If you have been in business for any length of time, it is likely you have encountered a disgruntled customer or two. It is typical for any company to have some dissatisfied clients, but this can be a major issue when an unhappy customer leaves a scathing review online and it impacts your business.

Unfortunately, people are 10 times more likely to leave negative feedback than positive feedback, and digital review platforms like Rip Off Report, Pissed Consumer, and others are capitalizing on that fact.

Platforms like these were initially designed to offer a legitimate, unbiased forum for consumers to conduct research, but have devolved into an unscrupulous money-making scheme. Platforms like this make an awful lot of money from forcing business owners to pay exorbitant amounts of money to have negative, reputation damaging reviews removed. And, conveniently for the owners of these platforms, the cost to remove a bad review seems to vary according to the (wallet) size of the company the review is based on.

Now, the pressing question is how do these platforms get their review pages to rank so highly in SERPs when you run a search for your company name? It’s fairly simple, actually – the majority of these platforms own large, well-established websites with high volumes of traffic. That means that whenever they publish a new review or page, it gets crawled and ranked quickly for the keywords they chose to use.

Platforms like these employ developers who incorporate keywords with your brand, company name, or titles in strategic locations, like page titles, urls, heading, and meta descriptions. Search engine algorithms scan these areas routinely, and using the keywords appropriately will result in their pages ranking highly.

Can You Do Anything to Prevent This Madness?

Taking The Legal Route

There are certainly options out there for victims of these “smear campaigns”. We have seen clients attempt to sue on several occasions, but none have been successful. If you are interested in pursuing legal action, you may find these articles interesting:

from techdirt.com

from mediapost.com

Allow us to provide a better suggestion:

Using SEO to Protect Your Reputation

Good, effective search engine optimization is really the only counter-move for managing negative reviews. Read on and we will discuss methods and strategies for managing your company’s reputation online.

We realize this may seem complicated, and labor intensive. We are happy to help. Contact us and we can show you how, or take care of things for you.

Planning Your Reputation Management Campaign

In any SEO campaign, one of the first task required is performing thorough keyword research. This will include all of the keywords you want to be found with, and in the case of negative reviews, determining which keywords the bad reviews are actually ranking for. Keep in mind though, that in this particular situation, you are trying to demote, not promote these websites.

If you are unsure where to start, your websites Google Analytics data is a good place. In addition the the resource full of brand and topic-centered keywords, you can check your analytics data for the keywords and phrases that are pulling results from the review sites.

After you have evaluated keywords and finalized a list, the next step is establishing branded web properties and optimizing them for the appropriate keywords. This means adhering to all of the Best Practices established by Google for on and off-site SEO.

Social media platforms can be a great resource for this, provided you have optimized them for the relevant search terms. Social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn have high authority with google and when they are optimized properly, can surpass the negative reviews in terms of rankings.

Leveraging Powerful Sites

One effective method for reducing the visibility of a bad review is to maintain at least 10 -12, fully-optimized web properties. This will inhibit the negative review from rising above the higher-authority sites’ SERPs rankings. The top ten web properties we suggest implementing are:

  1. Facebook Fan or Business Page
  2. Google + business page
  3. Youtube channel
  4. Linkedin Company Page
  5. Company or personal website
  6. WordPress blog
  7. Hub Pages profile
  8. Pinterest account
  9. Twitter account
  10. Kudzu account.

Optimizing Your Web Properties

Filling out a few social media profiles, however, is not going to do it. In reality, the Best Practices for negative review mitigation are identical to those of quality search engine optimization. You will still need to ensure your site has the proper keywords in your titles, URLs, descriptions, content, image alt tags and much more. This also means that all of your web properties need to be updated frequently with high-quality content to outweigh the content the negative review sites are publishing.

Another way to optimize your web properties is though link building. Earning high-authority backlinks to your website will have a significant impact on your rankings. If you need determining the right ways to build links, check out our article, “Link Building That Doesn’t Suck.”

Tracking Your Success

Unfortunately, a reputable SEO firm will never give you a guarantee, and one that does is one you should avoid. You should be able to count on regular, transparent reporting, however, and it can be a tool to see how effectively your SEO team is functioning on your company’s behalf.

We understand that all it can take is one nasty review to damage a company’s reputation.

To take a more specific approach to each individual’s situation, we can evaluate what has exactly gone on with the company or individual and then decide what the best course of action is from there. We have a variety of proven strategies we may utilize to overcome those negative reviews and increase our customer’s online reputation. We have dealt with a large amount of different types of negative content and have always come up with a way to convert the situation back into a positive image for our clients.

We have become extremely versatile in dealing with these types of problems due to the numerous amount of different clients we have helped with these situations in the past. But even more crucial than our flexibility is the that instead of just trying to hide or erase the negative content, we take the necessary steps needed to increase our client’s trustworthiness and reliability using sincere, genuine tactics.

No matter what the cause of the negative content, history has shown us that humans are imperfect beings, but we also have the ability to improve ourselves by learning from our errors. When you commit the time necessary to handle these issues, you have a unique opportunity to win people over to your side and which may even result in increasing your traffic, revenues, conversions, or however your company measures its success.

AdInfusion is here to help and guide you throughout this complex process and aid you in acquiring the admiration and brand loyalty that your company deserves. Contact us today!