Branding SE Optimization Social Media

How to Counter Negative Publicity with the Right SEO Strategy

Trust is important, especially in business. If investors don’t trust you, they won’t fund your business. If customers don’t trust you, they won’t buy your products. To gain trust, you have to build and maintain a good reputation.

It was a lot easier to maintain a good reputation before the internet. Today, data travels very fast through the internet. One simple rant on social media about you will get tons of retweets, become a trending topic, get picked up by major news outlets, and the next thing you know, everyone’s talking about it.

So, how do you combat negative press? Well, you counter it with positive publicity. Sounds simple, right? Trust me, it’s not as easy as it seems. In this article, I’ll reveal the right SEO strategy to counter negative publicity. But before we go any further, let’s first learn about the sources of negative publicity.

The Sources of Negative Publicity

Fake News

False reports, fake news, and hoaxes are everywhere on the internet. It’s not a big problem until someone believes it and starts spreading it, especially when that someone happens to be a major publication site.

Negative Photos

With technological advancement, it’s easy to create fake photos these days. That’s dangerous because Google shows all images related to you when people type your name. Not to mention the number of people who will spread it on social media like wildfire.


Wikipedia is the largest encyclopedia on planet earth and it consistently ranks high on Google. The problem with Wikipedia is that the information on the site can be edited easily by anyone. To keep your reputation intact, you have to regularly monitor any change that’s been made about you on Wikipedia.

Fake Sites

There are tons of malicious websites on the internet. Some of them are created by trolls just to spread false news and some others are made by competitors to destroy your reputation. Either way, these kinds of sites are dangerous when they find a way to rank on the first Google page.

Bad Customer Reviews

Review sites like Yelp are created to make it easier for customers to pick the best services based on previous reviews. No matter how many positive reviews you get, one negative comment can ruin it all for you. After all, 85% of consumers trust online reviews just as they trust their family’s recommendation.


Forum sites like Reddit and Quora have become so popular in the last few years. People can ask questions and comment on just about anything. The problem is, they also consistently rank high on the search engines. Imagine when people search about you on Google and find negative comments. 

Social Media

Just like forums and Wikipedia, social media platforms also have high domain ratings (>90). This makes them easily rank first on the SERPs. And, just like forums and Wikipedia, anyone can say whatever they want on social media, including bad things about you.

SEO Strategy to Counter Negative Search Results

When people hear about a brand for the first time, they’ll check it on Google. When people want to buy something online, they’ll search for the product reviews on Google too. Through the search engine, most people have their first interaction and initial impression with your brand.

Imagine when people search for your brand, the negative news and reviews are the ones that first appear on Google. To counter this we use SEO strategy. The main idea of using SEO here is to boost positive results to rank higher and push down negative results. Here’s how:

Set up Google Alerts

First, do a little research to identify which keyword is showing negative results. Certain keywords have the potential to trigger negative search results, so you need to test all keywords the audience might use to find you.

After you’ve found the keywords, set up those keywords in your Google Alerts account to closely monitor them. Now, every time new content that carries one of those keywords appears, Google Alerts will send an email to notify you.

Optimize your Website

After collecting the negative keywords, the next step is to optimize your site using those keywords. The idea here is that when people search for those keywords, your website will rank ahead of any negative result. Here’s how to optimize your site:

-Create a long-tail article for the negative keyword.

-Fill the article with that keyword.

-Write guest posts on other websites and link back to that article. High-quality backlinks will help build authority and relevance to the webpage.

-As long as Google sees that your webpage is more relevant than the negative content, you will still rank higher.

Use Other Domains

Using only your site to counter negative results is not enough. You have to use other domains as well, especially with the current Google Algorithm which favors more variety. It’s rare these days to find two web pages from the same domain in the search engine results because Google prefers to show 10 different pages from 10 different sites.

Do you have any other domain that you control? Think of something like a sister or parent company website, your investor or business partner website, and even third-party blogs where you frequently write guest posts. 

Optimize Your Social Media Accounts

Like I said before, social media platforms have high domain ratings, making them more likely to rank on the first page of Google search results. That’s why it’s essential for you to make sure that all of your social media accounts are ranked first when people search for your name. Here are 4 social media networks that you should optimize:


Twitter is a great place to connect deeper with your audience. Not only that, Google regularly includes the Twitter account of a person or a brand on the first page. I did a little experiment by searching Neil Patel and his Twitter account is ranked number 2 in the SERPs, just below his site.


LinkedIn is the place where business owners, marketers, and thought leaders collide. Share your thoughts frequently here to build rapport and reputation. Like Twitter, the LinkedIn profile of someone is usually shown on the first page. Neil Patel’s LinkedIn profile is ranked 4, below his site, Twitter profile, and YouTube.


Facebook is the most popular social media network in the world. Most viral hoaxes and fake news come from Facebook. So, what’s a better way to counter hoaxes than posting positive content frequently here? Facebook also regularly sits on the first Google page.


Ever since Google purchased YouTube, it seems that the search engine giant has been giving more priority to YouTube videos. It’s evident in the Neil Patel case, where Google shows 3 of his YouTube videos.

Wrap Up

People love negative news and controversies, and the media knows this very well. They will publish bad news about well-known figures and brands the second they make mistakes. Because that kind of news gets the most clicks.

About the author


Andre Oentoro

Andre Oentoro is the founder of Breadnbeyond, an award-winning explainer video production company. He helps businesses increase conversion rates, close more sales, and get positive ROI from explainer videos (in that order).