Online reputation management specialist ReputationDefender warns that negative articles can still have an impact on a business’s online reputation, even when those articles are old. In fact, Google and other search engines often award higher authority to articles that have been around for longer, meaning negative articles from years ago can pop up on the first page of a search. Simply hoping the negative press will disappear is not enough to protect your business and how it is perceived online.

First Impressions

We all know that first impressions count for a lot, which is why it is vital that the information an existing or potential customer sees when they search for your business or product is positive. If there are articles out there that are inaccurate or unfairly represent your brand and they appear at the top of a SERP, this could end up losing the company a lot of business.

Almost a quarter (22%) of customers state that they would not buy from a company if they had read just one single negative review of said business or the products it sells. If they are likely to see this one negative review each time they search, that equates to a lot of business lost.

A 2018 study conducted by online comparison and review site TripAdvisor found that 98% of business owners felt that online reviews were important to their business and 97% believed that it was important to effectively manage their online reputation.

Active online reputation management can help to ensure that the first impression customers get of your business is accurate, fair, and likely to draw them in in rather than scare them away.

Impacting Future Search Results

Once a customer has seen a negative review or article misrepresenting a certain business, they may then be promoted to actively seek out other negative articles to confirm their bias. This can affect search suggestions, which can quickly leave the impression that there is lots of negative information about your company online.

Ideally, businesses will manage their online reputation proactively and create new content based on the search terms that are resulting in negative articles being seen. This can then help to ensure that the older article is finally pushed into internet obscurity by outranking it in search engine results.

Managing the Media

Another lesser-known consequence of allowing negative content about your business to rise to the top of the SERPs is that competitors, critics, reviewers and bloggers may then see that they can get their own content to rank higher by writing negatively about your company, thereby actively increasing the amount of negative content available.

Estimates suggest that businesses will lose around half (44%-59%) of their customers if there are just two or three negative articles on the first search results page. When this happens, it is possible that the mainstream media will pick up on this and generate even more of a negative buzz. Therefore, taking a proactive approach to managing your reputation online is one of the most essential things you can do to build your business.

ReputationDefender can help you to effectively manage your online reputation and ensure that one or two old negative posts do not have an ongoing effect on how your business is perceived online. You can follow ReputationDefender on Twitter or Facebook for regular updates and advice on how to protect your online image.