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October 4, 2018
It is a storage facility owner’s worst nightmare to have their facility associated with a negative search result—whether it be a negative review, article, or blog post. We have good news and bad news about getting rid of negative information on the Internet.
The bad news is that it can be challenging and expensive to get something negative removed—especially if it is on a site that you don’t control.
The good news is that there are steps you can take to reduce the impact of negative search results without having to resort to legal counsel or hiring an online reputation management service.
Before outlining some steps, you can take to reduce the effect of negative information online, keep in mind these important points.
According to a study by Northwestern University and Yelp, consumers trust reviews more when they see a mix of negative and positive reviews.
Although you want your facility's positive reviews to outnumber the negative ones, consumers are wary when businesses have no negative reviews at all.
It can hurt your online presence if you try to suppress negative reviews or information that are factually correct.
Instead, use them as an opportunity to highlight areas of improvement for your business.
Sadly, negativity is often the nature of the Internet.
Experts say that learning to respond effectively to negative reviews is much more important and useful than trying to banish them outright.
Realize that taking steps to get negative content removed can inflame the situation
—thereby creating more negative material in the process.
Sometimes the best decision is to let the content exist without doing anything—especially if the reviewer/writer seems disturbed or mentally imbalanced.
The best way to counteract the effect of negative reviews is to learn how to respond effectively to them. We covered how to do this in this article, but a quick refresher is below:
Most services will not remove online reviews unless it is a clear violation of the site’s Terms of Service, standards, or guidelines. For example, Google’s policy regarding online reviews is as follows:
“Google doesn't get involved when merchants and customers disagree about facts since there's no reliable way to discern who's right about a particular customer experience.”
Yelp and Facebook have similar policies. Unless you can prove that a review violates a site’s standards, chances are the review will stay up.
Below are links for terms of service for Google, Yelp, and Facebook as well as links to how you can report inappropriate content.
Another way to counteract negative information online is the use of Reverse Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Unlike regular SEO (which attempts to get information in the top search results), Reverse SEO focuses on moving negative information lower down in search results—counting on the fact that 90% of people don’t read beyond the first page of search results.
Engaging in Reverse SEO can be time-consuming because it involves creating positive content that will show up at the top of search results—thereby pushing down the negative information. (Keep in mind that Reverse SEO won’t necessarily affect negative reviews.)
Activate and maintain social media accounts such as Google+, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. The key is to keep these accounts active and fresh with new content.
Start a professional blog on your website. A blog will help to generate content for search engines to index and also provides material that you can link to or share on your social media accounts.
Write articles on industry blogs or news sites. By associating your business and name with reputable industry sites, you’ll increase the reputation of your company while minimizing the impact of the negative content.
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