Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a great tool for digital marketers – if done well, it can deliver highly targeted traffic directly to the best page on your website (according to the user’s search term): a marketer’s dream.
But imagine that for one of your key search terms, there is a web page in the results which is negative: an unhappy customer review, a derogatory post, etc. A nightmare and one which has the potential to put a prospective customer off before you have even had the chance to engage with them. Here are my steps to taking care of such a problem:
Where are you right now? The first step is to work out what company you keep on the first page of your search results. To do this, you should work out the best keywords for your company – this used to be very easy before the rise of ‘(not provided)’, but regardless, you will still have in your mind the keywords which you would like to rank highly for. Start here to see if you have a problem.
Other domains? But you’ve already got one domain and that’s enough to keep you busy, right? Well, it might just be worth your while. If you can get a different domain to rank for your keywords, then this should push your negative results further down the search results. So, get a domain whose name is similar to the keywords which you are looking to work on, and start writing a blog (where you can, you should include content which contains any negative keywords) – and make sure that you regularly write on the blog. There is nothing worse than an abandoned blog.
Your feedback? You should encourage reviews for your product or service. This is best practice anyway, but can also work from an SEO perspective. There are a lot of sites for the customer to pick from, and results from Google’s reviews can even show in your SEO and PPC results. Another option you should investigate is to give the customer an option to feed-back to you on your own website.
Can Social Help? Google has a very complex algorithm which no-one outside Google fully understands, but we do know that the major social networks rank well on Google and other search engines. So get your social networks set-up, posted on regularly and linking back to your site. Every social network has a different way of optimising for search results, so make sure that you are set-up correctly.
Can’t Google Help? Well, yes they can, but they should only be used as a last resort. The good people of Google are very busy (changing the algorithm?!) and they do not take kindly to too many requests for removal of websites. Requesting a removal from Google is a complex process, and in some occasions, Google will require a legal judgement in your favour before they can act. Very messy and only to be tried if all else fails (it won’t!).
Have you ever experienced negative search results? Did you use one of these tactics or did you take a different approach?