How to deal with negative press online

Lots of clients come to us after being unfairly and unjustly maligned online, and their reputations are being severely damaged regardless of whether the negative press is true or not. How can you fight an invisible adversary who posts damaging info about you or your business? The author of the negative article or video is almost always anonymous, leaving their victims no recourse to handle the situation like adults.

Just to be clear, while we believe in freedom of speech and the right of free expression, we abhor disingenuous content and will not entertain requests to post negative info online.

Nevertheless, the problem of bad press is often further complicated by the fact that the sites hosting the articles are not moderated, and so trying to send an email request for removal hits an inbox that nobody ever sees. Yet, day after day people post harmful things about others online, whether on social media, blogs, video sites, or review sites in order to ‘get back’ at someone. If you find yourself in a situation like this, here’s a quick guide to help you rectify the problem and fix negative search results.

  • Act fast. The longer an article is online, the deeper its ‘roots’ grow. Like a weed, it is best to try eradicating negative press as quickly as possible.
  • Don’t panic. Getting overly-upset won’t make the article disappear; what you need is clear-thinking.
  • Think offense/defense. Often the best way to push down articles in the search results is by building and ranking good content. So you will need to build some new, positive articles and websites that can fill the vacuum and suppress the bad with the good.
  • Be patient. Most clients have issues that are over six moths old, and some have negative press that has been online for years. That won’t go away magically overnight. Like healing a serious disease, reputation management takes time to reverse your bad press.
  • Leverage your network of fans offline. If you’re a business with negative reviews, ask current, happy customers to leave a genuine review of your business. Remember, though, spread out your requests over time to keep your reviews from looking suspicious to search engine algorithms.
  • Focus on the positives. Just because someone wants to damage your reputation online doesn’t mean that all is lost…you can keep being the great person you already are while we work to solve your problem.

You want the world to see you as you really are, and developing a positive presence online is key to making that goal a reality.

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