One of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced doing SEO work has been overtaking a negative SERP for a branded keyword. In this example the branded keyword was returning a result from a prominent publisher about a local court case. There was actually no relation to the case but in this unfortunate example there happened to be some similarities in the brand names involved. The domain and page authority of the site with the negative result was as competitive as it gets. It’s traditional publishing roots are the oldest newspaper in the country. It took nearly 60 days but was able to bring our site back to #1.
We still have our work cut out for us, as now that we have regained #1, the negative SERP is still listed right below, so we’ll begin working on lower quality pages to help build a multi SERP listing pushing this negative content out of page 1 as a longer term goal.
Basic Steps to Reverse Negative SEO
Explore opportunities for good press. Often times the root of negative is mainstream press coverage for a less than desirable topic. It only makes sense that the best thing to combat this type of coverage is through positive press. Promote volunteer opportunities you or the organization took part in, consider sponsorships and community outreach as opportunities to help get some positive PR and new credible links to your web property.
Register all appropriate social profiles. Beyond Facebook and Twitter – consider Yelp, LinkedIn and any industry specific profiles. Some may be paid but well worth the value, be sure to do your research.
Consider some of the micro blogging platforms ie. Tumblr, medium, etc. Publishing content here will amplify your reach and help build a more credible SERP. Not all platforms are created equal or best for you, so do your due diligence when choosing where to focus your efforts.
Engage in conversation online. Quora or other Q&A community based sites offer great platforms for personal engagement that will get some attention. The simplest form of this would be blog comments, however beware of low quality sites that carry no real value. More positive instances of your validated profile and brand name will help detract some of the credibility from the negative SERP you are battling.
Consider Adwords. It shouldn’t be this way. But it is. One of the best ways to battle negative SEO in the short term is to combat it with paid placements for your branded phrase. The positives are your brand phrase may be low competition, so you’ll pay a fair price (and help shorten the longer term impact on your brand) to push those negative SERPs down on page.