Online Reputation Management – Using Reverse SEO for Proactive Public Relations Crisis Management


Online reputation management begins with managing your brand in Google, Bing, Yahoo and social media search results.

When someone searches online for your business, what do they see?

Do the first few results show your business in a positive or negative light?

Fifty-six percent of Google users click on the first result shown after a search. Only 13 percent click on the second result shown and it goes down from there, according to a Cornell University study.

Because of this, it’s important that the first few search results show your business in a positive light. Ideally with a little search engine optimization the first result will be your website.

But what happens when negative results clutter the first page?

For example, let’s say you own a restaurant and the Dallas Morning News wrote a scathing review of the place on their website. When Google users search for your restaurant, the negative review is the first thing that pops up. Results 2-6 are food-lovers blogs that republished the negative review. Your website doesn’t show up until result number seven.

A search engine optimization campaign could move your website up to the first result, but in this scenario you need something more – reverse SEO.

While traditional SEO moves the results you want up in ranking, reverse SEO pushes negative search results down.

Almost 90 percent of Google users do not view the second page of search results. Only two percent of users will look at results on the third page.

Using reverse SEO, negative results such as the critic’s review can be pushed down until they get lost in the second or third page of results.

So how do you begin pushing down negative results?

To start, you need to research the depth of your problem.

How many negative results are there? How predominately are the negative results featured when someone searches for your business? How many people are discussing negative information about your business on social media sites?

Once you’ve identified the scope of your problem, it’s time to take the next step – responding to criticism. A novice yet common mistake is to think that ignoring negative comments on blogs and social media is the best tactic. However by ignoring these comments, you are missing a valuable opportunity to defend your business and fix the “wrong” the commenter believes you did.

Let’s go back to our restaurant example.

On one of the blogs that reposted the negative review, someone states in the comment section that they received horrible service while dining at your establishment. While it may be tempting to fire back a defensive comment, don’t. Instead, respond positively. The goal is to change the customer’s negative opinion, not reinforce it.

An appropriate response for this scenario would be something along the lines of “I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy your experience. Please call us to discuss what went wrong. We would like to extend an invitation for you to visit us again – on our tab.”

The next tactic to consider implementing for reverse SEO is a blog. Starting a blog on your business’s website will increase its search rank, moving it ahead of the negative results. A blog is also a great way to have complete control over your message. For the best results, your blog needs to be updated frequently.

While you’re creating content for your corporate website, consider creating a few videos. By posting a video on, adding a link back to your website and embedding the video on the site, you can boost your website’s SEO. The higher your content ranks in SEO, the lower the negative results rank.

By responding to criticism and creating new content in either blog or video form, you can jumpstart reverse SEO, but reverse SEO isn’t a short-term fix. A reverse SEO campaign can take anywhere from a few months to a year to hide negative content.

However, reverse SEO remains one of the best tactics for managing negative situations that will affect your company.

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