Getting negative media attention is inevitable as long as your brand exists.
The more popular your brand becomes, the more negative press it will get.
That’s just the way the internet works.
Celebrities and brands are getting ‘canceled’ left and right and ‘hate campaigns’ are common on the internet. Because of this, it would be remiss not to focus on reputation management and brand building.
In this comprehensive article, 66 experts share their tactical tips to remove or suppress negative press from page 1 on Google. Use their insight to understand the complexity of this and to get some ideas about how you can solve your negative press problem.
Focus on Reputation Management
Jacob Villa, from School Authority, states, “As a marketing director, what most important to me is brand image, our online reputation. However, a great brand image isn’t always the case. Even if our favorite listings appear first in search, there are often additional less-than-ideal results below them. And to keep it away not to harm our brand, instead of removing them, Developing a reputation management strategy is the first step in burying bad search results. Next, if you sell items and services, optimize page titles and meta descriptions for your brand name, as well as a web page on your site for reviews. Lastly, use social media to your advantage. Post frequently and interact with customers and thought leaders in your field.”
Courtney Quigley from Rize Reviews, states, “I will not say that you can completely remove negative reviews online, but at least you can manage those with the concept of online reputation management. Online reputation management is essential as it allows businesses to monitor their online reputation regularly. Through regular monitoring of their online reputation, companies can avoid the potential loss of a significant amount of new business leads and sales. So removing negative reviews is not an easy task for you to know in the ORM field or hire the best ORM company to do that for you. With lots of strategies & techniques, they will manage your negative reviews & build a positive brand reputation online. That’s the only way you can bury bad or negative reviews from various platforms like Google, Glassdoor, Mouthshut, etc.”
Increase Your Online Visibility
Jamie Hejna from Ollie Marketing, states, “From an SEO standpoint, sometimes the best way to get the negative press off the first page is to replace the first page results with positive press. To do this, the strategy would be seeking opportunities to have content published that includes the search query that brings up the bad content. Once there are new articles, posting them on social media or finding opportunities to have other websites link to the new articles can improve the positive press rankings and invariably lower the rankings of the negative press.”
Solomon Thimothy, from Clickx.io, states, “Content and social visibility are the golden tickets to help push negative press for your brand. By focusing on generating visibility by a balance of inbound links and page optimizations, you can push down the negative press. You have to leverage every directory, create social profiles/pages, submit your details, or create positive press releases. The key would be to create more content with your company and spread it to every possible channel with high DA. If a bad review comes up on the first page even with all the visibility and page optimization strategies, then it’s either you have to increase your content and social profiles or reach out to the website head-on. Sometimes you have to request directly to Google to deindex the article or post because there are times that it will still come up even when the journalist or webmaster has already changed or retracted it.”
Jeff Moriarty from Naperville, states, “About a year ago I had a client that had a pretty bad local article posted about his company. This article was showing up right below his company’s listing in Google and would show up whenever you would search for their company name. In order to push the negative article down, we worked with higher authority websites to do write-ups on his company. This included articles in Medium, questions in Quora, a few local press releases, and signing up for many 3rd party review platforms such as TrustPilot, Reseller Ratings, and Shopper Approved. Lastly, we did some Google ads for his brand as well, which pushed everything down. It took a couple of months, but the damaging article slowly moved down the first page and eventually to page 2. The client was thrilled. Took a lot of work and a good amount of money, but we were able to accomplish it.”
Nathan Hughes from Diggity Marketing, states, “It can be a bit difficult to remove negative press from the first page of Google. The trick is to bury the negative content. This can be done by creating content and promoting them extensively. Also, existing web content can be promoted on social media. When ranking, Google takes social media presence into account as well, so, if the social account has good content, chances are Google would show those results. With proper search engine marketing that involves research, content outreach, and creation, it is possible to bury the negative press.”
Flip the Narrative
Johannes Larsson from the Financer, states, “First of all, there is no such thing as bad publicity, so if your business is ranking on the first page, for good or bad reasons, it could still help your ultimate goals of getting more traffic or making sales. If there’s any way to create a positive spin on your negative press, then it might be better to embrace and even capitalize off it than to try and remove it. For example, if your business has been ‘canceled’ or called out by somebody else, you have a great opportunity to create a higher ranking and change the narrative entirely. You cannot control what other people say about you, but you have a say in how you respond. If you can use wit and emotional intelligence to get them to retract their statement once they’ve heard your side of the story, you can eliminate any negativity and turn your ‘bad press’ into a success story.”
