Is it possible to quash negative internet content?
The only way to remove negative search results is to have the owner of the website do it. That’s probably not going to happen.
If you can’t get it removed, the next tactic for lessening the effect of negatives is to SUPPRESS the bad things.
When an embarrassing result appears on your SERP (search engine results page), you can try to suppress it by pulling up more positive search results for your pages, products, press, and social media, using the steps outlined in Part Two of our series on Online Reputation Management.
The operative word here is “try.”
The tough part about improving web reputation by suppressing bad articles is that to push a negative mention off the first page of search results, there must be at least 10 better pieces of content.
This requires a lot of work and is a job best left to professionals, like the pros at Kitchen Design Partner.
What’s to be done?
You know the saying: the best defense is a good offense. BE PROACTIVE and avoid negative comments in the first place or have so many positive mentions that the negative doesn’t appear so bad.
Here are some general tips to manage your reputation online proactively.
- Start A Positive Review Campaign. If negative reviews are causing reputation problems for your business, ask happy customers to write reviews for you and make it easy for them to do it.
- Manage Online Reviews. If you got a bad review, address it right away to show you’re paying attention and that you care. Not all reviews can be positive. ORM requires managing both positive and negative reviews.
- Have A Page On Your Website that includes links to positive mentions of your company online.
- Get A Blog. Search engines love blogs. For reputation purposes, a blog can rank for your name, and it gives you a way to respond directly to any negative comments made about your company.
- Create A Presence On Any And All Relevant Websites. If you’re in a highly competitive industry — like the kitchen and bath business — you need to be active on social media sites that are specific to your industry. For those of us in the kitchen design / remodeling business, this means being on Houzz.com.
- Monitor Your Company’s Online Image. As the owner and manager of your brand, you have to know what’s happening, know the latest news about it, and know what people think about it.
Two tools you can use to monitor your brand in the online world are Google Alerts and Yahoo Alerts. They let you track mentions of your company in the news, on blogs, in videos, and mentions in groups. Set up accounts and use them.
- Be Active In Your Online Community. This means participating by posting in groups and on blogs that are in the same category as yours and offer positive feedback to others. The more positive interactions you have with others on their sites, the better off your reputation will be.
- Build Up Your Social Media Accounts. Merely having a Facebook page for your business is not enough — you have to be active with posts and shares and interaction with people who like your page. If you don’t do this, those accounts may not be strong enough to outrank any negative postings if they occur.
At a minimum you should be on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. As a kitchen designer, your products are visually-oriented,so get busy on Pinterest and Instagram. Top business Instagrams appear high up in Google search results.
When your social media accounts are interlinked with each other and linked to / from your blog and /or website, they should rank really well in the search engines. Facebook and Twitter carry a lot of SEO power.
- Monitor Social Media. Today, Facebook and Twitter provide an open and live platform for users to write reviews. These reviews may be negative or positive so it is important to monitor and reply to all reviews.
- Use the Principles of SEO. Actively work on your SEO by having a website that appears “trustworthy” to search engines, one that loads quickly and is easy to navigate, that’s loaded with keywords and phrases that search engines can pick up, that gets refreshed with new and interesting content regularly.
- Build your links. Search engines don’t only look at what’s on your page, they also look at who’s linking back to it.
How Do You Build Links?
- Get linked from third-party website mentions, especially your local press.
- Sponsor a local event and get your name on the event’s website.
- Participate in contests that get promoted online. Link to and get linked from these events.
- Pitch news about your company and industry directly to journalists or bloggers.
Link building can seem like hard work — and it is — but it’s worth it. Backlinks are still one of the top ranking factors for search.
You Can’t Opt Out Of Reputation Management
For many small businesses, the lack of proactive online reputation management makes them a sitting duck when a bad review appears online.
With only a website to show your business online, you’re in a bad position if anyone posts negative things about your business on social media, as those negative comments can show up in searches for your business.
If a your business doesn’t invest in developing its online presence and reputation proactively, you will more than likely pay later in terms of lost sales and having to pay to repair damage.
You don’t want this to happen to you.