Has your company’s online reputation been damaged by negative, false, or defamatory content on the Internet? Is the negative information ranking highly in the search results for a “Google” search of your company, product, or service?
The existing reputation of a brand has a huge impact on its overall ORM strategy. If a brand already has a positive presence on the first page of search results for its main keywords, it’s relatively easier to secure the remaining spots. This is because those results are already "authoritative." It means less work will need to go into boosting and securing them.
Given the democratic and anonymous nature of the Internet, it has never been easier to tarnish the hard earned reputation of a business online. All it takes is one rant from an upset customer, a post from a disgruntled ex-employee, or an online smear campaign by a competitor to damage a company’s reputation.
However, if your target keywords are already showing negative articles, forum threads or social media posts in the top results, quite a bit of work will be needed to to either remove them, or push them back out of sight. This is why having no presence on the web at all is sometimes better than having a negative online reputation.
A common misconception in today’s age is that online reputation issues are confined to companies engaging in unethical, criminal, or fraudulent activity. This could not be further from the truth. Every day Reputation Resolutions works with businesses of all sizes whose pristine reputations were suddenly damaged by negative content ranking at the top of search results.
These negative search results on Google and other search engines can hurt a company’s bottom line. Recent studies have shown the following:
92% of potential customers will research a business online before making a buying decision.
88% incorporate online feedback about a business or service into their purchase decision.
86% of people will hesitate to purchase from a business that has negative feedback online.
Given the above statistics, it is no surprise that the presence of negative search results can have devastating impacts on a company’s revenues and their ability to attract customers.
If this has happened to you and your company, don’t panic. There are numerous tactics & strategies that can be implemented to remove or suppress the negative search result(s) in question.
Posting to social media is something we all do, but how many of us actually take it seriously? If you want your Facebook page to be a window into your world, then you need to make it interesting and current.
Creating a posting strategy will allow you to think about the quality of your content in a more structured manner. It will also ensure that you don't post anything too personal to your profile which could harm your reputation.
Since our company’s inception in 2008 , we have encountered nearly every online reputation management issue you can imagine. This led us to develop the quickest and most effective solutions to repair the online reputations of businesses suffering from negative search results on Google.
It's so easy to argue with someone who's a thousand miles away and you'll never meet, but you need to resist the temptation. If you have a long list of arguments covering your first page of search results, then it is bound to give anyone who searches you the wrong impression.
With a hand-selected team of elite online defamation attorneys, search engine specialists, digital brand managers, PR gurus, and strategic partners, we have the ability to completely remove or suppress the negative search results hurting your company’s reputation.
Bad things online can kill a brand. It can't all be removed, but some of it can and should be. This guide tells you how to delete negative online content.
This point follows naturally from the last, but it can be easier said than done. The important thing to remember here is that online trolls exist purely to get a reaction out of people. If you don't give it to them, you can claim a well-deserved moral victory.
Take a deep breath, walk away, and don't tarnish your reputation by interacting with someone whose only goal is to cause annoyance and upset.
Here are a few of the ways online content can be removed - either from the site itself, or from search results - both are avenues to the same outcome - lower, or no, visibility of the negative content online.
Old content can be your enemy if it's out of date and conflicts with what you're doing now. If you've changed jobs, moved house, gotten married, or anything else important, then it needs to become a part of your personal story.
Continuously updating your content not only keeps it relevant. It also ensures that readers aren't confused when they look you up online only to find half a dozen conflicting accounts of who you are, and what you do.
Ways to remove online content:
Ask people to delete their content
Remove content at the publisher level
Ask people to change their content
Remove search results from Google
Suppress negative content
Why not remove opportunity killing content?
Here's a fun statistic - 65% of people trust search engines for research. Search engines are trusted more than other sources of information. What people see online about a brand, whether that's a personal brand, company or products and services, is important.
It takes seconds to tweet something and put it out there, and then everyone else has all the time in the world to pick apart what you had to say. That's one of the issues with managing your reputation online, and it's one that can be hard to get a handle on.
