Repairing or removing negative search results is the most common inquiry we receive from businesses and high profile individuals. You may have been the target of criminal or civil investigation or litigation, been attacked by a stalker or a gadfly, or in other ways found your reputation damaged when people search for you on the Internet. Many people turn to “Reputation Management” organizations, and spend a lot of money, only to find that these solutions don’t work. We have a different approach to solving online reputation issues that often delivers much better results when the goal is improving your online reputation.
Search Rank Starts With One Question: “What’s Interesting?”
Google results are based on what interests the most people for the longest time, on the sites that are considered most credible. Of course, how that manifests in google search results is complex. Negative media stories or salacious gossip on major media websites often gest lots of traffic, and lots of interest. This causes it to be highly ranked, often above more accurate and authoritative sources. Search engines do not determine accuracy of a link, just popularity. Remediating bad links starts with a strategy, and then rolls out through an execution plan.
Elements of a Reputation Correction Strategy
The strategy behind your reputation plan will have three components: removal, remediation, and rehabilitation. These are the building blocks upon which an execution plan is built.
Removal is the process of looking for content that violates the terms of service of the platform where it is located. It may be libelous, it may be harassing, or it may be simply false. The first step in a reputation plan is to look for negative content we can simply remove from the Internet entirely on the website where it originates. We are expert and experienced in understanding what content is entirely removable and how to go about doing that.
Remediation is the next step, and the most time consuming. This is the process of balancing negative stories with more accurate ones, through a personal website, social media, op-eds, media placements, and establishing you as a subject matter expert. This will, over time, outweigh the rank of the negative article or articles.
Rehabilitation: In certain circumstances, negative articles will always persist in search results, usually because the story underlying it was widely reported in many large publications. When we can’t remove or remediate search results, we rehabilitate your public persona, by developing and placing content that tells a fuller, more accurate portrait of who you really are.
Examples of Reputation Rehabilitation
For example, we represented a CEO who had been involved in a series of salacious and heavily reported incidents, triggered by substance abuse, that were widely reported in the largest publications in the world. Knowing we would never remove them entirely, and with our client well into recovery, he became a voice for the special issues of business leaders struggling with addiction, became a subject matter authority, and is now frequently quoted in both print & broadcast media. In so doing, he rehabilitated his personal reputation, and turned his history into something that’s meaningful for his future.
In another circumstance, our client was a subject matter authority in an area of real estate that had wide public interest. We media trained him to be able to deliver the kind of short thoughtful sound bites that work well for broadcast, and we pitched him to cable news aggressively and persistently. When they started using him (we made sure he was almost always available), he performed well, and they turned to him frequently (and still do). If you look at his search results today, they are full of his appearances in cable, talking about his own area of expertise. Even if someone took the time to scroll pages down to find very old stories about him, they would carry little credibility against his work in recent years. That’s how we measure success.
How We Repair Your Search Results
When improving search results, we work in three areas at the same time. Our technology team builds the websites, social media platforms and other elements that you need to achieve best search results. We measure and optimize against over 1000 search engine signals, both in the initial development phase, and then every week thereafter. This is not a one-time process, but goes on every week. Think of it as analogous to mowing a lawn; it looks perfect when it’s finished, but a week later it simply needs to be done again.
If technology is the engine that drives our tactical execution, then content is the fuel that propels it. Our research indicates that most successful efforts require posting fresh content an average of 5-7 times a week, with stories, short pieces, links, and images. That’s why we employ teams of content curators and writers… to get the content you need to your network with maximum speed and efficiency.
Finally, a smart search engine results plan always contains the work of media pitching at it’s core. We want to make your subject matter expert in your field of work or philanthropy, and tell the gatekeepers to newspapers and broadcast about you, so that the next times they need comment, they will turn to you. That is the work of Search Engine Results Management. Please contact Brian Glicklich, our CEO, for a personal and confidential consultation.