like “I’m sorry you feel that way, but…” and then state their case clearly and professionally.

I tell them they’re never likely to change the opinion of the author, but a well crafted reply can change the opinion of all the people that read it later. (and of course getting a shton of links to the pages that you want to rank higher than the negative ones never hurts).

Sean Smith

http://www.simpletiger.com
https://twitter.com/snsmth

The best was to approach it is to drown out the noise with positive information. I would always first seek to make things right and if possible directly comment to the source – but beyond that if I can’t connect – or if the information is wrong I would recommend building out content and a pr strategy to promote that content on many different publications so that the positive information pushes down and dilutes the negative or incorrect information

 

James Norquay

http://prosperitymedia.com.au
https://twitter.com/connections8

The best way to protect your reputation online to have have as many brand controlled properties ranking on page 1 for your brand term. If negative sentiment pops up and you have authority pages already ranking the negative posts may not show.
You should also make use of knowledge graph and mark up branded content on your website.

 

David Leonhardt

http://www.seo-writer.com/
https://twitter.com/amabaie

There is only one thing you can do. Beat the competition! For every negative story, get a really good one out there.

There are a few steps to this.

First, make sure you have really good news. This might take a brainstorm, and it might take some action. For example, you can sponsor a charity or a community event. By “sponsor”, I don’t mean throw money at it. To make it newsworthy, you need to actually do something.

Second, reach out to influencers. Positive publicity can outrank negative publicity if it comes in places like Forbes or Huffington Post or Entrepreneur, to name a few. This is getting huge! Of course, you still need to have a positive story for them to tell.

Third, prepare a press release. You want to get your news out onto as many venues as possible. Ideally, you can get coverage in a few dozen places that all might be able to outrank the negative news.

Fourth, make sure the positive news does outrank the negative news. Get it shared like crazy on social media. The more exposure it gets, the more folks will link to it from their blogs and articles…and the better it will rank.

See, that was easy. One big caveat: if the negative news is in Time Magazine or the Guardian or USA Today, it might be easier just to change your name and move to another planet.

 

Samuel Igwe

https://www.loudtips.com
https://twitter.com/loudtips24

Firstly, Put up a video on all social media platforms explaining the situation and counter the claim.

Have your clients or fans write something positive about your company.

Get few influencers to speak in your favor.

Depending on the gravity of the negative press and the impact it will have on your brand, you might need to involve a lawyer.

In some cases where the negative press is coming from hungry guys seeking attention, simply ignore.

It has happened to me before.

Someone with a huge following on Facebook wrote something bad about me and my brand.

He dare mentioned my name too.

Someone tagged me to the post.

I saw the post, took screenshots and move on with my life.

I never reacted directly to the post or the person.

So, sometimes your response to negative press might be determined by the person involved.

 

Gabriella Sannino

http://level343.com/article_archive
https://twitter.com/SEOcopy

You go down the line of questions:

1. WILL it destroy my reputation (How bad is it? Does it really need to be handled?) – If the answer is yes, move on to the other three.

2. Do I have access to this negative press (can I go in and take it down)

3. Will the website take it down (can I contact and request removal?

4. Is it slander (can I have Google or authorities remove it)

If the answer to those three questions is “no,” then the best chance is to bury it in the SERPs. A few examples of what you can do:

Are all your social accounts claimed, and can you beef them up – post, fill out the profiles, add images, etc. Participation not only helps with taking care of negative reputation, but also helps build a positive one. Win, win

Do you have a website in your name? MyName.com, MyCompanyName.com

Claim any listings you might have: Google Business, About.me, etc. Search for your name or company name. If there’s a profile you aren’t in charge of and you can claim it, do so and fill in the blanks.

Join websites & forums that are relevant in your field, your hobbies, your industry. Make sure you fill out your profile.
Create images and videos and post them on your social accounts and/or your website.

Visit related blogs and leave comments – you aren’t commenting for linkbacks, you’re commenting for citations. You want your name mentioned in a positive way.
The idea is to come out better than you started. Whatever you build, make sure you can maintain it!

 

Lukasz Zelezny

https://twitter.com/LukaszZelezny
https://zelezny.uk/

First of all its a good practice to answer a fundamental question. Is negative press describing facts? Is my company or myself really underdeliver and giving false promises? If so, first thing should be to review how to avoid further negative press. Reviews are frequently to help You and rarely you may become a victim of negative PR done by competitor.

If you are sure that there is nothing wrong with process and what you deliver try to make social media to wipe negative press from first page of SERPs (once users looking for Your brands). Make sure that Your Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook page or/and profile are frequently updated. Make also sure that there are some backlinks pointing to these profiles. You can link to them from Your website or when You are giving some comments / interviews to newspaper and blogs.

Finally try to make sure that you appear in SERP with at least 2 URLs.
For example:

Domain.com
Domain.com/about-us

Additionally clear structure of Your website may give you sitelinks. That makes Your brand to occupy more space in SERPs and push down negative articles.

