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October 24, 2011

Four Tactics to Use Reverse SEO to Mitigate a Corporate Crisis

Reverse SEO can help mitigate a corporate crisis, especially when the crisis is being played out in social media networks and on blogs. Many times, a story grows online instead of in the mainstream media, which can cause major problems with a company’s search engine rankings.

Whenever someone searches for the company name, the story will be the first several listings to appear on the first page, not the company’s home page. But with proper tactics, this story can eventually be pushed down off the first page.

Here are four reverse SEO tactics a PR professional can use to suppress the negative stories from search results

Reverse SEO Tactics #1. Start a Blog on the Company Website

Search engines love websites that post new content on a regular basis. A blog is the best way to do this. Not only does it help the PR pro do some reverse SEO during the crisis, it also helps the marketing department with regular SEO, so the company can be found for their chosen keywords.

If the search engines can see regular updates to a website, they are more likely to push it to the top of their results, displacing the negative story.

Reverse SEO Tactics #2. Respond POSITIVELY to the Criticisms

The worst thing to do during a crisis is to let emotions take hold and to respond in kind to negative comments in the heat of the moment. While the first instinct may be to take on the naysayers and critics, a shrill outburst will not only delay the reverse SEO efforts, it will fan the flames of the story. There are too many cases of PR pros forgetting themselves and causing the story to grow bigger than it would have if they had left it alone. In some cases, the response even becomes a story of its own.

Reverse SEO Tactics #3. Use Social Media Ranking Tools to Determine Whether the Person is Even Worth a Response

Hopefully, companies managing their reverse SEO efforts are using social media monitoring tools to keep up with online mentions. These tools find all mentions of a company’s keywords in different social networks, blogs, and forums. The temptation is for a PR pro to respond to all of them. This can be a big mistake.

Not everyone who responds has the influence to have a big impact on the story. Use a social media scoring and ranking tool to see whether the person has any real “clout” before responding. If they have a low score, it is safe to ignore them. Otherwise, a wasted response to a non-influencer may give continued life to the story.

Reverse SEO Tactics #4. Give it Time

Keep in mind that regular search engine optimization takes time – as much as three to six months. So does reverse SEO. Companies cannot count on immediate results on their reverse SEO efforts. They need to remember they are in this for the long haul. While companies need to deal with a corporate crisis in the usual manner, they need to realize this is a long-term strategy as well.

Just like with every other crisis and problem, this too shall pass. But its effects can linger, thanks to the search engines, if it is not dealt with properly. For some companies and individuals, an old crisis will still rear its ugly head whenever someone searches for the company name, because they did not take the proper steps. But reverse SEO techniques will suppress those results after the original furor dies down.

Reverse search engine optimization is an ideal long-term strategy to deal with company crises, and to protect its online reputation. Not only does it deal with problems as they arise, it can be an effective inoculation against future crises as they develop.


Article by Julie Ann Ross. 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.

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