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How to manage your brand reputation in Google search

Jamie Crane, PR and Earned Media Senior Account Executive

The author

Jamie Crane

PR and Earned Media Senior Account Executive

There’s nothing better than Googling your company’s name and seeing all of your positive press fill up the screen. But what if the first few search results are negative, inaccurate or even libellous?

We were recently approached with this very issue. In this blog, we’ll run through exactly how we used positive PR and technical SEO to turn things around for a client - from unwanted and unwarranted negative attention and false accusations to national media coverage about their passion and successes.

The brief

We were hired to help a client after malicious and salacious accusations forced them to face an employment tribunal. Despite the court dismissing all of the allegations, the trial generated swathes of derogatory media coverage in high authority national and legal publications and most of this remained online. Furthermore, as the majority of the stories were written during the course of the tribunal, very few mentioned the allegations being dismissed and the client being fully vindicated.

Naturally, these articles had a severe negative impact on our client, both personally and professionally. We used a two-stage process to set things right.

Stage one: address the negative stories

Our first step was to conduct a thorough audit - identifying the nine harmful articles and consulting with our SEO team to decide on the most effective approach for having them edited or removed.

Using this insight, we began by asking publications to amend or no-index their stories. Due to the wording of the articles, there were no legal grounds to request removal, but any page that was no-indexed would no longer show up in Google searches.

With this in mind, we contacted all of the right people at the publications, referencing the court document that unequivocally dismissed all of the allegations.

It is important to note that this tactic is only available when a negative story meets a few strict criteria. While it may be tempting to request removal simply because you or a client don’t like an article, it needs to be “inaccurate, irrelevant or out of date” for publications to comply. Moreover, the publications only have to amend the article if the impact on the individual’s privacy is greater than the public’s right to access it.

Results achieved

This approach brought amazing success, with the team managing to remove, amend or no-index every single article that mentioned the false allegations against our client.

Key articles were completely removed, including one particularly damaging piece, and The London Economic no-indexed its story, meaning it no longer appears on Google. National publications, such as The Daily Mail, Metro and The Evening Standard, all updated their articles to include clear mentions of innocence.

This meant that when you Googled the client’s name, some of the negative stories were still appearing, but they all categorically stated that the allegations were false.

Stage two: generate positive stories

The second stage of this brief was to source and secure profile opportunities on authoritative websites in order to push down any remaining stories on Google surrounding the court case.

For this, we began by chatting to our client about their career to identify the most newsworthy angles we could offer to the press. Once we had our hook, we began the pitching stage by approaching key national titles and journalists, working with our client to set up interviews.

It is important to ensure that when you are pitching positive PR, the stories are genuinely useful to those searching for your client’s name, otherwise, they won’t appear as prominently on Google. In this instance, they detailed our client’s impressive portfolio of work and true character, which helped secure strong rankings.

Results achieved

Working closely with our client and their team, interviews were secured with a huge selection of national and legal publications, including BBC News, The Guardian, The Financial Times, The Telegraph and Yahoo. At the time of writing, we also have ongoing opportunities with The Times, The Daily Mirror and The Sun. As an added bonus, our client was also interviewed on BBC Breakfast TV which has an audience of over 11 million people.

Most significant, however, was the impact on the search results. When we began our project, the first two or three pages of both Google and Google News were dominated by the negative story we were trying to budge.

Those negative articles are now found on pages seven and eight, while our own coverage ranks on pages one and two. Furthermore, when you Google our client’s name, seven of the top ten results on Google News are now positive stories we secured.

Our client told us how delighted they were with our approach and manner and the great results we achieved for them.

If Google presents unsavoury results for searches of your brand name, get in touch with our team to see what we can do to help.

For more information about our Reputation and Crisis Management services, visit: