Yesterday I published a post on the Search Engine People site titled 50+ Sites to Help You Bury Negative Posts About You or Your Company!.
While the tactics mentioned may be enough to push some negative online mentions of you or your business to the second page of the search results or lower, in other cases they will not. The question then becomes; what else can you do when the initial tactics themselves aren't enough, and you've got a negative piece about you ranking in the search results for an important phrase. Burying your head in the sand and hoping it goes away isn't really a viable option. The answer ... LOTS can be done!
Lets start with our goals ... they're progressive.
Goal #1: First ... bump the listing below the fold asap
Goal #2: Bump the listing off the first page of the search results for the given term(s)
With goals in hand, we can now consider tactics.
To Achieve Goal #1:
a. select the strongest 3-5 of those 50+ sites, where strong is a subjective assessment based on many factors. My personal assessment would be:
b. establish a profile on each, where the profile name is the term/phrase the negative piece ranks for
c. get lots of friends on each of those sites ... the more the better. It works best if you take an active role and participate. Each friend will result in an internal link back to your profile on that site, making it stronger.
d. within each site, you can see which profiles are the strongest in the offending engines' eyes ... the search engines themselves with rank them in order of importance given a simple search query (eg. site:twitter.com). Try to secure links from the strongest profiles first ... they pass the most value.
e. join groups where possible too ... often these will pass link power to your profile as well.
f. possibly create a social profiles menu on your site(s), and link to each of these profiles.
To Achieve Goal #2:
a. determine how far down you actually wish to push the piece. Beyond the first page will take a great deal of time and energy.
b. assuming you've already bumped the offending post below the fold, you need to select the number of sites you will need to use from the 50 + listed in the 50+ Sites to Help You Bury Negative Posts About You or Your Company! article.
c. follow the steps outlined above for each
d. within each (where possible) include links to all your other profiles on the other sites
Following these steps should be enough to push most negative mentions to the second page. If not, or if you don't have the time and energy, do engage the services of a professional with experience in the space. Aside from the obvious value ... its not a bad idea to take out profiles under your name anyway, just as a pre-emptive measure.
Please note ... these tactics are by no means comprehensive or advanced. They're just a relatively quick and efficient means for burying negative online mentions. Much more advanced tactics exist, which I will not delve into here.
Other great reference posts about reputation management include:
Glen Allsopp - What Is Online Reputation Management
Andy Beal - Free Online Reputation Management Beginner's Guide
Todd Malicoat - Reputation Management Emancipation PRoclamation - 10 Ways to Own Yourself Online
Lee Odden - Basics of Online Reputation Management
Marty Weintraub - 9 Essential Tactics for Reputation Management in Social Media
Andy Beal - Buzz Monitoring: 26 Free Buzz Tracking Tools
David Wallace - Using Social Media to Help Manage Online Reputation