In today’s world, it’s essential for everyone that their name, or the name of their company, is featured in an accurate and positive light. A great reputation is an asset. It is built over the course of many years through an honest dedication to a business, its customers and employees.

However, a positive reputation that you’ve been building for years can be compromised almost overnight. Negative content that appears when you or your company name is typed in search engines must be addressed and neutralized as soon as possible.

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We live in times where access and sharing information between people in different continents can happen in seconds. You can perform your job impeccably and serve hundreds of happy people, but one disgruntled client can lead to bad comments and a trashed presence on the internet. Whether the criticism is justified or unjustified, it can easily harm you or your business. What do you do in such cases and where do you begin?

Fortunately, there are several proven techniques and strategies that you can employ. The goal is to make the negative content and comments from the search results disappear or at least become more difficult to see. When you want a feature or highlight specific content as much possible on search engines and simultaneously suppress the defamatory information, top reputation management companies, like Blue Ocean Global Technology use what is known as Reverse SEO. This technique does not remove negative content or pages because that objective may be impossible to achieve. However, pushing down the content that is hurting your reputation will make it far less noticeable and less accessible.

One Bad Post Can Cost You More Than You Can Imagine

Anyone who Googles you or your company and encounters links that say negative things about you may automatically write you off as a realistic option. The challenge is that it is almost impossible to measure lost opportunities and the number of people that have decided not to do business with you.

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Let’s say you a top attorney working at a reputable law firm, for example, and a client leaves your firm a bad review. It doesn’t matter whether the complaint was true, accurate or even about you. The negative perception may harm your ability to engage new clients who read the unfavorable feedback. It’s too easy to Google someone and their business. Do not let the criticism just stay in the search results for your company because it can:

  • Negatively influence how others perceive your business
  • Drag experts or partners away from your company or brand
  • Destroy your (online) reputation and perceived ability to deliver value
  • Discredit the overall quality of your products and services
  • Discredit you as an individual form both a personal and professional standpoint.

Because of the listed bad outcomes and many others that weren’t listed here, it is very important that you react quickly and effectively to such problems.

Removing Content

The ideal scenario is to remove the complete negative search result. If the result of the search is related to pages that are in your possession or under your control, then it is not a problem. But how do you remove the content that is on website pages that are not under your control? A negative comment on you or your company on a blog or a social network site that is not your property is far more challenging to remove.

Each case is unique and must be viewed objectively. The first option is to directly contact the owner or webmaster to explain why certain content about you is inappropriate. If successful, you can then ask them to remove it.

Another option is to contact the administrator of the search engine that gave you the controversial search result. Namely, certain data that is published may be in conflict with the terms of use of the search engine itself. For example, Google forbids the publication of some personal and financial information about individuals or businesses. The same case is with aggressive and discriminating content. If Google feels that the content is truly inappropriate and in violation of its terms, it will not be deleted from the source website because Google is not their owner. However, that same content will no longer appear in the search results.

The third option is to find elements in the published content for which you can sue or explore legal recourse. Consult a firm with legal expertise to explore your options for digital expungement and evaluate what may be cost-effective. Contacting lawyers directly may be prohibitively expensive and you can potentially risk even greater negative publicity when erroneously filing a lawsuit against the site owner.

Fight Fire with Fire

When you become aware that you can’t prohibit or remove certain content, you will have the ability to make it less visible. You will accomplish this by pushing the negative content as low as possible in search engine results. Research has shown that when someone enters your name into the search engine, in most cases, they only check the first or second page of the results. So, your goal is to at least remove yourself from the first page. If you manage to push down the negative result to the fourth, fifth or lower page, it’s almost as if you completely removed it from the internet.

With the reverse SEO techniques, you can achieve results if you identify a firm with experience and a comprehensive understanding of all the factors that affect search rankings. Simply pushing down the bad information about yourself with positive information is easier said than done. Make sure you fight fire with fire!

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In search engines, the results of social networks rank very high. Work with a team with expertise in creating optimized profiles on the most appropriate social networks. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr should all be considered. Register under your full name and surname or company name and start with basic information. Also, make sure that the profile is open to the public, and post only the things that align with the positive perception you seek.

Writing a blog where you will regularly publish new content can also help you realize positive search results. Regularly update your blog or company’s website, and engage in commenting on content and articles on other sites under your full name and surname. You can even start a forum and offer tips on subjects you know well. This is an excellent opportunity to not only mention your name but also showcase your expertise. Every move that includes regular and quality communication under your name is welcome when it comes to clearing your online reputation.

If all of this is too big of a job for you or you don’t have the time or sufficient knowledge on the subject, it’s best to employ the services of a digital reputation and SEO expert – one with years of experience in this area.

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