Linda Fairly from NumLooker, states, “To do this, I would say either have someone respond to each review by thanking them for their feedback and explaining why they shouldn’t be concerned or try to find out who these people are and reach out to them directly. Or, if you can get to the bottom of it, which is tough to do because sometimes these people use fake names or hide behind anonymous accounts, they can contact Google and ask them to remove the review.”
Sebastian Schaeffer from DoFollow, states, “If a quick Google search of your name returns mostly positive results, but adding a specific keyword retrieves negative press, you can always try to take back the term. For instance, if the search for the name ‘John Smith’ returns positive results, but ‘John Smith’ + ’employer’ shows some negative results, by adding the word ’employer’ to positive content containing John Smith, John Smith can end up associating his good reputation with the word employer.”
Rafe Gomez from VC INC. Marketing, states, “There are two very effective ways to tamp down and counteract any negative press about you that appears in Google’s search results. One option is to write an op-ed piece for a prominent media outlet with high domain authority that features news, developments, and updates about your industry. If you have an interesting point of view about a trending topic that is dominating conversations and coverage, a byline article that presents your thoughts on it – especially if your perspective is new, fresh, and well-researched – would jump to the top of Google’s page 1 in searches of your name. Another idea is to coordinate a fundraising initiative for a prominent charitable or philanthropic organization in your community that you support. News about this effort and your participation in it will rank high on page 1 of Google above negative stories that emerged previously.”
Contact the Publication or Google
Cady Cohen from Tandem Digital Marketing Agency states, “If you are looking to replace a pesky, negative article, focus on creating content that can be published on the negative news source. For example, if your client has a negative article on Bloomberg, you can reach out to the editor of the site and see if you can post a guest piece. The guest piece will include specific keywords that will help your brand rank higher while pushing down the negative article. You are also telling Google to rank the more recent piece of content vs the negative article published on that site. Once the guest piece is uploaded, you can begin sending out links to help boost the overall rankings and receive more link backs.”
Michael Miller, from VPN Online, states, “Knowing that you have some negative reviews online is troublesome. Your best shot here is to contact the journalists. Ask them to either remove the article entirely or have them add a “NOINDEX” tag to the HTML of the page so Google will no longer index it. The key here to persuade them is to find out what motivates them in publishing a negative blog post about your brand. With it, you’ll have a better idea of what they want in return just to delete it. If this doesn’t work, instead of attempting to remove it, you can create more positive content using the same target keywords in order to remove your brand’s negative press from page 1 on Google. And the best way to speed it up is to take advantage of an online reputation management firm.”
Petra Odak from Better Proposals, states, ”If they’re actually ranking for a keyword that you’re interested in, your best course of action would be to get in touch and ask them to rectify the information. In many cases, this should be enough to change their mind. They could refuse to take down their opinion, and that’s where things get difficult. If they’re ranking well for a keyword you want and sharing a negative opinion, you have double the problem on your hands. The best course of action is to upgrade your content and make it better and build some links to it so that your page ranks higher. For a highly important keyword, it’s crucial to have your page rank in the top five, so waste no money trying to beat that page to the first spot.”
Susan Thompson from Bonus Finder, states, “The simplest possible way to get rid of a negative review or comment is to contact the webmaster and request them to remove that content. Also, it is good to send some evidence supporting your claim. We decided to build an aggressive reputation management strategy where we leveraged a combination of awesome content, technical SEO, and strategic outreach to re-craft the brand image of our company. We were able to improve our CTR on favorable content by almost 400%. Furthermore, the negative reviews were based on claims by someone who later admitted their story wasn’t accurate.”
Sander Tamm from E-Student, states, “Before you try to move negative press down into Google search engine oblivion, consider whether you can get the content removed from Google. If it includes any personal protected information or infringes on your intellectual property rights, you can get rid of it. Make a request to Google by flagging the content for moderation, but beware that requests made in bad faith may lead to even more negative press your way from web activists. To push results down to Google’s rankings, you need to start creating relevant, good-quality content that is SEO-optimized for the search query that’s leading to your bad press. By focusing on the good and making content that readers want to click on, you’ll drown out the bad message with more positive ones.”
Julian Goldie states, “Requesting The Publisher to Remove Negative Press or Change The Content Altogether. The first method here is most recommended. If anyone has posted negative feedback or press about you or your brand on a third-party page, contact the web owner of that site for a removal request. However, you can only do this if the negative press/feedback is unjustified, rumor, incorrect, biased or is done with malicious intent. You need to back your justification for removal with evidence of the conversation/scenario that caused such negative feedback.
The second method directly relates to the content that is published on your site or the sites where you have admin access. If content from there has sparked negative feedback, either change or delete it so that it will be removed from the searches.”
Kiedra Tyson states, “I have several clients where I had to remove negative press. I typically work in sports, entertainment, and tourism. On the entertainment side, I had a lot of reality tv talent, so you can imagine the amount of negative press I deal with. Depending on the publication, I always reach out first, counter the information that they have leaked, ask them to allow my client to tell their side of the story, ask them to write a retraction, and counter that press with a lot of positive and more recent press. The higher the site’s traffic, the higher it will appear in the google search pushing the negative press down. In a perfect world the site will just write a retraction if we counter well enough.”
Becky Ronalds from Ranking Mom, states, “Google provides website owners with a number of options for removing inaccurate, personal, dangerous, or obsolete content from their search results. Publication of sensitive financial or personal information, for example, is against Google’s standards… It is forbidden to employ anything that could be used to conduct fraud. Images or videos that are offensive are also prohibited. If you come across any bad content that you believe violates any of these standards, please contact Google and request that it be deleted. Keep in mind that the page will still exist; it will simply be hidden from Google search results. Merely utilize the Remove old content tool if the content you want to be removed is simply outdated or the page no longer exists. Use this tool only if the result snippet or cached (stored) result in SERPs differs from the current page, as Google is very particular about how to use and not use it.”
Milosz Krasinski, states, “Negative press and comments can be soul-destroying when you’ve worked really hard to build up your business. While removing negative press is certainly not easy, it is possible. First, if you receive negative comments, never be tempted to be anything less than professional in response as this will only escalate the problem. Instead, be courteous and offer to fix the problem, and ask for the comment to be removed. If the negative article is from somebody else’s website, email them to ask for it to be removed. In extreme cases, you might need to remove and update your website to break the link.”
Create Strong Profiles
Colin Davis from Blue Digits SEO Agency states, “For both individuals and brands, we have seen that the following types of profiles can rank well provided you have relevant content.
- Crunchbase profiles
- Linkedin profiles
- Youtube videos
- Active Twitter pages
- Active Facebook pages
- Active Instagram pages
- Tumblr pages
- Build out your own website and have it optimized for your brand name and query
In addition to this, link all these social profiles together. For example, post links from your Twitter profile to your website, FB page, etc, and vice versa. This helps Google understand the link that exists between them. Our suggestion is to regularly post on these social profiles. You might not see the results on day 1 but continue posting regularly for a few months, build links to these pages and gradually these pages will start gaining rankings in Google’s search results.”
Jason Lavis from Out of the Box Innovation states, “If negative pages can be removed from the internet, then this should be the first goal. If the press is unwarranted, libelous, or perhaps can be negotiated away with a letter or telephone call, this is best. The next step would be to push the listings down to page two or three in the results. Look for high authority websites to post information using the same keywords. One often overlooked place is social media. Social media listings tend to rank on page one for people and companies, so make sure you set up public social media accounts. Can you make a Wikipedia page for you or your business? Niche-specific directories and review sites can also rank highly. You could probably create another five high authority results in a day, or perhaps even in an afternoon.”
Jeff Romero from Octiv Digital, states, “Negative press is never good for an individual or business. To combat this and properly manage a reputation, it’s important to create profiles on social media sites and a variety of business directories. Sites like Manta, Merchant Circle, Yellow Pages, Yelp, and FourSquare can rank quickly in Google for a business’s brand terms. This will help round out a branded search engine results page and suppress the negative information. It’s also a good move to have a ‘reviews’ page on your own website where you can manage the content and show positive reviews to visitors. Lastly, if a business has the budget available, consider sending out a press release with positive information about your business. Google will index these pages and they can quickly take up page 1 of results.”
