June 17, 2011
Reverse SEO was all about getting negative information pushed down off of Google, keeping it out of the top search engine ranks, to make sure people did not associate a brand with being an awful place to do business. Reverse SEO was necessary for companies that had a run of bad luck, or a few cranky customers who wanted to harm it. But no one used negativity as a marketing tool.
Then one New York business owner found that the negative results actually increased his sales. The owner of an online eyeglasses company found that by providing bad customer service, which people would complain about online, his page ranked higher on Google. The angrier people got, the higher it went.
It was not until a New York Times article detailed the company’s practices – including fraud and violent threats – that Google was “horrified” to find their search engine was being gamed in so evil and heinous a manner.
What was happening was as people posted their complaints online, they backlinked to the vendor’s website, which is a popular reverse SEO tactic. Google assumed that a backlink to a website was an endorsement, which meant Google believed it was an important site that provided a good user experience. (This is why backlinks are crucial in a reverse SEO strategy.)
Google quickly released a statement that they had “developed an algorithmic solution which detects the merchant from the Times article along with hundreds of other merchants that, in our opinion, provide an extremely poor user experience.”
In other words, Google was now looking at the sentiment surrounding a backlink to determine whether it was a real vote or not, and their solution served as a notice to companies who screwed their customers: do business right, treat people decently, or get banned from Google.
This also means that the best reverse SEO tactic is going to be great customer service.
A lot of businesses already worry about what will happen if they receive a negative complaint on a user review site. They might lose sales, the complaint might be seen on the search engines, etc., so they use any reverse SEO tactics they can. But now that Google has changed, a new strategy to eliminate these complaints is to reverse SEO them through kindness and decency.
The best way to do this? Use these three “customer service reverse SEO tips:”
Customer Service Reverse SEO Tip #1: Ask customers and visitors for positive reviews, if it is truly deserved. This can done on a comment card, a copy of their receipt, a sign by the front door, or even a quick email to the company’s contact list.
Customer Service Reverse SEO Tip #2: Make sure to earn those positive reviews by providing great service and a memorable experience. Everyone loves being made to feel special and important. They love a great experience. And they certainly love being treated with respect and kindness. Nothing will engender a greater positive review than treating customers with sincere respect and kindness.
Customer Service Reverse SEO Tip #3: Visit the sites and social networks where most of the business’ customers are. Many businesses make the mistake of continuing to market and advertise in the places they always have – phone books, newspapers, billboards. But these are not always effective marketing channels. Instead, ask customers where they spend a lot of their time online. If it is a social networking site like Facebook, join Facebook, and friend them. Communicate to them like a person, not like a commercial.
Google has made sure that companies that game their algorithm through customer anger will not benefit. But that does not mean they will eliminate all negative comments. For any companies who still need to remove those from the search engine rankings need to let a positive customer experience be the reverse SEO they need. Follow these reverse SEO consulting tactics to building quality links through good customer service.
Rostin Ventures principals have extensive experience in restoring reputations online, using Reverse SEO among other tactics to provide positive Online Reputation Management Services (ORM Services). http://www.RostinVentures.com.