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You know that old saying, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all? Unfortunately, that doesn’t apply to the online world. If someone has a gripe with you or your company, it’s likely that the first thing they will do is go online and vent their frustrations about it through a negative review.

The bad news is, unless they say something so harmful and blatantly false, that a court would consider it libel, there isn’t much you can do to get it removed. Rather than spending time and money trying to battle negative online chatter through legal means, a far better strategy to combat such situations is to use SEO to make the negative listing become less prominent in search results and make the positive listings rank higher.

Here are a few things you can do to start combating negative listings:

Write Press Releases
Many companies don’t spend enough time tooting their own horns, especially when it comes to all the good work they may be doing in their communities. A good way to get the word out is by writing press releases. Maybe your employees have volunteered hundreds of hours at a local charity, you’ve donated money to a scholarship program, or you just started composting all the waste your restaurant uses; these are great items to share in a press release.

Once your release is written, post it on your website and think about signing up with a press release distribution site. This allows your name and positive messaging to reach an infinite number of people through the web and can increase your positive search results.

If your business doesn’t already have a blog, start one. It’s a great place to start talking about your business and it’s a way to begin a dialogue with your customers through the comments they post. If there is a particular keyword that you would like to rank higher for, be sure to include it in your blog posts. Keeping your content fresh, updated and engaging will help increase your search rankings.

Utilize Social Media
Getting people to talk about your company online through social media is a good way to combat negative reviews. Your business should be on Twitter, Facebook, Yelp and LinkedIn. Use promotions, giveaways and incentives on these sites to help get people talking about your brand in a positive way. And remember people love free stuff.

Focusing on creating a solid SEO plan can help minimize what might seem like a fatal blow to your online reputation.


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