30 July 2012 by Web Bureau
Offline, Ulster Bank’s reputation has suffered severely over their handling of a technical glitch that left thousands of customers without access to their accounts.
This is an incident that people will associate with the brand for years to come, and one that is likely to affect their trust of the brand.
But what damage has been done online?
Type in ‘Ulster Bank’ to a search engine and after the direct links to the bank’s website, searchers are hit with link after link of negative headlines.
“Chaos not over yet as Ulster Bank struggles with backlog”
“Ulster Bank woes continue on busiest banking day of the year”
“Ulster Bank customers still without account access”
The above headlines are the result of a Google algorithm update late last year that filters real time news stories and video content into your search engine results pages (SERPs).
The titles of these pages all include the keyword ‘Ulster Bank’ which will contribute significantly to the brand’s search engine optimisation (SEO) and putting paid to the old saying that ‘all publicity is good publicity’.
These articles and negative headlines are an indelible footprint of the brand on the world wide web. Not ideal.
So what can brands in crisis do to minimise the damage to their reputation online?
While there is no way to have this negative content removed from the web, unless you own it, reverse SEO can be used to push negative articles further down the search engine results pages.
A Cornell University study shows that approximately 10% of users will view page 2 of results pages on Google and only 2% page 3, making the later pages the perfect place to ‘hide’ negative stories of a brand in crisis.
But how do you get it there?
1. Survey the damage
How many negative stories is Google showing? Has the negativity spread to social media?
Why would you miss an opportunity to set the record straight for all to see? Respond positively and let the customer know what you are doing to fix the problem. Aim to change their opinion of the brand!
Start a blog on your business website. After all, this is where customers will expect to see the information they need. Frequent blogging will increase your own website’s search ranking, moving it ahead of the negative results and you are in complete control.
4. Change it up
Think about creating a few videos, uploading to YouTube and embedding them onto your website. Video content will help your own SEO. And the higher you rank, the lower the negative content appears.
Whilst the above SEO tips can give your positive content an extra boost up the search engine result ranks and nudge the negative content further down, it should not be regarded as a quick fix. In order to keep the positive stories high up on SERPs and maintain your brand’s presence on targeted keywords, a long term SEO strategy should be adopted.
The Web Bureau is a team of dedicated digital media specialists. Our SEO experts can advise on improving traffic to both new and existing websites.
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