How Is Your Reputation Holding Up In Google's Search Results?
Copyright (c) 2009 Bill Platt
911 Reputation Management
You know, if there are listings in Google's search results that
are hurting your business, you might think that there is nothing
you can do about that. But let me assure you that given the will
and the desire, there is plenty you can do about those search
engine results that may be hurting your business.
So many people look at Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as a game
of influencing the keywords that are important to their business,
but they don't realize that SEO can also be used to diminish the
negatives in the search results.
Are You Losing Business As Result Of A Bad Review In Google?
Remember that guy who bought your product 3 years ago, and he did
not follow the instructions for use, and then complained about
how your product let him down? He could be hurting your business
How do you measure the sales that your business is losing,
because some guy complained on some website about how your
product or service is "crap".
A Real World Example
Ah... I remember when I was selling TV's for a living.
There was this fellow who came into the store and bought a
52-inch projection screen TV. We had a bonded delivery crew on
hand to help people get their purchases home, but although this
guy had just spent $2400 on a television set, he decided that he
did not want to pay $40 for delivery of his new TV set. I bet you
can see where this story is going...
So, we loaded his new TV in the back of his pickup, and he
proceeded to tie down his TV in the back of his pickup truck.
He thanked us for his TV and started the drive home.
45 minutes later, our most recent happy customer pulled into the
parking lot, toting a big-screen TV box.
As we went to meet him at the door, we could hear the glass
falling as the box moved across the floor.
He was pissed! And to our surprise, we were at fault!
You might be asking yourself why we were at fault. That is a good
question, one I even posed at the time.
We were at fault, because we did not offer free delivery!
A gust of wind had caught his box, snapping the twine that he had
used to tie it down, blowing his $2400 Phillips Big-Screen TV
onto the highway.
He said it was our fault, because we should have given him free
delivery. Never mind that we had already given him a $300
discount on the purchase of his TV.
We had offered him bonded delivery, but he refused, and now it
was our fault that his TV was broken.
The store where we worked was one of those chains that keep all
of the power to make things right at the home office. We could
not simply exchange his TV, without permission from our
superiors. If we had authorized the exchange with the guy,
without the District Manager's permission, the company would
have taken the cost of the Television out of the salesperson's
and the manager's paycheck.
I was the assistant manager, and I was NOT going to pay for this
guy's broken television. The company did not pay me enough to
fix this problem for them, out of my own pocket.
We called the DM. Of course, even though we worked until 10 at
night, the DM went home at 6pm. So, we kept dialing his cell
phone number, until he answered the phone. ;-)
He was pissed, but that was okay. We were already dealing with
"pissed", so we did not mind two people pissed at the same
Thank God I was not the manager in charge that night. Thank God
for small favors...
Our District Manager said the guy was tough out of luck. I am
glad I don't work for those clowns anymore.
I agree that it should not have been our responsibility, but
surely we could find a solution for this guy. After all, he just
spent $2400 with us.
Nope. The District Manager said No, then he said No, and he said
So, the DM hung up telling us not to call him again that evening.
And we were left with the poor guy who had just signed a two-year
finance contract on a TV that was busted to hell.
Yes, I bet the guy pays for delivery next time. But the story
does not end here...
It Wasn't Your Fault, But It Is Your Problem...
The story now moves online. It moves into the newspaper. It moves
onto our sales floor for more than a week. It goes ballistic...
The customer went home that night, and turned to the power of the
Internet with his complaint. A few days later, he followed his
Internet complaints with a paid advert in the local newspaper.
Our store was getting skewered.
The guy was in the store every day, throwing a tantrum. And he
was spending his money and his time to skewer us for letting him
make a foolish decision.
It just worked out well for him. On about his tenth trip to the
store, throwing his daily tantrum in front of people who were
looking to buy a TV, he just happened to arrive on a day that the
DM was in the building. Ah... A new face behind the counter. The
customer picked out the new face in the building as being someone
over us. And wham, he let the District Manager have it, with both
Persistence paid off in this case.
