Bad Reviews, Search Results and SEO Reputation Management
From a business owner’s perspective, search engines are useful in that they return your web pages to consumers looking for what you have to sell. But search engines can be a huge thorn in the side of your company if there are highly negative reviews, controversial blog posts and bad news stories about you. Can you imagine if every time someone Google’d your business, they saw your ties to Bernie Madoff? Yikes.
The more real world example for startups and small businesses is negative or bad customer reviews and blog posts. First, you should know it is quite common for customers to blog about a horrible experience shopping or trying to utilize a company’s service. It happens all the time. Think about that before you lose patience with a customer.
Note: If you’re a company with tons of money and facing an enormous financial hit based on bad search results, there are SEO reputation management companies that can build websites, hire writers, send out press releases and even pay bloggers to write about your company. All of this together will wipe negative results off page one, and replace them with the content/links created by the reputation management company.
Other Note: Do not link to the negative review or reference it online. Linking to it will only add to its SEO and make it rank higher. Don’t click on it either. If Google notices that people are clicking on a search result a lot, it will think that’s what people wanted when they Google’d the search phrase that brought it up. Excessive clicking means you’re doing harm to your own company and brand name.
Pushing Down Negative Reviews and News Articles from Search Engine Result Pages
Below are 6 additional steps you can take.
1. Make sure that you’ve created and completed all your Google profiles. Google Maps, Google Local, Google Webmaster tools etc. With Webmaster tools, establish site links. The result is you get this stuff on the top half of the search engine result page. It catches people’s eyes and if the bad results you’re trying to bury are at the bottom of the search result page, it forces people to scroll more to find them and may be enough to remove them.
2. Make sure your company is on Yelp as well, as Yelp ranks insanely high when people Google search a company name. You’ll notice the Twitter profile also ranks very high. Establish social media profiles like a Meetup page, YouTube page and Facebook page if you don’t already have them.
3. Run a Google ad for your company name. This creates another result at the top of page one. This is significant because Google search result pages sometimes have 7 organic results and not the usual 10 that most people think. A paid ad can replace an organic result.
- Today’s local Google search results page layout looks like this: 14% navigation bar, 30% carousel, 30% AdWords ads, 15% map, 4% Zagat listings, and just 7% organic results.
- Approximately 18% of search queries (almost 1 in 5) now result in a 7-result Google SERP. For more popular brands, the 7-pack also includes news, local results, and images.
4. Search optimize photos and videos of your company. Google is diversifying its SERPs and wants to return more than just a link. You can read how to search optimize photos and videos here. Also, look into Google photos for business – it’s the thing that lets you make a virtual tour of your company.
5. Start a blog and write often. You can include your company’s name in the header or first paragraph of the articles, link the name, and build page rank and domain authority for your website. These blogs will also have a chance at ranking on page one when someone types your company name in.
6. Ask your other customers to write positive reviews on places like Yelp but also in their own blog if they have one. Search optimize these articles targeting your company or brand name. Link to these articles from your website to help them get PageRank. Retweet, Facebook share and G+ share the articles as well. The more reads the positive articles get the more Google will think the articles are important, thus leading to their permanent position on page one.
As always, feel free to email me, Cort Tafoya, at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to answer more questions.