A number of well known brands and companies have some pretty negative results that appear on the first page of Google’s search results.

Take a look at the results for retailers like dabs.com and laptops direct, and you’ll see a number of negative mentions, mainly from dissatisfied customers, in the first ten results.

So what is the best way to deal with this problem?   

There is no way to make these kinds of negative results disappear and, in the case of complaints from unhappy customers, the best way is to handle these problems before they are forced to put their opinions on forums and review sites.

But what you can do is to try to populate as much of the first page of Google as you can with more positive or neutral mentions of your brand.

Here are a few ways to achieve this:

Use Google Alerts

Setting up a Google Alert for your company or product name will help you to monitor your online reputation. These alerts inform you when your brand is mentioned in blogs, news stories and forums, enabling you to respond quickly to any new issues. It is also worth setting up alerts for mentions of prominent company executives.

Start a company blog

A company blog should quickly rank well in Google, and is a great way of managing your reputation.

As well as being a source of more positive content about your company, a blog can be used to openly respond to customer complaints and feedback, and may even help to prevent further negative mentions on forums.

Promote your brand on social media sites

Results from sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Wikipedia tend to rank well in Google, as does YouTube, especially with Universal Search, so creating profiles and content on these sites will go some way to moving negative mentions down the search rankings. Twitter is another site that ranks very well.

Share photos on Flickr

As with social media sites, Flickr ranks well on Google, so create an account, upload some photos of your company and its products, label them, and this will create more positive content for Google to index.

Again, with the introduction of Universal Search, images will be more prominent in the search results pages.

Create a sub-domain

Adding a sub-domain to your site can get you an extra result in Google, as the search engine classes these as being separate from the main site. This could be for careers, corporate info etc.

Write useful content

This should be done on your main website, as well as blogs. Quality content will find its way to the top of the search results, and will attract more links as a result.

Related research:
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO): A Beginner’s Guide

Related stories:
Owning search results for your brand name
Reputation management and monitoring – key tactics