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Strategies for Pushing Down Negative Results with Online Brand Reputation Management

Searching for your own company online might not seem like a good use of time, but it’s an important part of managing your brand’s online reputation. Not only is it key to know where your site ranks, but what ranks alongside it. Especially if it’s a website with negative comments about you!

If you find sites that don’t position your company in a favorable light, you can take action. Although the “bad press” won’t necessarily disappear, the following online reputation management strategies that can be effective in pushing those negative results further down the page. Try these six tactics:

Grow and use your social media channels

1. Grow (And Use!) Your Social Media Channels

One of the side benefits of communicating with your audience through social media channels is that it can help minimize the impact of negative search results. Popular social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can rank well in search results, and can help drown out negative messages. The key is to be consistent, and communicate interesting and relevant content on a regular basis – not only will it push down the negative results, it’ll build brand awareness and loyalty.

Don't give them link authority for negative press

2. Don't Give Them Authority

If you need to address some negative press or comment, don’t provide a backlink to the URL or domain where the original negative commentary exists. In addition to potentially driving customers out of your site, it provides them with valuable link authority that instructs search engines to push these pages up in search engine rankings. Instead, address, answer, and/or apologize on your own site or blog.

Create more content and profiles to build credibility

3. Create More Content and Profiles

a) Start a blog and write as often as you can – just be consistent and provide useful, relevant content – and it doesn’t have to be much. It can be as simple as a top 10 list or your opinion on a current topic. Take advantage of free blogging websites that are readily available and simple to use, like Tumblr and WordPress.

b) Create more business profiles – in addition to Google, Bing and Yahoo!, consider setting up on established sites like Yelp and Manta.

c) Launch your company’s charity or international website – obviously, there needs to be a sound, viable reason to start one so be sure each site can hold up on its own!

Benefits are twofold: negative sites rank further down the list and you build more credibility behind your brand.

Increase sitelinks to drive visitors to deeper pages of your site

4. Increase Sitelinks

Utilize your current advertising on search engines like Google and Bing by implementing Sitelink extensions. These extra links will not only drive visitors to deeper pages of your site, the ad itself takes up valuable real estate on the SERP, pushing negative results even further down the page or on subsequent pages. As a bonus, according to Google, adding Sitelink extensions boosts the average CTR on an ad by 20-30%.1

Create PPC ads to protect your online reputation

5. Use Strategically Placed PPC Ads

If you’re unable to resolve the issue with the person responsible for the negative review or unable to create enough positive listings to outrank the negative one, consider purchasing a paid ad next to the search results, linking the consumer to a page where you address the complaint or criticism. Just be mindful that you’re entering a sensitive arena where you could possibly exacerbate the problem. So proceed with caution – you don’t want to fall into an online debate, creating more negative feelings and more poor press.

Register negative domains as part of your online reputation management

6. Registering Negative Domain Names

Purchasing the site where the negative content originated from is another option to consider. Additionally, you can take a proactive, preventative approach by contemplating possible sites that may want to exploit your company’s credibility through common typos or by using similar domain names. This entails researching common misspellings and possibly creating pages designed for those misspelled terms. And yes, it’s a good idea to register www.yourcompanynamesucks.com.

You don’t need to get hit first with a negative review to employ these six steps. Use these strategies now as a preemptive strike. Nipping issues in the bud should be your overall goal, which can be achieved by having a dedicated area on your site for complaints and someone skilled to respond to these complaints, and in other online forums.

Bottom line: It’s all about reputation. So take the time and effort to protect your company’s presence online.

1 Google. "Use Ad Extensions." Accessed March 22, 2016.