They say that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but that’s certainly not the case when you’re trying to build a business with a rock-solid reputation that won’t collapse at the first sign of trouble. Thanks to the advent of blogging and social bookmarking, bad news travels very quickly online so, if you want to get news articles removed, you’ll ideally need to start at the source of the problem.
Online reputation management (ORM) is all about managing, removing and mitigating negative content about your business to protect your reputation. If bad publicity appears on the first page of the search results, then you’ll need to do something about it fast. After all, most people first find out about a business by starting with a quick search on Google.
Get News Articles Removed from the Web
Unsurprisingly, the best way to manage negative commentary about your business is to have it removed entirely. If you are successful in your endeavor, the search engines will quickly pick up the changes, and the news articles will no longer appear in the results.
Removing negative content often presents a monumental challenge, particularly if the publisher refuses to cooperate with you. Unless the information they are publishing is factually inaccurate, slanderous or outdated, there’s not much chance they will remove the content. Nonetheless, you can greatly increase your chances by taking a strategic approach starting with a documentation of the content concerned. When conducting your analysis, be sure to ask yourself the following questions:
- How long ago was the content published?
- Was the content also published on other news outlets?
- Does it contain any factual inaccuracies?
- Does it contain any outdated and, therefore, irrelevant comments?
- Does it contain defamatory or slanderous comments?
- Is there any copyrighted content that may have been stolen?
Neither Google nor any other publication is likely to get news articles removed on a whim alone but, if you are confident that you have a strong enough case, and you’ve exhausted any other options, you may consider legal action.
Suppress the Bad with the Good
Removing negative content isn’t always possible. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean that a single news article published on a high-traffic website should herald the downfall of your company. Easily the most effective way to mitigate damage to your reputation is to take a long-term approach by suppressing negative content by drowning it out with the positive. There are several important steps to this approach:
Step 1. Monitor Mentions of Your Company
Consumers, critics, and journalists are all talking about businesses on their favorite social networks, forums, blogs and other websites. Nonetheless, manually monitoring what people are saying about you online is practically impossible. An automated social listening and monitoring tool will, however, alert you whenever things like negative news articles are published online.
Step 2. Claim Your Social Profiles
Establishing an active presence on the major social networks and consumer review websites is extremely important, not least because these sites enjoy high visibility in Google. If you haven’t done so already, be sure to set up your social profiles and start posting content, responding to comments and complaints and being consistently active in community forums.
Step 3. Post High-Quality Content
One of the best ways to mitigate the damage caused by negative news articles is to post authoritative content on your own business blog and on any other platforms you have access to, such as the LinkedIn publishing platform. You might even try posting an article with the sole purpose of presenting your side of the story in response to a negative news article.
Step 4: Reclaim Negative Keywords
If the name of your business is being associated with a negative keyword, such as ‘scam’ or ‘rip off’, you may want to try claiming it yourself by publishing content around that phrase that presents your defense. By targeting such keywords and publishing content both on your own website and others, you’ll be able to increase your chances of drowning out negative search results.
The above approach won’t lead to results over night, but it will help you not only recover your reputation, but also build a stronger online presence in the longer term.