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Negative PR in Search Results (Part 1)

Alex Christie

30 May 2008

A lot of companies are focusing on driving traffic through to their websites through natural search and really throw everything at getting to the top for their ‘golden terms’ or generic keyword phrases.  While being at the top for your terms may drive a lot of traffic, do you take note of the sites a that appear around you for your branded keywords.  What are they doing there?  What impact do these results have on traffic coming through to your site?

So what is negative PR?  Well I think that it is negative articles in the search engine results that relate to your company, your products or your staff.  Please feel free to leave comments if I have missed anything.

Articles that can feature for ‘your’ searches can come from news sites, forums, blogs, YouTube, Review Sites and specific, niche sites.

I am going to pick on a biggie here for my example and that is Star Bucks.  Unfortunately they seem to have treaded on some toes on their way to the top and the search results are littered with negative comments about them.  Do some searches for Starbucks to see for yourself.

Starbucks_3

So how does this affect you?  First up you need to do some of that old keyword research.  Use the normal keyword selecting tools (Google. Miva and Yahoo for example) and instead of using your normal keywords, try some around your brand, products and key people.  Just like choosing your normal terms, you should focus on the ones that have the highest traffic and therefore the most chance of negative PR having an effect.

Once you have a priority list, go out and manually search on the big search engines where you are.  What are the other sites in the top 20.  Make a list of the negative ones, what searches they are found for and where they rank.  i suggest to do these searches once a week, but if you dont have that time then do it once a month.  Remember search results change daily so it is important to keep up to date.

Tune in to my next post which will be about how these affect your site (with stats) and what to do about it.

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