 

Venchito Tampon

http://sharprocket.com.ph
https://twitter.com/venchito14

There are a lot of ways on how to attack this, but below are things I’d probably do if this happens to my company:

Check if the negative press is coming from an existing customer/client and try to resolve the issue with personal approaches.

If it’s coming from an anonymous person (may be a competitor), ignore it and proceed to the next action.

Build your personal branding by dominating high-quality branded pages for branded search terms. When people search for your company brand (e.g. SharpRocket), there should be a lot of pages about interviews, good press releases, news features and so on. This would help you pre-attack those negative press about your company.

 

Lee Wilson

https://twitter.com/LWilson1980
https://www.vertical-leap.uk

If you are looking to recover from negative press, it is important to maximise every piece of search engine retail space to ensure your company is appearing prominently. This includes active and varied social media profiles, optimised Google My Business (generating lots of positive reviews), and presence on all the expected industry, plus broader business influencer sites within your niche.

To protect your brand from negative press, you need to be actively creating value within your audience (both existing and potential audience). The more you are seen as a leading influencer within your field, the greater the robustness you have towards any single reputation areas that may arise.

Ultimately if they do arise, you need to act promptly, respond to reputation challenges, and ideally resolve them effectively to redress any issues at point of source.

 

Marko Saric

http://howtomakemyblog.com
https://twitter.com/MarkoSaric

It depends a lot on what the brand wants to do and what’s the nature of the negative press. I think that the best way to protect the reputation of a brand is to tackle any negative press head on.

Acknowledge the criticism, address it, find ways to accommodate it and improve your product and services at the same time. Listening to what people want and don’t want is the best way of being in touch with your audience and creating products and services that they want.

 

Marcus Miller

http://www.bowlerhat.co.uk
https://twitter.com/marcusbowlerhat

Sooner or later somebody is going to say something bad about your company. It is inevitable. You just can’t please everyone. And the customer is not always right. So you have to have some form of plan to deal with this.

Bad press as well can come in many forms. From bad reviews on platforms like Google My Business to negative press articles on more traditional (or sector specific) trade sites. The tactical approach to resolve reputation issues then has to be built around where positive reputation signals factor in your industry. As a general rule, you want to have more positive reviews and press articles than negative ones. And promote those to ensure anything negative is buried.

Generally, a reactive approach is never the best strategy. For a business that has thousands of happy customers like a restaurant to have several bad reviews is not representative of the real world. So you must pro-actively work on building reviews and positive reputation signals. Then, when a bad review or press article comes along half of your work is already done. And you can look at tactics to resolve or bury anything negative with so many more positive assets in place.

 

Justin Herring

https://yeah-local.com
https://twitter.com/JustinCHerring

I would do a mass Press Release campaign pushing out a release every day for two weeks focused on blog posts already written by the company. This will give you the content to use on the press releases and then should push down the bad press fairly quickly.

 

Fili Wiese

https://twitter.com/filiwiese
https://online.marketing/

Negative press on a company’s product or service that appears prominently in Google Search Results is both a challenge and a great opportunity to capitalize on, if handled right. A swift and most importantly appropriate reaction from the company’s outreach team is key. Whatever had gone wrong in the eyes of the user who felt compelled to share their frustration publicly must be taken seriously and addressed.

The complaint is unlikely to grow in magnitude and attract more undesired attention if the outreach team engages in an honest discussion. In the process it is vitally important to demonstrate a drive to improve user experience. Words need to be followed by action.

Experience clearly indicates that badly disaffected users turn into most passionate advocates for a brand that had heard their voice and engaged into a dialogue. This strategy makes attempts to trump undesirable SERPs obsolete. It does however not change the fact that user experience being part of technical and content SEO needs to be constantly prioritized. Whether press and/or reviews are positive or negative does not matter much if the website’s landing pages are not crawlable and indexable.

On a more basic level yet if snippet representation isn’t all but superb, all outreach, press and SEO efforts are lost on users not compelled to click on them. Which is just one good reason why conducting an SEO audit on an annual basis is a business critical step to stay ahead of the competition in the organic search game.

 

Floyd Buenavente

https://www.buenavente.com
https://twitter.com/SEOphilippiness

There is no better way to handle a negative press than to address it right away,but it would also depend on what platform it is located on. Some platforms where these negative press are located are sometimes hard to push down in the search results.

Therefore the best way to handle them is to optimize certain web 2.0 pages that are targeted for the keywords ranking for the negative press. Sometimes a good press release could push them all down but it will still take some time to permanently hide them in the second page of Google.

 

Mike Ramsey

http://niftymarketing.com
https://twitter.com/MikeRamsey

The first thing to do is to determine if the review was actually left by a customer/client. Basically determining if it is review spam or not. Spam reviews distort the relationship of the reviewer with the business or the nature of the interaction between the two. Spam reviews occur today because of the weight they have on the customers decision making. There are various reason why people leave spam reviews; blackmail, protest, revenge, lack of knowledge, gaming rankings etc. If the review does end up being spam, you can follow the platforms guidelines to get it removed.

