How to Overcome Your Business’ Bad Information Online
So, what are you going to do if competitors or your own mistakes have tarnished your online reputation? The following are the effective techniques you can employ to save your name:
Be frank. Any wise customer/employer/potential clients will Google you the minute they are serious about doing business with you. You have to be transparent, let them know what is out there, what the truth is and what you are doing to take action to it.
Make an apology if necessary. Sometimes — unfortunately — you areto blame for the mistake. A central principle of crisis communications is to say sorry as quickly as possible, so you do notprovoke the public or your bosses by showing up clueless or reckless. One good example is Washington Post columnist Mike Wise, who earlier this year weirdly decided to tweet out half-truths about an NFL quarterback. With a just one month suspension in hand, he manned it up and took accountability, tamping down the fracas over his breach of journalistic standards: “I’m paying the price I should for careless, dumb behavior in the multi-platform media world,” he announced on his radio program.
Get it down. The stability of the web establishes a major branding challenge: once bad information is out there, it is excruciatingly hard to get rid of. If you have posted the questionable content (a unkind tweet, a bland YouTube video) you can remove it and — ultimately — it will be deleted from the caches of Google and other search engines (you quicken the process by asking Google to eliminate a page or site from its listings — but only once it’s been removed). If you do not manage the content, all you can really do is request the person who does to take it away. This could be well mannered (a friend who has posted awrong photo to Facebook will probably obligate you) or not so polite (you may need to hire a lawyer if someone is slandering you and won’t stop).
Own your SEO. The best and most effective way to suppress online negative feedback is to create quality content and push the bad reviews down the search engine result page. No one but just your biggest competitor will spend time to visit page 20 on a Google search, as most reader will stick to browse the first two pages. Creating a powerful social media and online presence makes sure that the top results will be the ones to be read or seen.
Studies have shown that video, in particular, is well-loved by Google and will help you rank higher, so you might want to create a video blog. Common blogs, because their content is always updated, are also search-engine-friendly. Creating quality profiles on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn also helps, and it never hurt to be quoted in the media or write articles for a number of publications (which benefits anyone’s personal business, product or service).
Today, it can be hard to repair a ruined reputation online but it is not impossible. What methods have you used to triumph over bad reviews online, or proactively create a positive reputation?