Mitchell Harad, from Expert Opportunities, states, “The rise of endless social media profiles might have made it tough for your grandparents to keep up but they present you with a proven avenue for reputation management. Obviously, focusing on positive press is a long-term strategy for creating a bulletproof reputation on Google, and that covers earning mentions in the press and attracting positive reviews, but in the short term you can set up and optimize your social profiles as these are common first-page results (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn). That’s a handful of spots on the first page of Google already. Throw in your website and you’re talking about 5 of the 10 organic spots. You’ll want to add content to these channels (no ghost profiles) and link to them from everywhere you can. The more activity on these social profiles, the more likely they’ll rank on Page #1.”
Flynn Zaiger from Online Optimism, states, “The best way to get the negative press off of page one is to fill page one with valuable web pages that Google sees as more authoritative than the negative press. Since Google typically only shows one to two pages from the same domain at a time, that means that you need anywhere from five to ten different domains to rank above the negative press. Rather than attempting to perform SEO for nearly a dozen websites, it’s much smarter to focus your efforts on building strong pages, on powerful domains. The simplest way to do this is to capitalize on the power of social media networks. Social media profiles, plus your webpage, should be more than enough to completely fill out a full page of Google results for your business.”
Sharon Van Donkelaar from Expandi.io, states, “Facing negative reviews or comments is something that has happened even to the greatest brands and companies out there, and even though it’s something normal to occur, it doesn’t mean that it won’t hurt your business, especially if those bad reviews or comments come up on the first page of Google’s search result. Even though the best would be completely removing those negative articles about you from Google’s first page, when you don’t have control over those web pages then you have no other option than to bury them. I’ve done this successfully in the past, and what I did was to set up as many social profiles as I could so they rank higher in Google and suppress the negative results. Social profiles tend to rank pretty well on search engine results, and I took advantage of it. I created a profile for my business on all social media platforms I was missing and it did the trick.”
Take Advantage of Blogging
Miranda Yan, from VINPIT, states, “In the recent past, we have been in situations where some articles were spreading negativity about our new product. We came up with reverse SEO to suppress that content from Google’s page 1. For this, we came up with building a few blogging websites and created quality content with proper SEO, keeping the target focused on our product. We tried to make a positive reputation through content and went for all SEO tips like creating backlinks, imposing keywords, etc. We also managed to spread it on various social media platforms to get it on the 1st page of google as much as possible. Apart from that, we also hired some freelance bloggers to promote our product. Soon the result came our way by suppressing that harmful content to be pushed off of page 1 of Google search.”
Harriet Chan, from CoCoFinder, states, “Starting a blog on the existing website or domain allows you to create fresh, helpful content that grows your digital presence. Write quality content for authorities in your industry is an excellent way to showcase your expertise on third-party platforms. You don’t have to bury the search results if you can control them. Understand who posted the content is it you or someone else. Reclaim a term by using it while posting positive content to associate it with a good reputation.”
Focus on Brand-Building
Blake Akers, from The Atomic Agency, states, “I think the best strategy you can implement in this case is an aggressive brand-building campaign to crowd out the negative press.
The first three things that come to mind are:
- Release a positive article on one of the newswires that gets picked up by several authority sites
- Build citations on the most relevant and authoritative business directories you can find
Completing these steps should move that negative press down to page 2+ so few if any people ever see it again. If you structure your press release content right, it will rank prominently anytime someone searches your brand. Make sure the brand name is mentioned early in the title and you’re all set. Your more powerful directories like Yelp or HomeAdvisor will also usually rank high in branded search, provided you use unique content on each one and fill out all the info correctly.”
Paige Arnof-Fenn from Mavens & Moguls, states, “I think having a good online reputation is incredibly important to building a strong business. Here are the best tips I can recommend to bury negative press:
- Do great work that people will talk about
- Give lots of talks and use examples from your experience, I do a lot of public speaking which leads to people talking about me online
- Be active on social media so you can share your talks and content and your followers can help spread the word
- Generate lots of fresh content that will push down any potential bad comments online
- Monitor your online data to shut down trolls and misinformation, there are several online tools to alert you of potential problems (some are free others are for a fee)
This advice is not fancy and does not require big budgets but it does take time. It is a smart investment to get this right. Authenticity is the key, it has to be and feel real for it to work I think.”
