Public Relations Damage Control - Reverse SEO
I've been helping e-commerce clients with their Search Engine Optimization since the early days of Yahoo. As the years have past we've (config.com) been receiving more frequent emails and telephone calls regarding how to repair public relations damage by a competitor, disgruntled client, former employee, or to get a web page with undesired information out of the search engines which may show up highly on the engines, and most often, specifically Google....
I've hesitated for years to write this detailed article on how to best achieve the effect of knocking out or down the negative ranked target web page, because frankly, the information could be used for what I feel may be unethical practices if applied to whats been referred to as Google bowling or using software to submit to forums to knock your competitions placement further down the Google pages. I do not recommend or endorse Google bowling as the method of killing a negative article or competitor! Since I've seen related information out on the 'net I've concluded I could present and explain "Reverse SEO" much better and in more detail.
Ones first instinct may be to contact an SEO Optimizer to hire to get the offended web site placed higher or as far away from the offending listing as possible, but in fact, it requires a different strategy then traditional SEO which should be ongoing and never ending. This strategy is often referred to as "Reverse SEO" when in fact it is really more of a public relations job. I'll go along with the definition of reverse SEO since the mission is to drop a third party or offending listing, and the assumption that you already place higher for you target keyword company string than the third party site.
If an SEO Optimizer expert should suggest he/she can control any third party site or make guarantees that they can knock down in rank the offending page, I'd suggest asking if it is a money back warranty if they should not achieve that goal within a specific period of time. Also, this may take a little time and labor so do not have overnight expectations and be reasonable as there are several factors in how well and fast the job is done.
Now that the disclaimer is out of the way, let's get to the strategy that I recommend: Social or Professional Networking, Public Relations News submission sites and such. The reason is these often have a high page rank and chances are, place higher on the engines than the target site you are trying to rank or gain placement above. You may do this yourself, or provide all of your confidential information for someone to do it for you. In the event of the later, be certain they have a trustworthy and honorable reputation and you may even wish to ask for references.
The sites I recommend getting listed or memberships with include:
Google engine services:
Blog sites & RSS feeds:
Consider strongly maintaining you own blog within your website, or host name ie:
blog.config.com and as importantly as Blog, websites should take advantage of RSS news feeds to make announcements, etc... There is nothing like having your news integrated into other peoples sites which all you had to do is post a new announcement article ;)
http://www.feedburner.com is available for sites that do not have RSS news syndicates built in.
Public Relations (PR) News sites:
Professional Networking sites:
Social Networking sites:
Other Internet sites of interest that rank well:
I recommend cross linking as many sites that you can where permitted by the terms of service of the recommended sites. Some of them will not allow you to link to competing social sites, but I've always got away with links to my personal or company pages in that event. On my personal joerinehart.com site, I link my personal contact info to all my personal web sites like Zorpia, and on my professional contact info page I link Xing, LinkedIn, and of course, on my recommended or reciprocal links page, I link them all directly to my profiles :D
Of course, once you have your professional and personal sites established, you should go in and make an update periodically so that they don't get stale. Google loves updated content! I like to use Ping.FM or hellotxt.com so I can update all my social networks status messages and such by logging in to one site which is integrated with all the others.
The team I work with to help clients that suffer various forms of negative PR are available to help, if you don't have the time to deal with it yourself. We are not the cheapest, but then, we don't compete based on price alone and offer several respectable references ;)