09 Nov 2005

Damage Control – Online Reputation Management – Pushing the bad news down.

Damage Control, and ways to recover your Good Name through online Reputation Management.

This is on the heals of my last post called "Telling a prospective client "You’re screwed" (about a guy with bad "publicity" covering the top 10 results for his name, and him insisting on being #1 with a brand new site).

I’ve only a limited experience in working on any "damage control" campaigns (where some "negative press" page ranks in the top 10 and someone wants it "gone").  But I thought I’d give just a few things off the top of my head on ways to combat bad "press" in the top ten for your company or your name. I’m asking you the readers to give more ideas on this topic in the comments.

I’ve heard a few "blackhat" techniques for trying to make a page "dissappear", but I’ll avoid those here, and of course, PPC is an option, but that won’t remove the offending page from the first page.

Start with:
Don’t just promote your site, create, and promote your self/company on other websites
.
Try to make sure you have "Press" on the web to start with creating: news articles,  testamonials, press releases, Content ;)  (all on other websites).  Have positive press in place no matter what. Start by creating that, and never stop.

OK, so you ‘ve been hit with negative page in the top 10, now what?
Contact your lawyer – they should write to the web page owner and ask that it be removed. Additional steps could involve writiing to the hosting company (short term solution), as well as to Google, Yahoo, and MSN.

Now, what if you still can’t get that page down?

First method that comes to mind is to work on moving the bad page down by moving your "good" pages on other sites, up.
Get links to your best and oldest, and powerfulest "good news" pages on other websites.  Link to said pages with your search phrase your targeting (and variations of that phrase) .

Just one way to do this would be via helping to create "the neighborhood" via creating positive press pages where these pages link to the other good news pages. Just remember to keep the content different on these pages (no dup content) and then have these pages published on other related sites.

Another way is to purchase/trade/beg/borrow for "advertising" to your the good news pages (about your site, found on other websites) from related and pages on other sites. (follow?)

Do you know of any good sources of info on this topic, or do you have some ideas?

- – added – -
Todd just pointed me to these two resources pages as well.
Todd’s Public Relations and Advertising post
and
Search Engine Watch’s "Using Search for Public Relations and Reputation Management"

Comments

  1. Andy Hagans November 9, 2005 at 2:51 PM

    >Contact your lawyer – they should write to the web page owner and ask that it be removed. Additional steps could involve writiing to the hosting company (short term solution), as well as to Google, Yahoo, and MSN.

    Jim,

    That’s a pretty dirty move. Especially since it’s not illegal (or unethical) to write something negative about a company (as long as it’s not actionable).

  2. Jim November 9, 2005 at 3:41 PM

    I’ll leave that up to the client (it’s not my job to decide WHO’s being “dirty”…that’s why it’s recommended to see their lawyer first….it’s just “options” of things they “could” do.

    You also bring up a great point when you say “Especially since it’s not illegal (or unethical) to write something negative about a company (as long as it’s not actionable). ”

    I’d have to agree with you….I’m just showing options of a person who want a page “gone” by whatever means possible.

  3. Jim Boykin’s Internet Marketing Blog » Blog Archive » The first 2 months blogging - feedback? November 11, 2005 at 7:54 PM

    [...] Damage Control – Online Reputation Management – Nov 9 [...]

  4. Brian November 13, 2005 at 6:36 PM

    Jim –

    I’ve done a handful of a dozen of these brand preservation campaigns since I started to publicly advertise that side of the business a couple months ago.

    I guess you guys are a competitor in the strictest sense but there’s no shortage of this kind of business and I get most of it from referral so if you can benefit from what I’ve learned, I’m happy to do it. Especially since I have sucked down my fair share of bandwidth with WBP tools! :)

    There are two distinct tiers of these campaigns: Big Guy and Little Guy. I helped one Fortune 100 company and all it really took was to cash. They ended up buying some sites listed in the SERPs around them and got some links to their subdomains or other sites under their management to push out the derogatory listing. Very easy and the crap was pushed to low page 2 in 30 days. They felt this probably saved them millions of $$$ in sales, so they were blank-checking the affair.

    The Little Guy is where it gets tough. Especially a Little Guy with very little historical reputation in the SERPs. At that point you’re PPC’ing, buying 2nd or 3rd page SERP sites and trying to boost those to the front, buying directory listings, etc,. And with these you’re first goal should just be to get the negative SERP below the fold.

    Brand Preservation campaigns are about as fun as it gets in SEO/SEM. You get the feeling you are holed up in the Alamo duking it out versus the long term kind of engagements we’ve all been doing for years.

    Good luck!

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