Eden Cheng from People Finder Free, states, “One strategy to remove negative press from page 1 on Google is by burying or suppressing it because most publications will not remove negative press, ‘search engine suppression’ is another avenue one can explore which involves creating or generating an array of positive press to push the negative article further down the search results. This can be achieved by, for example, publishing your own content on an active basis, posting optimized media such as videos, photos, and interviews have proven to be effective in removing negative press from page 1 on Google. This can also help in showing your business in a positive light and strengthening your personal brand.”
Jack Zmudzinski from Future Processing, states, “Create new pages that target the keywords the negative press ranks for. Identify the keywords of the negative articles, and do your best to push them back to page 2. Make sure to create comprehensive, informative blog posts and match the user intent of the particular SERP to increase your chances of outranking them. Chances are, the negative pages are poorly optimised and you can easily overtake them. Create a Wikipedia page: Wikipedia is the world’s largest repository of knowledge. If a page on Wikipedia ranks for your business’ name, it will be difficult to remove from Google results as well. However, if you create a Wikipedia article about your company and update it with information that outranks the negative press, then this can also help push back pages one ranking in Google search results.”
Create Fresh, Positive Content
Karl Hughes, from Draft.Dev, states, “Use a holistic approach, which is about improving SEO anyway, shift the attention away from the negative results by driving your regular content into those high search results. It seems simple, but generating positive press as a countermeasure is a long-standing strategy. You can explore new or upcoming product launches, invite guest posters, host events, and sponsorships, or even do something press-worthy — like donating a large chunk of money to a charity.”
Austin Cantrell from Cantrell Communications Inc., states, “One highly effective way to push a bad story lower is to get a neutral or positive story written on the same domain as the bad story you’re trying to push down. So, for example, if you have a bad story on the NYT, the best way to push that story lower is to get another story on the NYT website. Google’s algorithm values recency, so it will likely display the neutral/positive story before the negative one.”
Charlotte Sheridan from The Small Biz Expert, states, “If there is a negative story about you or your company at the top of Google the first thing to do is find out if there is any way the original publisher will remove it. In many instances, this will not be possible. In this case, the approach will be to instead to start putting other, more positive content on that outranks the original piece. If the negative piece is a press piece, it’s likely to be categorised by Google under “news”. Therefore it’s vital that you too create content to lower this as news. The news items on Google are often time prioritised – after all news needs to be recent. So by creating fresher news, you will push this down. Think press releases, helping journalists with content and company news.”
Angela Haarmann from Kolbeco Marketing & PR Agency, states, “Dethroning content from page 1 of Google is no small feat (and it’s an even bigger task to keep it off). That doesn’t make it impossible, that makes it a challenge. Right out of the gate, take up as much real estate in the search results as possible, organic and paid. Run Google Ads, claim and optimize your knowledge panel or Google My Business listing, and flood the market with positive press on reputable websites. Keep it current and fresh while monopolizing the space “above the scroll.” While you work towards highlighting your new story, it’s just as important to recognize that you can bury the negative press on page 2, but you can’t kill it. It’s out there and you have to be prepared to answer for it. Have a plan just in case it comes up, or your unprepared response (or total lack thereof) will land you back at square 1.”
Katherine Brown from Spyic, states, “You can use Reverse SEO to suppress negative press from Google’s first-page search engine. One way of doing this is to create more positive content to bury the negative content in the search results. This strategy will also help you promote your brand in a positive light. Most people only visit the first few links of their search results. For example, if you have some positive reviews ranking 2nd and 3rd on Google pages, you can create SEO-focused content to push them on the first page of the search results while the negative press moves down. Once you get the negative reviews pushed to the third or fourth pages, be sure that most users won’t even see it.”
Get Positive Press & Create Great Content
Kevin Miller states, “One of the most effective ways to get negative press away from Google is simple: inundate your page with POSITIVE press. If you add stories detailing customer satisfaction, company achievements, or anything else that paints your services in a positive light, it will overpower any negative press you get. It may seem like a simple solution, but it will help get positive attention.”
Brandon Hopkins from Diamond Links states, “Great content, published on great sites, leads to great Google ranking results. Rather than working against Google’s algorithm, we give the algorithm what it wants, trustworthy content published on trustworthy websites. Since we’re writing the content, or directing at a minimum, we are seeking to control the narrative of what Google shows in the search results.”
