Despite how amazing your business is, there are always going to be critics.  Often these negative posts make it onto the first page of Google, Yahoo & Bing. The typical reaction is to ignore it with the simple mantra:

Haters Gonna Hate

But a much better approach is to actively control your search presence to push these negative rankings off the first few listing or even first page.

Dominating the first page with your brand name is actually fairly easy. Follow these quick wins to get your website fully covered on the search results page.

1: Get Social

If you don’t have a Facebook page for your business, crawl out from under your rock and get one!  It’s essential in today’s world.  Not only can you connect directly with customers, you can often answer angry ones. Most frustration stems from a lack of information; Social opens the lines of communication.  So set up a Facebook page. And if you get on a roll, add Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr and more to have a well rounded social presence.  The main benefit of this is to have multiple listings on the results page!  Wouldn’t it be nice for your website to rank #1 for your business’s name, and then your Facebook #2, Twitter #3 and so on?  After just a few sites, the negative listing can be pushed off the first page, where only a small percentage of searchers venture.


SpencerSEM Search Results Page

2. Optimize Your Own Site

If your own site isn’t optimized, tactic #1 may not work as well.  Be sure you follow search engine guidelines by creating pages that aren’t intentionally manipulative & always have unique, fresh content.  It’s a simple rule of thumb and the backbone of a good web experience.  Follow the tips listed on this website for help with search engine optimization.


3: Pay Per Click

Paid search is quick, easy way to get your messaging in front of relevant searches in a flexible, inexpensive way.  PPC is primarily a short-term solution, which makes it a great reputation management tactic.  This is a great starting point if you have a particularly negative news story spread rapidly. I have personally launched campaigns after shark attacks at a Client’s resort giving facts about the attack, general shark attack information & updates on the safety of the water.  Shark attacks are very scary, and they are actually very rare. But when they happen, it’s so highly publicized that the perception is that they are common and will most likely happen to you when you put your toe in the water. But there is an opportunity to control this message before it gets out of hand.

Pay Per Click Example





BONUS: Go Local

Five Stars




For local businesses, verify your Google Place, verify your Bing listing, verify your Yelp listing, verify Urban Spoon, IYP and whatever you can verify.  Control these listings as much as possible.  This ensures your contact information, business hours, and much more are accurate. This also gives you a direct line to customer’s reviews & helps you to improve.  When someone searches local or on a mobile phone, these local listings are prominent & are often driven by higher ratings.


Over 80% of all internet activity starts at a search engine.  Although the search engines’ algorithms are a closely guarded secret, you are not completely helpless in controlling the results.  Following these four simple steps, you can quickly dominate the search results page.


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