Search engine optimization (SEO) has the power to propel your website to the top of the results in Google and other search engines, offering excellent visibility, boosting brand awareness, and bringing in potential customers.
However, SEO can also work against you, with unfavorable articles or photos and poor reviews potentially outranking your website and causing untold damage to your reputation. If you have been impacted by negative SEO, the good news is that its effects do not have to be permanent.
With the right approach, you can limit the reach of negative information about your brand online and ensure it is viewed in a more positive light.
Here is a look at how you can identify negative SEO and address it before it causes more damage.
Assess Your Google Search Results
To find out what online information is being disseminated about you and your brand, you will need to take a close look at your Google search results.
There is a good chance you are well aware of what shows up on the first page when searching for your company, but there are other searches that should be analyzed as well, such as your autocomplete suggestions and image searches.
To check your autocomplete suggestions, enter your name into the Google search bar without pressing the enter key. You will be presented with a drop-down list of suggested keywords.
Examine these closely and see if there are any inaccurate or negative results, such as “your brand scam” or “your brand lawsuit”. These suggestions are often the first impression that searchers will have about you, and even if they are ultimately untrue, many people won’t bother to research further.
Google offers users a “report inappropriate predictions” function you can use if your company finds a defamatory autocomplete suggestion that violates the company’s policies.
It is best to focus on the first 20 results that show up when searching for your business’s name as these are the ones most people will see, and they have the biggest effect on your online reputation.
Here are some approaches for addressing common types of negative information you may encounter:
Negative Comments and Reviews
In some cases, you may be able to get a website to remove negative comments or reviews about you or your company. Look over the site’s guidelines carefully; if you find any violations of their rules, you may be able to flag the review for a member of the site’s staff to review it and, if appropriate, remove it, or you can try contacting the site directly and asking them to remove it.
Negative and Outdated Information
If a website has posted outdated or unfavorable information about you or your business, you may be able to appeal to the website’s administrator or editor to take it down. It is helpful if you have a compelling reason for them to remove it, such as factual inaccuracies that could hurt their reputation as well.
If they agree, they might delete the entire article causing the link to disappear from the search results. Alternatively, you might ask them to redact your name or de-index the link in question.
If your review of the images that appear when you search for your name or that of your company is embarrassing or negative, click on the image to determine the website that is hosting it. From that point, you can contact them and ask them to take it down.
If they are not cooperative and the image is of you when you were under the age of 18, Google offers a form for requesting the removal of personal content from Google Search here.
This will not remove your photo from the site that is hosting it, but it can make sure it does not appear in search results, which means those searching for your business or name will not find it.
Suppressing Negative Content in Search Results
Unfortunately, it may not be possible to remove all of the negative content you find about you or your company online. However, you can attempt to push it further down in the search engine results by creating new positive content and helping it to rank above the negative links.
This means that those negative pages will appear several pages back in the search results, beyond the point where most people stop looking. An SEO company can help you with a suppression strategy that helps you reshape your public image and creates a more positive first impression.
They can develop a strategy that includes creating a professional website and online profiles, along with press releases and other content, such as interviews, that is designed to rank highly in search results, thereby suppressing negative links.
They can also take steps to optimize your existing content so that it will rank higher than undesirable content.
Learn More About Enhancing Your SEO From 321 Web Marketing
There are many steps you can take to manage your online reputation; the SEO professionals at 321 Web Marketing are experienced in designing effective strategies for addressing negative SEO. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and position your brand in a positive light.