Isaac Mashman states, “Removing negative press from the first page of Google is as simple as replacing it with a positive message. Although many sites are high ranking in domain authority, with time they are less likely to remain on the first page as Google will detect the news is outdated, hence the algorithms will look for replacements. Google is an unbiased machine, and if you feed it consistent content, it will reward you. Depending on the extent of the press, I would consider sending a press release through a vetted newswire service that has the opportunity of being distributed on other high-ranking sites. In this press release, talk about something good that is going on in your business, or community. Find a way to “rewrite” your wrongs so to speak, and show the community you are with them and are listening to their feedback and commentary.”
John Frigo from Best Price Nutrition, states, “When it comes to removing negative press from Page 1 of Google, it’s not about removing content from Google, it’s about outranking the negative content with positive content or really any other content. For example, if someone writes about you or your business being a scam, there’s oftentimes not a lot if anything you can do to get that taken down from the internet, however, you can get other content better-ranked so when someone searches you they see what you want them to see as opposed to negative content. We can do this a number of ways but it often utilizes using very established sites with high Domain Authority, for example, something like a Medium Blog, Social Media Profiles or Business Directories.”
Sarah Miller from Axis Entertainment, states, “The best thing to do to combat negative press is to create, promote, and post positive press. Use social as well as byline articles, thought /opinion pieces, product launch updates, etc. all-new news pushes the bad news further down the page. As a last resort, you can always hire a “whitehat” to create backlinks to various sites to help raise your profile and bury the negative. Get clients & partners to also post great reviews. PR is critical so best to always consult a PR agency first.”
Eric Ang from One Search Pro states, “Build a series of positive press releases for the business. Encourage customers to share their positive reviews or publish quotations from satisfied clients. A greater amount of positive feedback can eventually rank above the negative press, or at the very least, send it to page 2. Finally, create YouTube videos for your business. Google just loves videos. They tend to be more shareable especially among consumers. They are easy to consume and can gain traction quicker than an article that’s several pages long. Optimize your videos and work to get them ranked. For example, you can create video tutorials or crash courses related to your niche, then optimize the titles and description boxes with target keywords.”
Peter James Manzano from Thrive Agency, states, “Quality and amount are the names of the negative-posting disposal game. Assuming you need your shocking client audits to get seen in SERPs — instead of those negative ones — make (and enhance) tribute pages. You can likewise request more surveys on your Google posting or different locales, similar to Yelp or Amazon. The more these pages get refreshed, the more they’re recorded by Google. What’s more, assuming you need to construct experts for your image, distribute thought and industry initiative pieces on your blog or webpage. Get highlighted on sites or webcasts applicable to your crowd, and influence instruments like HARO or Help a B2B to get your name in more places. Finally, make a point to enhance your pages and any highlights you have with connections to your site and brand-explicit metadata — and share it via social media!”
Use Reverse SEO
Mike Nemeroff from Rush Order Tees, states, “Bury the negative content with more content using reverse SEO. When you have negative articles or backlinks showing up high on your brand’s search results, your best bet to remedy the situation is often to suppress the content by producing as much additional SEO content as possible. When practicing reverse SEO, maximizing content creation is key. Ensure you are active and frequent on social media and continue setting up new profiles on new channels to engage with different segments of your audience. The stronger your online presence, the more frequent blog posts and articles of yours will be written, shared, and spread online, which will replace the negative first page results.”
Michelle Davies from Best Ever Lifestyle Guide, states, “One of the core objectives of online reputation management is to make negative feedback in Google less noticeable. You do this by suppressing negative content through Reverse SEO. Reverse SEO is a strategy to push down bad feedback by optimizing more favorable content using the same keywords. One of the simplest ways to do reverse SEO is to amplify content creation to promote your brand. You can create a company blog and post valuable content regularly. Aim to become a thought leader in your industry by ensuring that the content is informational and engaging. Setting up and maintaining active social media profiles will also help a lot.”
Keep Track of Brand Mentions
Andrew Prince from James Scott Farrin Law, states, “The first step in suppressing negative press is to recognize that it even happened in the first place. It is smart to utilize tools like Google Alerts and Talkwalker to get pinged when your brand name or top executives in your company are mentioned in Google. It is much better to find negative press yourself as it happens rather than it being sent to you by someone else. Your company’s website typically can only hold one or two spots in search results. To suppress negative press, it’s crucial to get onto other sites that can help. Ask for reviews on platforms like Yelp, Facebook, and Glassdoor on a consistent basis so if there’s negative press, there’s a history of positive sentiment about your company. There may also be opportunities to write an article on Medium or another platform that can compete with the negative press in search results.”
