Identify Which Keywords/Queries are Producing Most of the Negative Results
- Not all keywords that a client would be targeting will produce negative results on Google’s first page. One of the most important steps for reputation management SEO is to find out which specific terms/queries and combinations thereof produce the most negative links for a client. Typically, these would include a number of branded keywords or when customers who are on the Consideration Stage of the buyer’s journey are looking for specific information about a client’s business. The next step is to optimize content for these keywords. This can be done via content posted on a client’s owned assets or earned assets (i.e. guest posting, product seeding to bloggers, etc.).
Helping Other Pages Rank Better
- For queries that are producing negative results for a client, there would be certain pages (not containing negative links relating to a client) that are already ranking high for them. One trick is to link to these pages to boost their rankings on Google and push down the negative press.
Build Authority for Different Domains and Create Content on Them
- Google will only list a maximum of two pages from a single domain on a given results page. This is why a number of businesses have been discovering the value of hosting content on different domains. These could be microsites or microblogs that a client can create their content on. This increases the number of client-owned assets which creates more opportunities to have more pages rank well on Google and bury the negative links and press.
Prevention is Better than Cure
- One of the biggest mistakes companies make when it comes to combating bad press is they tend to be reactive rather than proactive. The best way to outrank bad press in Google is to make sure that even before bad publicity comes, the client is already investing in good content built on solid SEO foundations. This way, if and when bad publicity comes, a significant amount of SEO juice is already flowing to these content pieces that provide value to the client’s target audience.
Knowledge-Sharing Does Wonders
- Being a resource person, especially for reputable sites, is a good way to fight bad publicity and outrank bad press in Google. These authoritative publications will most likely have a high ranking factor in Google’s SERPs. If there’s a lot of bad press linked to a client, seeking opportunities to serve as a credible resource for these publications can help re-build trust and rank high in Google’s search results pages.
Respond to Negative Reviews
- According to a Cornell study: “78 percent of consumers say that seeing management respond to online reviews makes them believe that the business cares more about them.” Responding to negative reviews is the classic example of how companies can make lemonade when they’re thrown lemons online. This can also apply to bad links. An outreach strategy to engage the source of the negative content should be rolled out with the goal of either getting a retraction, an update to the story with the client’s statement, or a new story that reverses the initial negative press.