Jeb Molony

           Many companies have to fight negative publicity at some point during the course of business.  Sometimes a public event can be the source of embarrassment or a public review is critical.  Unfortunately, today’s social media has allowed everyone to become a critic and that criticism can cause negative results inside of search engines.  The only way to combat negative perception is to generate positive press to counter the bad press.

            Search engines consider the relevancy of content when ranking pages so newer more timely press can push older press down the search engine results.  If the average search engine user only looks at the first two pages of results then current content is the most important.  Generating new press can be accomplished two ways both of which are equally important. The first method is an organic approach which involves responding to the criticism and improving the business and the second is an inorganic approach which involves paying money to generate new press.

            No business should ever dismiss negative reviews or publicity because these are coming from customers.  These reviews can either be addressed directly by engaging the author of the content, or addressed by improving the processes of the business based upon the criticism.  Improving the image organically means having satisfied customers review the business and provide a testimonial to the service or product.  The easiest way to make this happen is ask for reviews in Google, Yelp, Yahoo, Bing, Angie’s List or any other forum relevant to the individual industry.  Customers are happy to provide reviews if they are asked.  Unfortunately, it is customers who are dissatisfied who typically take the initiative on their own to generate reviews.

            The second means for countering the bad press is an inorganic approach which involves paying marketing or media firms to generate new content to push other pages down the search engine results.  Press releases are a great way to improve an image, and receive back links to a site.  Good press is the key to countering bad press and the average search engine user does not take the time to research every detail about the source of content on the internet.  This approach is effective, but it is more expensive and will only last until the next negative review displaces the positive press.  It is imperative that an inorganic campaign coincide with an improved product or service.

Social media has allowed businesses to connect with their customers unlike ever before and that cuts both ways.  Business owners should consider this an opportunity to improve their product and processes, but to take full advantage of the opportunity one must be able to accept criticism.  Dismissing negative criticism is short sighted.  Instead, work to counter the negative criticism with positive reviews and press which are coupled with an improved product or service.

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