If you want to be able to stand by what you say, then you need to embrace the science of fact checking. Take an extra couple of minutes to double and triple check what you're planning to say. That way you can come across as someone worth listening to, rather than someone who's ignorant of the facts.
A great content marketing strategy tells a compelling story. The problem is that brands engaging in reputation management usually have a problem with their existing story. At Reputation X we like to call this the "brand mythology". Turning the mythology around can be tough.
A well-designed and compelling content marketing strategy can make a big difference as to costs involved to improve online sentiment about the brand. Think of it this way, if the story is compelling and positive it could go viral, or close to it. When that happens, other people are improving the reputation of the brand for you because they are sharing and creating content for the brand - for free.
It is critical to ensure that what people see about your brand online paints a favorable picture to potential consumers. Just one negative review or post on the first page of search engine results can be damaging to your reputation, and ultimately your business.
Removing negative reviews
Reviews can be removed if they violate the terms of service for the review sites, but what about non-review content?
Removing search results at the source
The fastest way to change search results is to remove it completely from the website in which it exists.
Your name can pop up in the most unexpected of places, and if you're not actively looking for it then it might be a long time before you realize. By setting up alerts in your browser you can see what your name is being linked to.
This is especially important if you have a common name and a namesake is currently going viral for whatever reason. Once you know what's going on, you can limit any damage done.
Removing search results from Google
If deleting content from a publisher (a blog, news site, video channel, etc.) doesn’t seem feasible, or doesn’t work, the second choice may be to ask Google and Bing to remove something from their indexes. But that doesn’t remove the content from the site itself, it just makes it far more difficult to find.
Getting it wrong is something we all do from time to time, no matter how much scheduling, planning, and fact checking we do. Making a mistake is not necessarily going to tarnish your reputation, but not owning up to it will.
A great approach to take is seeing every mistake as a chance to learn, as well as an opportunity to show people that you have the humility and levelheadedness to admit when you're wrong. A short and succinct apology or clarification is all it takes, and provided you don't apportion blame to other people you can come out the other side with your reputation intact.
Getting people to delete their own content
First, the bad news. In our 10+ years of experience we've found that a Webmaster will most often not remove online content because - after all - they put it there in the first place. But sometimes they will remove it.
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but you'd be amazed at the number of people who forget all about it. You post photos to give people a better idea of who you are and what you're like to work with. It's no use having a 10 year's old photo because it won't be as authentic and relevant as one from last month, so make sure you stay on top of it.
It often comes down to finding what they want. What motivates them?
We've offered people some pretty interesting things on behalf of our clients. We've given to charities in their name, provided direct payment, shown them the error of their ways, or sometimes after cooling down they just felt bad and needed a little nudge to remove it. People are motivated by many things. You might be surprised what works.
Moderating comments on your blog or social media posts isn't about deleting everything you disagree with. By all means block the trolls, but don't block everyone who simply has a different point of view.
If you want to build an amazing reputation you need to make the most of the instances where people go out of their way to engage with you. Keep the conversation flowing, and try to add value with every response.
Tactics to get online content removed
The following tactics work best for people rather than corporations. Every author is different. If you feel contacting the author to get online content deleted is the right approach, here's a list of ways to get people to take down a blog post, article, video, or other online content:
Appeal to their altruistic side: "You had every right to post that review. I hope I've made it right. At this point the post is really damaging my business - would you mind removing or updating it?"
Do you really know what people say about your company online? We mean, really?
Use social listening to identify and analyze online conversations about you and your brand.
Try the charity angle: "I see you support the local little league. I know removing the post you wrote might take some of your valuable time. I'd be happy to donate to the little league in your name or anonymously as a thank you for taking it down."
Take the capitalist route: "I'd like to sponsor the page you wrote about our business. We'll request a few modifications, and you'll be well compensated for your time."
Note: Modifications may mean removing the business' name, adding a special meta tag to make Google ignore the page (noindex), or removing the page altogether.
Using social media monitoring tool you can analyze your brand reputation. Get instant access to all public mentions on the internet relevant to your brand and products.