If you found this article about how to suppress negative search results, you probably already understand how online reputation management works. Therefore, you know that it’s nearly impossible to have a negative search result completely removed from Google. The most effective way to improve your online reputation is to bury negative search results by suppressing them in the SERPs.
How? When you boost relevant, positive content you’ll push unwanted results off the first page of Google. First, let’s look at why it’s important to control what people find when they Google your business name or executives.
Why you need to suppress negative search results
It’s essential to bury negative Google search results because brand reputation impacts your bottom line. Even one negative search result can ruin an otherwise healthy brand image. Consider these reputation management statistics:
More people than ever now rely on Google to tell them who to do business with. In fact, according to a commissioned study by Forrester Consulting, 43% of executives believe that sales would increase if they actively suppress negative search results. Read the full study here!
54% of executives believe reducing unfavorable search results would drive revenue growth
Remarkable, right? Moreover, the first organic search result on Google gets an average of 31.7 percent of the traffic share according to Chitika.
Conversely, less than 1 percent of searchers read content from the second page of the Google search engine results. This illustrates that, despite the ever-changing structure of Google’s front page, it heavily informs customers’ business decisions. So, if you want a positive corporate reputation, you’ll need to bury negative search results.
Remove vs push down negative search results
It’s nearly impossible to completely remove search results from Google. In fact, there are only a few circumstances where it’s even possible. Furthermore, the process is very arduous and usually results in a dead end.
It’s also important to note that even if a webmaster honors your removal request, you may still need to delete the negative links from the Google index. But that only works if the content no longer exists.
So, the simple answer is: yes, in some cases you can remove bad search results from Google. However, it’s more likely that you’ll need to push down negative search results instead.
How to bury negative search results on Google – Overview
In order to bury negative search results, you actually have to lift up positive brand content. This is done through a combination of reputation management and SEO techniques. But what’s the difference?
SEO vs. ORM
SEO (search engine optimization) is the process of ranking a single domain for many different keywords. ORM (online reputation management), by comparison, ranks many different websites for a small set of branded keywords.
In other words, ORM uses SEO principles to shape brand sentiment by controlling the overall narrative of your search engine results. But it’s not all about fixing damaged reputations. ORM also helps brands monitor the SERP for unknown dangers, protect against future incidents, and assess reputational risk.
And, just like with SEO, you can’t achieve sustainable results without quality.
Quality is vital to success
If you’re a CEO with reputation issues, the breadth of the work needed to build a positive reputation is overwhelming. It’s not something you can do at half-speed or half-effort. More importantly, it’s not work you should do alone or entrust to a low-quality firm using black hat smokescreen tactics.
Brands that work with a proven online reputation management company like us are more likely to recover from a crisis quickly.
Whether you’re up against unfair comparison sites, bad Yelp reviews, unmanaged social media profiles, negative Glassdoor reviews, or a viral news cycle, quality ORM is necessary to build your virtual first impression back up again.
How to push down negative search results on Google
If you’re trying to get rid of bad reviews or remove news articles from Google, you may only have one true option: push down negative search results with ORM. This strategy involves a number of tactics, and each provides an important piece of the online reputation puzzle.
1. Formulate a strategy to shift the narrative
The first step to bury negative search results is to develop a reputation management strategy. The most effective plans require a dedicated team of experts across several disciplines to monitor and scour your search engine results for vulnerabilities and opportunities.
ORM strategy requires a lot of resources to find key areas for growth, while also targeting negative search results to sink them to the bottom of the SERPS. This strategy must be built upon the efforts of a tightly integrated team of SEO analysts, digital marketing strategists, content editors, outreach specialists to build backlinks, and project managers.
2. Optimize your primary website
It may seem like a given, but digital marketing strategies often fail to consider ORM when optimizing domain names and web pages. Most business owners are more focused on non-branded SEO than reputation. And, although they share many commonalities, there are some key differences when optimizing a website to rank well for branded searches. For example, you’ll need to:
- Optimize page titles and meta descriptions for your brand name
- Optimize a web page on your site for reviews if you sell products and services
- Create and optimize content to rank for other branded search queries
3. Build out additional web properties
There are often 10 listings on the first page of Google. So, it’s going to take much more than one website and a Twitter account to push down negative search results. Almost every business needs multiple web properties in order to effectively suppress negative search results and boost positive brand awareness. Owning the content within these websites also guarantees that it will be favorable and promote the ideas you want customers to see.
Satellite website ideas include a charity, a corporate social responsibility initiative, subdomains, microsites for promotions, or even a blog. Here are a few examples of branded domains by Starbucks:
4. Establish an active presence on social media sites
Many C-Suite executives are extremely busy and do not have the time or resources necessary to manage numerous social media accounts. Between Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, and LinkedIn alone, it can take hours of time to monitor each profile for appropriate user engagement. However, social media accounts are a key part of an ORM strategy.
Claim and optimize your profiles. And actively post and engage with customers and thought leaders within your industry. This means regular tweets and other posts! This space is also very important to monitor for negative reviews.
5. Publish highly-targeted, optimized, quality content
Google’s algorithm continuously crawls the internet in search of fresh content to satisfy searchers’s needs. The search engine then indexes and organizes content around entities and topics. The more content Google discovers around a specific topic, the more likely it is to see that subject as relevant. Therefore Google will continue to serve that content — whether you like it or not.
Your best line of defence is to produce highly-targeted, optimized content to shift the narrative in your favor. However, it’s not as easy as it may seem. If you make the wrong decisions, you could unintentionally put your finger on the wrong side of the scale, making it even harder to suppress negative search results.
6. Optimize press releases
Press release optimization is another important corporate reputation management tactic. Knowing what kind of content is newsworthy and promotable is a highly-specialized skill. This is especially true when it comes to crafting press releases after a crisis or unfavorable, viral news cycle. But, it’s equally important to make sure press releases are optimized to rank for your brand in Google.
7. Identify and boost favorable content through SEO
The final step to suppress negative search results involves scouring the search engine landscape for every possible opportunity to promote your company or personal brand. We map out up to 500 positions when building an ORM strategy for our customers. Content may include positive reviews, news articles, ally partnerships or other written content that accurately reflects the character of your business and executives. This type of work is often referred to as SEO reputation management.
Because new sites and content continue to pop up in the SERPS, this is an on-going process that requires a keen eye. Therefore, you’ll need a seasoned SEO analyst to perform the necessary research.
It takes time to bury negative search results — start now
Unwanted online content doesn’t just vanish with time. You must take action if you want to bury negative search results. But it’s also important to take the right approach. Cheap and dirty smokescreen tactics may seem budget-friendly, but they rarely work. In fact, they can often cause bigger problems down the road. Learn more about our white glove online reputation management services.
Your clients, partners, future employees, and loyal customers all rely on Google to tell them how to conduct business and where to spend their money.
We ensure they find favorable content that promotes a solid, long-lasting relationship with you and your company. We work in partnership with you to craft the narrative that tells your story the best.
Contact us today to take control of your search results.
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