Every once in a while I receive an inquiry from a small business that is attempting to recover from a bad review(s), legal issues that are made public, or a news story that damages their online reputation. If they didn’t understand the power of the Internet to amplify their business profile previously, they get a quick education through a negative situation.
The first question I get is “how can I make these bad reviews go away?” or, “can I remove these negative comments, posts or news articles from the web?” Unfortunately, in most cases, the answer is “no.” Many damaging reviews, legal outcomes and inaccurate news reports will live on into perpetuity. Even if you are able to get a bad review or news story taken down from a website, other sister sites or data aggregators will have the same article, or article excerpts, listed on their site. This situation is especially true of stories that are distributed through press release websites.
Therefore, in reputation management, a good defense is developing a proactive offense to minimize the impact and visibility of the negative articles. By creating new articles, directory listings and online profiles the negative articles will be pushed lower in ranking results for the keywords in question.
However, the first step should always be to address the root cause of the bad reviews and negative press. If your business practices or employees have caused harm, address those issues first! After that, you can embark on the long and time-consuming process of repairing your web reputation.
- Research Keywords
- Identify key search terms that bring up the negative Google Results you are trying to mitigate.
- Develop a business description that incorporates those keywords into the description. Title tags, that appear in the tab of a browser and H1 tags, which are usually the main subject of the page are key.
- Setup a Moz.com/local account
- Improve your local listings score to 100%
- Create press releases on top PR sites
- Create business listings and/or personal profiles on key sites
- Create Social Media profiles
- Linkedin biz page
- Linkedin personal pages for Directors
- Google Plus (business page and maps listing)
- Pinterest (ask Pinterest users to make pins linking to the website)
- Setup a Google Alert on the business name and keywords that are triggering high rankings in Google for the negative stories.
Repairing a business reputation is an arduous task and there are a select number of reputable reputation management companies that will help guide a business or individual through the process for a handsome price. Make sure the agency explains how they will document their efforts and repair the damage and also how they measure and independently validate their success.