Invest in a Long-Term PR Strategy
Adam Gingery from Majux, states, “Firstly, do not wait until negative press hits you to start doing PR. Even when times are good, you should be publishing research or thought leadership, sharing it with relevant publications, and networking with journalists. That way, if you get negative press, you’ll have plenty of good results that also show up in the SERPs and naturally push the bad results to the side. Publish tweets and YouTube videos to crowd the SERPs with positive results… Google will often show tweets and videos in the results if you Google someone’s name, and you can control them. If you are really in a pinch, you can publish a press release with your name in the title through a high-quality newswire – a good wire will be picked up by Google News, and that story will show in the news carousel, thereby crowding out negative results.”
Baron Christopher Hanson from RedBaron Consulting, states, “The best way to remove negative press from page-one on Google is to work voraciously to create new and positive editorial press for every aspect of your company –– to both counter the negative news locally and nationally, and to provide Google with multiple new and fresh articles containing strategic SEO terms and timeliness. The only way to suppress unfortunate press is to create far more new and positive press. Unfortunately, SEO and Google removal tactics are only a minimal part of any “page one” success strategy. The solution is to hire a talented publicist and get uber-busy creating new and positive PR events, newsworthy stories, and published news deep within the culture of your company. Only aggressively fresh and positive PR, news articles, blogging, and up-to-date editorial coverage will organically suppress older negative press on your page-one Google presence.
Teila Ugoro from Growth Boost, states, “Once we had to deal with a client that had negative press nationwide, damaging his direct name search on Google. To combat this, we created a pseudo of a person with the same name, with his own personal website and used traditional SEO strategies to rank his website and his author profiles higher on Google. Eventually, this pushed the negative press down.”
Emily Hall from Liquid Web, states, “The first thing most people try to do after failing to contact the publishers of negative press is to attempt negative SEO campaigns on the articles. This is in fact a risky move. The reason is that you run the risk of having a positive impact and pushing it even higher if you don’t know what you’re doing. Instead, what we do is firstly conduct an audit of the brand/company/person the negative press is directed towards. You want to make sure that they are covering all bases and have all of their branded social media accounts, directory listings, and web 2.0 sites built out and indexed. From there, we build a new press release campaign that provides the business with a range of positive ‘newsworthy’ articles on powerful sites. This allows for a large number of news websites to quickly be indexed in Google and can provide some quick wins towards pushing the negative press down to the depths of Google’s page 2 and beyond.”
Freddie Chatt states, “Most of the negative press will display on terms like ‘BRAND reviews’ or ‘BRAND news’ so the key approach we look to negate any negative articles featured in these results is to create dedicated pages for these terms on our own site. The simplest way to do this is to create a dedicated reviews page on your site and host the real reviews you collect from your customers, with ratings, testimonials, etc all featured on the page. Due to the length of the page naturally from using the reviews, there is little additional copy needed on this page and once it’s live this will rank very well for ‘BRAND reviews’ pushing other pages further down. A follow-up strategy to this is to approach bloggers and ask them to review your site and post a review on the site. This will usually need to be paid for but if they will be writing a real review and if you then link to it from your reviews page it will receive a boost and likely rank above any negative articles.”
Combine Multiple Marketing Strategies
Patrick Garde from ExaWeb, states, “We used a combination of SEO, Social Media Marketing and Content Marketing to remove unwanted results on Google page 1. With this approach, we were able to populate the 1st page of our own results (website, social media profiles, etc.) which pushed down the negative press/articles on the 2nd page.”
Sara Smith from Conklin Media, states, “During my time working in reputation management, I used a few different strategies to suppress search results. The first was to build social media profiles with the intention of having them rank above any negative search results. Linking between these properties, websites, any bios, and more using the individual’s name as anchor text is very important. Another strategy is to create content and pitch it to third-party publications. Many of them include a short bio and a backlink when they publish the article. This author bio can rank in search results and improve your industry authority and digital footprint. Articles such as biography pieces that incorporate the name you want to rank for often are important. These can be published on a personal blog or a company website.”
