Online Reputation Management

Online Reputation Management: Why Websites with Negative Content End up on Page 1 of Search Results

In an ideal world, positive comments about your company would fill up page one of your search results, while any negative comments about you would stay buried many pages down. But as the team at sees every day, sites that encourage unedited opinions from a variety of sources are taking over search results. can assist you in understanding why search engines such as Bing, Yahoo and Google rank these sites higher, and what you can do if you’re the victim.

Negative content comes from a variety of sources. knows that blogs, opinion sites, forum postings and reviews on various websites allow informal and unsubstantiated content to be freely provided and openly displayed. While this may benefit someone with a genuine issue, customers reading reviews before making shopping decisions have no way of evaluating the objectivity or accuracy of such claims. Our team at cautions clients that far too often, the words you see posted online may not be from an authentic source. In fact, many of these comments come from disgruntled employees and competitors, trying to disrupt your business and influence current clients to re-evaluate long standing relationships with you.

One of the biggest challenges that exist for clients of with the dozens of product review sites now available is that no one is evaluating comments to ensure they are valid and accurate. Anyone can post anything anonymously, and the site will take no action against the content. Even placing formal complaints with such sites can prove fruitless, as review sites choose not to view themselves as anything more than a bulletin board providing third party content.

Unfortunately, as sees firsthand every week, review sites tend to rank high in search results. It may seem unfair, but the team at acknowledges there are very good reasons for this. Google uses web crawling technology to deliver its search results and variables such as outside sites linked to your content influence the page position of postings. has seen that ratings sites tend to be linked from a variety of both affiliated and non-affiliated sites. knows that search engines define these sites as more relevant to search terms based on the high volume of internal and external backlinks.

Additionally, search engines tend to give search preference to sites with more traffic. Search traffic patterns empirically make a statement about humanity – sites with negative, derogatory commentary tend to draw high click traffic. A consumer scanning first page search results, for instance, might feel drawn to click on the link with a passionately-delivered bad review in the description. Words like “scam,” “fraud” and “thief” attract significant attention.

Unfortunately, once that click through has taken place, consumers generally buy into what they are reading. has noted that there is often no way to properly research the background on a particular complaint even if a consumer feels inclined to do so. When the negative comments are spread over several different ratings sites, points out that consumers tend to believe the comments are coming from different people, even if there’s no way to know for certain. has seen disgruntled commenters launch a smear campaign that gives the impression of widespread problems with a company as opposed to an isolated single issue. Combating this sort of bad publicity is difficult, but it is what specializes in. knows the challenges companies face in fighting against negative comments on sites like these. With a team of experts ready to help, can find solutions to negative content delivered through search results allowing your customers to learn the real truth about your company.

Reputation Advocate is online at 


All written content copyright Steven C. Wyer.