Now, if the review is negative and real, then you are going to want to respond to it. Most review platforms allow the business owner to respond to incoming reviews. Google loves to see responses to reviews. Users will see that you follow through with your customers and value each and every one. Maintain a level head when responding. The idea isn’t to stir up more dust but to bring as much closure as possible to the negative experience the person had. We have seen people remove their negative reviews because of the attention from the owner.

To protect your online reputation you have to be proactive about getting feedback. Work toward getting a constant stream of new good reviews so you can outnumber the bad, respond to negative reviews, and also respond to the positive review. Interact with your customers whether they are having a good or bad experience. Potential customers will take notice.

 

Joe Williams

https://twitter.com/zenoptimise
http://zenoptimise.com

If the negative press is ranking for key brand, personal or product terms, this becomes a reputation management issue. In the EU, you may qualify for the “Right to Be Forgotten” and a submission can result in a listing being removed from search engines. Assuming that’s not possible, it’s best to look at ways of out ranking the damaging article. For a brand, this can be through using social media channels like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Then link building to these profiles in order to build up their authority and increase the chances of out ranking the damaging piece of content.

 

Colin Klinkert

https://twitter.com/ColinKlinkert
https://www.platform.ly/

Here are a few steps that I follow to deal with the negative press and protect the online reputation of my company:

Don’t get into virtual arguments

One of the most common mistakes brands do while dealing with negative PR is – Getting into the virtual arguments with people on social media to defend to your stand.

You need to understand the fact it is better to apologise and admit if you are at fault. Arguments will only make the situation worse for you. People appreciate honesty and transparency. Keep it at the centre of your communication and build a story around it.

Build a few good press and circulate them

It is one of the hacks that I suggest to brands or companies facing the heat of negative PR. It helps you in suppressing the impact of the negative press out there and reduces the potential damage.

Have dedicated spokesperson

It is another common mistake brands do when dealing with negative PR is – Involving everyone on the team to answer media queries and social media queries.

With multiple people responding to the public, there are high chances that your communication can go for a toss. In such times, you should have a dedicated spokesperson who can calmly respond to awkward questions of media or on social media.

Last but not the least. Don’t panic. If you think the published story is exaggerated, reach out the reporter with data and facts to put forward your side of the story.

 

Ben Wynkoop

http://benwynkoop.com/
https://twitter.com/benwynkoop1

If having the negative press removed through persuasion or legal means does not work and you plan to move onto an online reputation management campaign, consider creating your campaign around a positive public relations campaign rather than simply creating multiple
properties and building links to each.

For one client, I created a philanthropy challenge that included ranking:

1. YouTube video that announced the challenge
2. Blog post on ClientsName.org that announced the challenge (ClientsName.org is an entire site I created as a portfolio of his philanthropy efforts)
3. Press release that announced the challenge
4. Paid blog posts on sites that “covered” challenge with titles like “Client Name Launches ‘ABC Challenge’ to Help XYZ Cause”

Other properties I ranked are:

1. LinkedIn profile
2. Facebook profile
3. Twitter profile
4. Amazon author biography

Building out the aforementioned properties preemptively for the possibility of any future negative press is always a best practice.

 

James Reynolds

http://seosherpa.com
https://twitter.com/FollowJames

Whether you need to push out negative press or control your personal or company brand reputation, owning the top positions in the SERPs is vital.

To do that you first need to cultivate the right profiles. Alongside your name.com, you should also own matching profiles on the top few social sites; Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook. Make sure you register your full name spelt out (no pseudonyms) and complete the profile in full adding photos, videos, tags etc. where ever you are given the option.

Don’t assume though that having a social profile for your name is enough to get it ranked – you need to engage on the platform. The more effort you invest the more likely it is to win real-estate in the SERPs.

Once you have these setup, be sure to link to them from your main website as well as include them in the Schema.org markup for your site. This will help strengthen Google’s association between your main brand website and your social profiles.

Next up, build 3rd party links to these social profiles whenever you can. If you are engaging in public speaking or guest authorship one of the easiest ways to do this is via your bio template. Most guest post publishers and conference organisers will allow embedded links in bios to help raise the profile of their guests.

By linking to your social profiles from your bio you can drive link equity to these pages and rank them in the search results.

Here is mine as an example:

James Reynolds is the founder of Veravo which consists of two search engine marketing agencies; SEO Sherpa and Click Jam. He regularly shares content via his SEO blog, Twitter and LinkedIn and is a contributor to several leading publications including Entrepreneur Magazine. James mentors start-up companies in his free time.

An active website and social profiles, coupled with authoritative and natural backlinks to those sites will solidify your brand presence at the top of SERPs.

As a bonus tip – consider registering yournamereviews.com as a standalone review site for your brand. Review queries are often the bain of reputation management and owning a review domain will help you better protect your asset.

 

If you have any questions or comments on today’s blog post, write below.