Negative articles that appear on the first page of the search results will have a strongly detrimental effect on the businesses they refer to. In some cases, articles that are misleading, irrelevant, inaccurate, or no longer true remain popular to the search engine algorithms for a long time, leaving businesses struggling to deal with the after-effects of customers reading this information.
For example, newspapers might print topical stories detailing someone’s arrest. This person may later be released with no charge, but the original article still gains traction. Cases such as this require proactive online reputation management to ensure negative articles are either removed entirely from the search results or suppressed to the point where they no longer appear on page one.
ReputationDefender has empowered over a million customers to control how they are perceived online, including removing private information and suppressing negative news stories, particularly those that are out of date.
It may seem that the quickest and best solution to combat negative press is to get the offending article removed. This may be true in some cases, especially where the article can be proven to be wholly inaccurate. However, in many cases, trying to shut information down can have the opposite result and instead amplify the information.
This is especially true when the negative information is a bad review or opinion that can be proven to be accurate, although sometimes even requests to remove information that is clearly inaccurate can backfire.
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If articles can be demonstrated to be libellous or defamatory, requests can be made by legal teams to have the article removed. However, there are many other ways to help ensure negative information is not prominently displayed in the search results which may prove more beneficial in the long term.
In certain specific cases, it may be possible to contact the publisher of the negative article and have any misleading, outdated, or inaccurate information updated to enable the business to maintain a positive online presence. This method should be pursued with caution, as requesting information to be changed under the wrong circumstances can stir the hornet’s nest and lead to more bad publicity.
However, under the right circumstances, many publishers are happy to update information, as this can also help them to generate new content which may help their own search engine results. While more likely to be accepted than a request for complete removal, a request for an update should only be issued in cases where the publisher is likely to treat the request professionally.
The tactic for removing unwanted particles from the search results that has the best chance of success is displacement. The key advantages to displacement are that no cooperation from the publisher is necessary, there is no requirement to prove that the information in the original article is inaccurate or misleading, and it is much harder for others to criticize this behaviour as an attempt to silence negative voices.
This strategy involves the creation of high-quality content that is either positive or neutral and targets the same keywords as the original negative article. If enough content is produced and it is of high enough quality, it will ultimately replace the article at the higher end of the search results.
Once the negative article has been pushed down far enough, the chances of anyone reading it are dramatically reduced. Statistics show that more than 90% of people never click beyond the first page of the search results.
ReputationDefender has more than 14 years of experience empowering individuals and businesses worldwide to control their own online reputations. You can learn more about ReputationDefender on Crunchbase or Bloomberg.
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