Achieving rankings within the search engines for your own website is difficult enough, especially if you’re in a very competitive industry, but how do you deal with websites that rank for searches on your company name that are less than helpful towards your brand image?
At some point every company, no matter how great their product, their customer service or their reputation, comes across a disgruntled customer or client. The sad truth with society as a whole is that an unhappy customer shouts much louder than a happy one, and with the Internet any cries of discontent can be heard far and wide. Because of the nature of search engines like Google, whenever something is written about you or your company, search engine spiders will find it and, if it is deemed worthy enough, rank it highly for relevant searches.
This results in one person’s often extreme views being exposed in public, and the opinions of others being coloured by them. Worse still, websites such as reviewcenter.com and ciao.co.uk create forums for those unhappy customers to voice their opinions and, because they’re very popular websites with loads of fresh content and links, they tend to rank within Google for searches on company names – perhaps even your company’s name?
The first reaction of most people when faced with this problem is to register on the websites in question and begin posting positive reviews of their own company. Some people have the common sense to also post reviews of other companies and products too, so their ‘profile’ doesn’t show them as having registered to review one company (which is obviously suspicious) but even then, this is the wrong thing to do. By posting a positive review of your own company, all you’re succeeding is doing is flaming others to respond in kind, increasing the barrage of negative reviews. In addition, you’re adding to the fresh content on the website, adding to the content on that specific page, which will do wonders to improve that page’s ranking within Google – its ranking for your company name.
Instead, you should leave the page alone. Do not post on it, no matter how tempting it may be. Reputation management is difficult, and it requires thought outside of the box. You want that website to disappear from the first page of Google, and you can only do that by making other websites rank above it.
Some ways this can be done are:
- Create links to existing websites that rank on the first page of Google showing positive, irrelevant or neutral comments about your company
- Create profiles for your company on powerful websites such as YouTube, Facebook and Wikipedia
- Utilise content to create a news section for your website and achieve a second, indented, listing within Google
There are many other ways to handle reputation management correctly, and to ensure that your company’s image remains untainted on the Internet.