Reputation Management: Bad Stuff in Google? Forget SEO, Start Blogging

by Steve Broback on February 25, 2008

in the article How Can a Company Protect Its Reputation on Web Sites? Ben Worthen of the Wall Street Journal writes about the realities of expunging negative information posted about your company on the Web. In many ways he gets it right, but in a few aspects, he’s a bit deficient in his coverage.

He implies that there’s not much you can do to demote negative content in Google search results, which is SO not true. We have a client who was involved in a lawsuit several years ago (which they won btw) and their attorney had posted about his efforts on their behalf. The content was not really all that negative, but it was the fifth item from the top when you searched for their name in Google. Our client wanted it sent to as far below the fold as possible, so largely thanks to our efforts, it moved from position 5 to position 65. It went from the first page of search results to the sixth.

How’d we do it? We launched a blog that mentioned them frequently and invoked a blogger engagement campaign that got others mentioning their name as well. It worked like a charm. Worthen references Daniel J. Solove, an associate professor at George Washington University Law School who is also a blogger, so I am guessing he concurs with us on the power of blogging.

Here are a few key quotes from the article and my thoughts.

“Once information finds its way online, it’s almost impossible to get it off.”

If he means that Google won’t forget about it, that’s generally true. Otherwise, pages come and go all the time.

“One thing not to bother with is so-called search-engine optimization, in which you hire consultants or buy software that’s supposed to make good information rise to the top of Google rankings.”
True. We’ve posted many times that most SEO efforts are largely ineffectual voodoo in comparison to spending the same money on content creation.

“A better bet is to confront the accusations head on. If a blogger writes that your company has poor customer service, leave a comment on the site saying you’re trying to fix the problem. Similarly, never ignore false rumors, as these can spread like wildfire on the Internet. Mr. Solove says to address the rumor on your Web site as early as possible.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Want some help pushing the bad stuff down? We’re happy to help.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Julie, writer 02.26.08 at 9:24 am

Now this is the pretense of the statement “bad publicity is still good publicity” Why not invest on ghost writers to make-up for all the negative write-ups and have them turn the tables? This won’t burn a hole in your pocket! I’d be glad to submit my CV if you consider this option :razz:

2 Steve Broback 02.26.08 at 3:22 pm

I don’t get what you’re saying here. Investing in ghost writers would likely push the bad stuff down too — and would be a hell of a lot cheaper than hiring some SEO guru to push other pages up…

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