I’d like to share a funny story about a how a client of mine has gotten some recent reputation-monitoring help from strange places.
This client is in the consumer electronics industry, but the name of its business happens to share a name with:
1. a medical iPhone app
2. a .net website belonging to a farm
As logic would dictate, these ranking pages that helped them have zero connection to my client’s business or industry, but the fact that they were ranking #14 and 15 in Google today in a search for the company’s name is a blessing in disguise. The reason is because these pages do not reflect negatively on the client’s business. They may not appear to be positive by themselves, but the idea that they are potentially preventing other negative website results out there from showing up in top results for my client’s name is reassuring. Even if the farm website contains an extensive diary with graphic photos of a deer hunt. Believe me, I’d love to show these photos or link to them, but I don’t want give up my client’s identity or get in trouble with a competent gun owner, so I’m just going to show the site’s “navigation.”
Lesson: Take Reputation-Monitoring Action
If you find a similar situation for your business, depending on how high the doppelganger site(s) rank and the severity/prominence of the negative result(s), you should consider linking. One humorous way to go about it would be to add a disclaimer saying:
These places could be confused with us, but are definitely NOT us.
In this way, you could link to an unrelated namesake while not confusing your own visitors. Perhaps giving these sites some links could be the factor that pushes up their rankings in searches for your name. Linking out might be worth a try, especially if these sites are already showing up on first- or second-page search results for your business name. Again, the question is, “How bad and prominent is/are the negative listing(s)?” If no other current option exists for changing these search results, then your time would be well spent. You would have nothing to lose and much to gain.
So, remember, you can’t always change the bad things people say about your business, but you can sometimes get a little help from random places.