Take Legal Action (only if it’s defamation)
David Aylor states, “As the CEO of David Aylor Law Offices and a practicing lawyer, I want people struggling with negative press on Google to know their legal rights. Negative press can be more than just a pain – it can be downright harmful to your business. If someone is saying something valid about your business, that’s one thing, but when it comes to defamation, you don’t need to bury the story in Google – you need to remove it. Google will remove negative stories if you get a legal court order from a civil lawsuit. Defamation protects yourself or your business from unjustified harm against its reputation i.e. lies made up to make you look bad. Consult with a defamation lawyer, who can send a cease-and-desist letter to the publication. If that’s not enough to get the bad press taken down, you may need to pursue civil action to get the law to enforce its removal by the domain owner and Google.”
Andrew Taylor from Net Lawman, states, “You can (and should) contact Google directly to submit a legal removal request. State that the content is wrongfully hurting your brand’s reputation and if it is false, ensure you provide relevant information to prove it is so. You can contact the content producer correctly (there are ways to source the email address linked to a website), stating your thoughts on the matter in a polite way and asking them to remove it. You can take matters into your own hands. Learn about site links for your keywords on Google and make a few more of your own. You can push out the automated Google suggestions (that may be linked to the negative press). You can effectively push this down the list and ensure that it doesn’t get the time of day it would have otherwise received.”
Hitesh Patel from RRP Jewellers, states, “Social media callouts and scandals are the new forms of revenge. Make sure that the comment is not legit and is merely there to defame the brand. If there is a genuine problem with the product or service of your brand then assure them that you will look into it, provide evidence and ask them to delete it. You can also send a legal notice if it is quite serious. The legal removal notice can be sent to Google. The process is quite smooth and efficient. Once you have managed to remove the comment or not, you have to generate lots and lots of good press. Bring out a new product, campaign, or discount. This distracts the audience and also pushes the negative article or comment down the timeline.”
Use SEO Tactics
Russ Gooberman states, “If the bad PR includes a link to your website, you can use Google’s disavowal tool to disavow the link, signaling to Google that it’s not relevant to your site. If you’re trying to eliminate pictures of a legacy version of your product that isn’t flattering, you can always contact the webmaster/ editor of the publication and ask them to update the photos. Alternatively, you can make sure that you’re submitting new photos constantly to Google Images and Google Local with appropriate alt text. This worked to great effect for my work with a fitness analytics tech company, Impact Wrap in featuring new product images and burying those from the original Kickstarter.”
Dave Nilsson from The Converted Click, states, “We had a client who wanted us to erase the negative stories from the internet. We explained to the client that we are not able to delete content but we can bury negative content with a PR campaign of positive coverage. We started by building up our client’s profiles on major social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Our team placed content pieces on these platforms designed to reflect positively on our client’s brand. Additionally, we pushed positive stories to authoritative media outlets to change our client’s brand’s perception. This gave us an arsenal of positive content to bury any negative stories about our client in the search results. We used SEO tactics to build links to our positive content and improve its search engine rankings. Within six months, we had produced enough positive content ranking on the first page of Google’s search results that all our client’s negative press was pushed to the second page.”
Chris Zacher from Intergrowth, states, “Optimize all page titles to include your brand name. If you have multiple pages on your website, you may be able to get more than one of them to rank on the first page of Google. With more of your pages ranking, there’s less room for pages with negative press.
To make this happen, you should include your brand name in each page’s meta title. Google’s crawler reads meta titles to understand what each page is about. This strategy is a way of telling the crawler that a page is “about” your brand and that it should consider ranking this page in searches related to your brand.”
The fact that you’ve read this far shows how proactive you are about your brand’s image. As long as you have an online presence, getting negative press is always a possibility. In fact, the more successful your brand becomes, the more inevitable receiving negative press becomes.
Instead of panicking when it happens and trying to find ways to fix the situation – prepare yourself beforehand. This means keeping track of brand mentions, focusing on improving your brand image, and most importantly – investing in public relations.
Don’t wait until Google is littered with negative press about your brand to take action and be vigilant.
One way to do this is to have a public relations team on retainer. Hire people who are experts in reputation management and don’t get rid of them once the positive press comes in. PR is a continuous process…as long as your brand exists, there will always be a need for a dedicated PR and reputation management team.
Get in touch with the Pearl Lemon PR team to learn more about what we can do for you!