The short answer is yes, definitely.
Google’s search algorithms tend to award older articles higher authority, which gives them the potential to achieve high search rankings on your search terms. Hoping for an old article to become forgotten and irrelevant over time can instead allow it to continue affecting your reputation impacting the public’s view of your organization. In the eyes of the average reader, a high search ranking is often enough to assure them of an article’s validity and credibility.
Impact on customers
First impressions are critical in all areas of life, especially business.
If a potential client or partner’s first search for your business reveals an inaccurate or unfair representation of your organization, the date on that article won’t matter much. That lead now requires convincing that the claims made in the article are not representative before they will even consider working with or buying from you.
“For example, an affiliate website often asks in their reviews whether the clients they promote are a scam or not.”
Many might never be convinced – 22% of consumers will decide not to buy after reading a single negative article. That’s almost a quarter of the potential customers lost, and if that article is sitting on page one of your search results, that could be a significant proportion of your total target audience.
Impact on future search results
Even if an article makes claims which are outlandish and show a clear bias against you, this can still prompt leads to seek a ‘safer’ alternative, or start searching specifically for more negative content about you. In some cases, this might also impact your search suggestions, potentially showing searchers unflattering suggestions next to your name and creating the impression of a negative buzz around your company.
This can be mitigated by creating content based on these search terms that contains information refuting the criticisms, but the ideal scenario is to prevent it before it happens by proactively outranking the original article and pushing it into obscurity.
Impact on the media
Furthermore, when negative articles rank highly on your search terms, this can set the precedent that writing negatively about you is a good way to achieve search rankings and generate hits. Reviewers, bloggers, critics and your direct competitors are all seeking web traffic, and if taking shots at you appears to be a successful tactic for gaining hits, then there will always be those who use that opportunity. By taking back control of the search results surrounding your business and creating positive, insightful or informative content, you can start setting the opposite trend in motion.
When you don’t control your search results, you don’t control the narrative about your company. The presence of negative articles can easily create an undeserved media, public opinion or industry bias against you, so it is vital to take a proactive approach to all bad press when reviewing your online reputation, regardless of its age. Fighting an uphill battle against the criticisms of a negative article can have consequences for all aspects of your business in addition to your reputation, and can cause decreased customer loyalty, increased employee turnover and overall lower profits.
If your business is getting bogged down by outdated, misinformed or unfair articles from your past, ReputationDefender’s expert reputation management specialists can help change the narrative and get your image back on track.
For more tips and information about managing your reputation online, visit our Medium blog or get in touch by calling +44 800 131 0700, or emailing [email protected] to learn more about how we can protect your reputation from the impact of old articles you would rather stayed in the past.