He overwhelmed the District Manager with his complaints.
The District Manager broke down and did only what the District
Manager could do for our customer. He used his privileged status
to type in the appropriate commands into the computer and make
things right for this guy.
In the end, we got him a new television for the price of delivery
to his house.
The store ate the cost of the new television. (I ended up paying
a portion of the TV anyway, because the bookkeeping department
deducted the price of the television from the sales sheets for
the month, so some of my monthly bonus was lost when that man's
television was cut from the store's profits.)
The victory that we received was that the guy was not in the
store every day scaring away our customers.
But that victory came only after we took a serious hit in our
Reputation Management. Every person that guy talked to for the
ten days after his purchase, up until he got his replacement,
knew that he had a bad experience with us. What is more, everyone
who read his paid advert in the newspaper knew that he had a
problem with our store. Even more, who knows how long his
complaint survived online...
* You know what they say, "What is posted online, stays
I left my job at that store in 2005. That store closed in 2008.
I am not going to say that the store closed on account of that
guy's complaints. But I am willing to say that the store was
hurt by the guy's complaints. He did manage to drive a lot of
prospective customers out of our store, during his daily rants.
(I just checked and could not find his complaints online
I am willing to bet that the store closed due to the recession.
It closed about the same time that Circuit City bit the dust.
I think this story clearly illustrates that a problem does not
have to be your fault, in order for your business to pay a high
price, as a result of the problem.
Does Applebee's Really Suck?
To help illustrate the extent of this problem, I just typed into
Google the name of my favorite restaurant, Applebee's, the name
of my town, and the word "sucks".
I saw dozens of Google search results that were in effect saying
that my favorite restaurant "sucks". Many of them went to
describe this restaurant as having the "worst food ever."
Now to be sure, restaurants everywhere suffer from this
treatment. And the big name brand restaurants can survive,
because their large customer base has a different opinion.
But what if you are a local restaurant or an obscure Internet
As an permanent online fixture, I tend to be jaded about the
complaints I read about others. But I have to admit, while one or
two complaints will not sway me, several complaints in the search
results will even cause "me" to hesitate.
Can you afford for jaded internet marketers like myself to
You can bet that if we "jaded internet marketers" are
hesitating to purchase what you sell, those "who are not
internet marketers by profession" are running away from you!
Fixing The Problem...
You are already aware that by utilizing SEO techniques that you
can help your website rank better for some keywords in Google and
the other search engines.
But did you know that you can also create a wealth of positive
reviews for your business on a variety of web pages, and to get
those positive reviews to rank higher in the search engines than
the negative reviews?
This is how we help our customers.
We use our SEO expertise to get the positive reviews of our
client's website to outrank the negative reviews of our
If we get enough positive reviews to occupy the top of the search
results for the target keywords, then those negative reviews of
our client's website will be buried on page two, three, four,
five or six of Google's search results.
* If people will NEVER SEE the negative reviews of your website,
product or service, then as far as most people are aware, there
ARE NOT ANY negative reviews. If there are no negatives about
your business, then everything must be positive.
You are in control of your business' reputation online, if only
you are willing take the reins and force the negatives down in
Google's search results.
We know that not everything in the search results is true or
honest. After all, the guy with the broken TV was blaming us for
his bad judgment. We know that you may not deserve what is in
Google's search results that is affecting your online reputation
in a negative way.
If you don't let us help you get the negatives out of the sight
of your prospective customers, then do it yourself or hire
another company to do it for you. Because as long as those
negative reviews exist in Google's search results, there is a
good chance that someone is going to let those negative comments
prevent them from buying from you!
Bill Platt has provided Search Engine Optimization services since
2004. He has launched his newest service, which is designed to help
people diminish negative search listings in Google's search results.
By pushing positive reviews up in the search results, negative search
listings will begin to disappear from the public eye. If you would
like to learn more about how Bill's Reputation Management SEO
service can help your business, visit: http://911reputation.com/
Bill has also owned http://thePhantomWriters.com/ since 2001.
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