How to Suppress Negative Search Results
Watch September’s Online Reputation Management webinar for a tactical toolkit on how to bury or suppress negative search results. In this video, you’ll learn some of our top SEO tactics for suppressing negative search results and improving your online reputation. As always, if you have any questions, you can reach us on our Contact Page or at [email protected].
In this post, we’ll also detail some top tactics mentioned in the webinar that you can implement today to suppress or bury negative Google links. Our goal is to teach you exactly how to fix your online reputation by yourself at home. We’re always here to help if you need assistance with your online reputation, but our goal is to give you the resources required to gain control over your online presence if you don’t have the financial resources to hire ORM help.
While using this guide, we’re assuming you’ve already audited your online reputation. This means counting the amount of positive, negative and neutral links you have on search engines. This can be done at home and without any prior digital marketing or online reputation management experience. Simply make a tally for your records before starting your strategic communications plan.
While most of these steps are self-explanatory, we’re working as fast as possible to create more resources for you to walk you through tutorials on how to repair your online reputation. We hope to have tutorial videos for each of these steps soon.
Step 1: Develop a Strategic Communications Plan
One of the first steps of creating a positive online presence is creating a strategic communications plan. A strategic communications plan is a document that outlines your core goals as a business or individual, so that you can align your digital strategy to meet them.
To suppress negative links, you’ll need to create a lot of positive content that ranks above the negative content on the web. You’ll need to create primarily written content that Google loves repeatedly, so that the search engine says: “Hey, this content is much more relevant! Let’s rank it higher than the negative news articles.”
It’s best to have a strategic communications plan that outlines what your goals and key messages are, so that your message remains consistent and each piece of content you create works as a whole to boost your online reputation. Powerful and consistent messaging should be at the core of your online reputation repair strategy.
There is no set template for a strategic communications plan, but we intend to build a resource template for our audience soon. In the meantime, consider the following questions while creating your plan:
- What goals are you trying to achieve with the new positive content?
- Who is your target audience (who will be searching for your name)?
- What messages do you want to convey to your audiences?
- What communications tools will you use to convey your key messages? (ex. automation software)
- What communications platforms will you use to convey your messages? (ex. YouTube, email marketing, personal blog)
- How will you measure your results? (ex. How many first page positive media search rankings I achieve each month).
Step 2: Use Social Media
We’ve mentioned this in many of our videos before, but you need to be using social media if you want to suppress negative content on the internet. Not only is social media free and easy to use, but sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have naturally high Domain Authority (DA), which means they’ll rank high on search engines.
By using social media, you’ll gain a lot of that first page search real estate simply by creating social media accounts (well, almost). It’s important to remember that you need to keep these social networks active in order to have them rank on the web. If you have a blank social profile in your name and never post content on it, you’ll be less likely to see that platform rank on Google. Google favours long-form content that is significant, interesting and new.
You can use tools like Buffer to schedule and automate social media posts. This will ensure you keep your social networks active enough to eventually rank in search. Again, it’s not as straightforward as using automation tools either. Many social networks can detect automation tools, and while they are allowed on many social platforms, your audience reach may be reduced. You can schedule a mix of automated and manual posts to offset this.
Step 3: Create and Buy Sites
This one is a little tricky if you’ve never owned or operated your own website before. If you haven’t, I recommend creating your first website with Wix or Squarespace. Be sure to buy the web domain for the keyword you want to rank for. For example, if you want to rank for Construction in Utah, you can purchase the domain: ConstrucationInUtah(.com).
Once you’ve mastered running your own site, you can begin purchasing and running microsites. Microsites are an individual page or a small cluster of pages that run as a separate entity (domain) of an existing site, or send direct traffic to your existing sites. You can buy domains like these on auction sites like Flippa or GoDaddy’s Auctions. Bonus points if you buy older domains, as they tend to rank better in search. Make sure these sites rank for your intended keywords as well and link back to your original site.
Step 4: Write Articles and Get Them Published
This is one of our favourite tips and it’s an industry-standard practice in online reputation management. It’s important that you’ve created your strategic communications plan before attempting this step, so ensure you’ve tackled that first.
This last step involves writing positive articles about yourself. These articles should be a combination of journalistic-style and promotional content. See the Venn diagram below for an explanation.
By ensuring the content about the subject is both objective and truthful, the media will read as believable news content. You’re reverse engineering the way you want people to perceive you by anonymously writing articles about yourself and hiring publishers to share the information on their platforms.
Here’s an outline of the workflow for the article writing and publishing process: a) Write a 1000-word article about yourself with a positive headline. b) Edit the article for grammar, punctuation and accuracy. The article should be positive but written in third person so it reads as news. c) Look for blog and site owners who agree to publish your content on their Google News sites for a reasonable fee. Anywhere from $100 – $250 is standard, but you can find much smaller sites for $50 publishing fees.
By rinsing and repeating this workflow, you’ll be able to do some ORM work yourself. This will help you boost your online reputation in most cases if you’re digital-savvy and have the ability to create content at scale. It’s a daunting process and a lengthy undertaking, but with enough perseverance, you can outrank the negative content on the first page of search engines.