83% of people trust the information they find online compared to what they are told by a friend, colleague, or brand. If inaccurate, falsified, or unfair results about your brand show up in search, it can significantly affect your ranking and brand’s image.
Thus, to effectively fight negative search results, you need to track and monitor negative feedback continuously. And find what caused people to share such damaging opinions.
Fighting negative search results isn’t easy, and no brand is immune to it. It takes a considerable amount of will and resources. However, you can overcome it. In this post, we will show you ways to protect your brand reputation when faced with negative search results.
1. Remove the harmful content from search results.
There are two tactics one can use to remove negative comments from search results.
When you can control the posting and sharing of comments, especially on your Facebook profile or your Yelp review account, you can respond ethically, update your profile or activities or remove the comments entirely if the person posting cannot cooperate with your terms of services.
Take care while doing this. If the person is a disgruntled customer, give the matter more weight and approach it professionally than from a random bypasser.
However, if the comments were shared on a platform outside your reach, such as by a blogger on his or her website or another social media profile, you can reach out to the webmaster or blogger and ask them to delete such content or unlink them to prevent them from appearing in search.
Give the blogger or website owner reasons to remove the content and what the blogger and the company stand to lose by having the content online.
2. Run a social media campaign to suppress the bad links
Social media campaigns signal search engines and social media platforms to focus on the positive content you or your business creates and not negative opinions. While the negative content will not be deleted entirely, the social media campaign will give your positive content more leverage in users’ search.
When people see more of your positive content, it improves its ranking because of more page views and additional links that people make to the article, enhancing your brand reputation. Social media campaigns are thus a great way to increase brand awareness and suppress negative search results.
3. Submit a removal request
Suppose the first process of removing the negative search remark fails. Maybe you have contacted the webmaster of the site tainting your reputation, and they refuse to grant your request to remove the unwanted content.
You can contact Google and submit a request to remove the negative sentiments. Nonetheless, you will only succeed if inaccurate information violates Google’s policy.
Content such as pornography or activities of terrorism is deemed offensive and violates most search engine policies. If your brand is mistakenly linked to such content, you can ask search engine moderators to remove such content.
If you are in the EU, you can use the right to be forgotten data protection policy for Google to completely delete any sensitive material about your brand from search results.
4. Optimize your brand SEO activities
While this method may not remove the negative content from search, it will help suppress those content from ranking higher in search results and ensuring positive reviews replace them.
In a case where your brand is facing defamation and bad images are being shared about your workplace or employees, you can hold interviews with journalists/bloggers to answer pending questions or volatile issues.
You can also write guest posts on authoritative sites that rank higher in search, explaining what your brand stands for or you can publish high-quality content in various content distribution platforms by leveraging gaps in competitors’ profiles.
Alternatively, you can leverage past CSR data to create a newsletter, press releases, webpages, and news articles and populate the web with more recent and positive content so that search engines rank those first on search results.
You can also improve brand SEO by publishing other content types like videos, podcasts, infographics, and thought leadership content.
Improving brand SEO can also involve optimizing the content you already have or updating your ‘about me’ page to reflect recent information on your brand. This process may take time to generate results. Hence, avoid using black-hat SEO tactics to trick search engines for a quick fix.
5. Seek legal action
The last cause of action you can take is to seek legal action. Before you do that, make sure the content you are fighting against is indeed falsified and intended to damage your brand reputation.
Otherwise, if it were true, you may risk losing a lot of money and even worse, attract attention for the wrong reasons. Some content you can remove through legal action include content on discrimination, defamation, and copyright infringements.
6. Seek services from online reputation management companies
As reputation management has become a critical subject in online business management, companies have come up to help other businesses manage their reputation online.
Reputation Defenders and Defamation Defenders can help protect your brand from negative search results by monitoring and removing or suppressing inaccurate content from search engines and people’s search results.
Reputation management companies are ideal if you lack the resources and time to tackle negative search results. At a small fee, you can outsource these expert services and protect your brand from a negative backlash.
Protecting your brand by removing negative search results
Negative search results can take a toll on any business or person. That is why brand protection should always feature in a business’s goals and be an ongoing process. After all, people may decide to forgive your brand for what the internet naysayers say, but they will never forget.
Thus, hire a reputation management provider if you lack time to manage your own reputation. Alternatively, you can source the other methods discussed above, refresh, improve, and iterate on them.
The latter will help you learn ways to fight negative comments without outside help while strengthening your brand reputation. Lastly, remember to have a crisis communication plan so that when you are attacked by negative posts and reviews, you know in advance what steps to take and avoid thinking about saving one aspect of your operations but the whole business.
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