How to Deal with Negative Search Engine Results ~ Encyclopedia - Online Marketing With Google Yahoo MSN

Friday, February 1, 2008

How to Deal with Negative Search Engine Results

Negative search engine results pages (SERP’s) can be a huge turn-off for people looking to use a company’s products or services. In fact, it’s estimated that 40% of people who do see a negative search engine result are put off completely and simply won’t use a company.

These are not search results that you aren’t ranking for, but search results that revolve around your brand name, staff names, product names or even service names. They tend to be ranking highly (otherwise they wouldn’t be much of an issue) and are negative in one way or another, something no business owner likes to have.


Before I dive in and explain the best ways to clear these things up, I thought I would share some examples of what you might not want to see.

1. Paypal

Paypal are a very large, eBay owned payment processor and are incredibly well known. Services like these have to be trusted if they are going to handle your money, yet there’s a high ranking website named ‘Paypal Sucks‘.

2. Telkom

Telkom are a major communications provider in South Africa (a bit like BT in England) and are a heavy criticised company throughout the county. A quick search on their name provides an unflattering micro-site named Hellkom.

How to Deal with Negative Results

1. Start Creating New Pages to Rank Higher

This one is simple and probably the most obvious. If somebody is ranking highly for a product or service name, create extra pages on your own domain. You should have the authority and relevance for those key terms so if you are creating more relevant pages (such as a Product FAQ) then those should start ranking higher as well.

This is not removing the negative search engine results but it is pushing them further out of sight.

2. Create New Pages / Profiles on Other Sites

Not only can you get more positive pages ranking on your own site but you can also get pages on other sites ranking well. Such ways to do this could be creating a lens on Squidoo and a page on Hubpages then sending some links back to them.

Profiles sites also tend to work well such as MySpace, Wikihow or even Twitter. These rank well because the domains have some authority but if the negative results have authority they aren’t going to rank on their own.

3. Respond to the Negative Issue if Possible

I’m sure if Paypal or Telkom got in touch with their negative counter-parts, a simple plea wouldn’t be enough to get the site owners to take down their domains. However, if the issue is a blog or forum post, try and respond to it in a professional manner and help the person if you can.

This is for the simple fact that one day, somebody will probably find the page anyway so if there’s something positive and you are showing good customer service then you might just save yourself from another person being put off what you have to offer.

4. Create your Own Negative Results

This might seem cheeky to some or a little crazy, but it works. Simple as that. Basically the thought process behind this is that people look for negativity before trusting to use a service. Therefore, terms like ‘Company problems’, ‘Company issues’ may be part of their search vocabulary.

To counteract this, you can create positive articles that cover those negative keywords i.e. ‘Company Name: No Problem lowering Prices’. If you get a little creative you can apply this to many keywords and really protect yourself from those inquisitive searchers.

5. Be a Better Company

We all understand that companies have their critics, who doesn’t. Often, those critics pick up on pesky details that is more their problem rather than with a company or its services. Other times, you have to be honest with yourself and think whether you could handle certain services or situations better to benefit the customer.

If you are getting a lot of people complaining about something, solve the issue and get back to them. Be transparent in your dealings or the negative search engine results you have now will only continue to get worse.


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