Dealing with a bad online reputation

Ninety per cent  of people use the internet to find what they’re looking for. Even my Grandad who is 97 asked me the other day if I could use ‘The Google’ to research his family tree. So if someone has said something unpleasant about you and these comments appear when your name is searched this is bad for business. And it’s upsetting. In the medical and health and beauty business reputation is everything.

You may have spent years building your business and have done magnificent work and made countless patients happy but from an internet perspective one error can blight your life and career. We don’t take it lightly as we know you don’t.

So how do you go about managing your online reputation?

Internet Management Case Study

A leading Harley Street practitioner came to us last year concerned about an article that had appeared about them in a national tabloid. The story was inaccurate but it didn’t stop the paper running it and of course it then appeared at the top of the Google search ranks when you searched for them. It meant that when most people Googled our client the first thing they saw was the negative article.

Could we help? Well we don’t own Google so we couldn’t make them take it down. Tabloids crush people on a daily basis as their steamrollers plough through our culture unconcerned about the fall out. Normal people and businesses are collateral damage in the race to bring gossip and tittle tattle to the masses to sell more copies. They had their story and the circus moved on, but the article would remain on the internet. Forever.

The answer was yes. But it was going to take time. And effort. In the end it took 9 months. And our methodology wasn’t dodgy or in anyway underhand, we wanted a permanent legitimate solution. The first page of Google gets 96% of all clicks. People very rarely venture onto page two. It would be impossible to totally remove the offending article but we could make it almost irrelevant by pushing it into the desert which is page 2 and beyond.

So our plan was to make our client own ALL the positions on the first page of Google.

We wanted Google to return searches in our client’s name with pages that we controlled and by doing so we forced down the negative comments onto page two.

At this point can I just point out that you should be doing this anyway. You shouldn’t just have your main website as your primary presence on the internet.

How we did it

Firstly, we built 5 microsites. Each of these sites was for a speciality that our client is known for. We optimised these for our client’s name so they started to appear in the search rankings. It took about 3 months for them to appear. After four months we had moved the offending article to position 5.

Next we got our social game on. We created profiles on Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest. We didn’t do Facebook or Twitter at this stage as our client wasn’t really into these and our belief is: if you like social then ‘do’ social, if you don’t, then leave it alone.

We then made sure our client had comprehensive listings on the websites of hospitals that they practiced from. Add photos (top tip – always make sure the file name of your photos are ‘your’ name not fhjgrCC332. Google can’t see images, but it reads the file names and indexes them) and biographies, phone numbers, make them as wordy and comprehensive as possible. Shout it out. Make a noise. You will be heard!

Then we got on the free listing sites. They don’t cost anything but often they are pulled into the search results. Again, make them as comprehensive as you can.

Then we blogged. Like crazy. Every week we put up specialist content on the microsites and main sites, giving the websites authority and cementing them in their position. Every time you put up a blog post you add a page to your site. Every new page added to your site is a landing page for a potential visitor.

Finally, on Monday this week, the offending article dropped to page two. We cheered. Our client cheered. Somewhere an angel sang and in a shanty town a small boy got a new toy. It was a glorious Monday, which is not something I say very often. It means our client now ‘owns’ the first page of Google for their name and the chances of people seeing the negative press were minuscule.

Post script

As a side effect, the client gets more traffic and more enquiries as their presence on the internet has increased tenfold. In time the project will provide a significant return on investment.

Our client is busy and therefore was keen for us to deal with the problem as they didn’t have the time to do all this work. However, much of this can be done yourself by planning what you’re going to do and then each day working on building your online presence. There are only 10 slots on the first page of Google, time and effort can fill them. But if you want some advice or help or a chat then drop me a line and I would be happy to give you some tips – contact me at or directly on 0774 009 8092.