How To Get a Negative Review or Attack Site Off the Front Page

Did you have an angry customer or disgruntled employee create a smear website or leave a bad review that ranks on the front page?

There is Good News & Bad News

The bad news is this is going to take dozens of hours of work, and months of time will go by before the offending website is removed from the front page. The good news is that 95% of what you are going to do, will be an application of good SEO practices and will have general SEO benefits to your site. Pushing the Bad website off the front page is going to be mostly a side benefit.

But it’s only off the front page? I want it to disappear!

Trust me, once it is off the front page it is effectively gone. 91% of searches never click beyond the first page. In addition the people clicking beyond the front page usually are not your best customers, they are often employees and competitors. It is very unlikely you will be able to get something removed from the internet entirely, but there is a small chance and that will be discussed further below.

Step 1 - Make less listings appear on the front page.

In the image below you can see the difference between traditional listings and expanded listings using structured data in the Google search results. Configuring your schema correctly to produce these types of rich data cards will actually take up more space on the page. This results in the website you are trying to hide being pushed further down the page and possibly even off the front page.


Step 2 - Company Micro Sites

Next we take information that would normally be contained with a page on your website, or maybe even just a section of a page like the Mission Statement from an about page, and we make a whole website out of it.

We will link to this page from your website’s about page. And we will link back to your website from this microsite. For some companies a mission is really important. So an expansion from one paragraph to several pages of examples or stories about why you do business makes sense.

Other great opportunities to create a micro sites can come from the careers page of your website. This page can easily be expanded with information on company culture and what types of things you are looking for in applicants resumes. This can actually really have a positive impact on the business because it really is useful for the candidates you most want to higher.

And another good place to build a microsite would be if your company has any type of non profit initiative it is involved in. Even something like a day where your company goes to clean up a nearby park is a great place to look for self promotion. These types of activities are typically blog posts but there is no reason they can’t be their own microsite

I would do a maximum of 6 of these types of related domains. It works a lot better if you can find two or three links that you can get to point to these sites, besides your main websites. For example, if you have a website dedicated to your "City Park Cleanup Day", maybe the city Parks and Recreation website would be willing to give you a link.

  • Special note, many people will think this technique sounds like creating a PBN (Private Blog Network). Which is Black Hat and not something Google approves of. PBN websites will hide their WHOIS information, set up on different Web Hosts and do everything they can to trick Google into thinking they were not developed by the same person. We are not going to do this, all of these websites can be hosted on the same platform, and have identical Whois info. If you don’t have more than 6 company micro sites this is should not trigger any PBN warnings with Google.

Step 3 - Don’t Forget the Easy Stuff

Often the links directly under a company will be social networks when looking for a company name. You need to make sure you have pages on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and all the major social sites. What controls how high those links appear is how active those profiles are. So use a program like Buffer to schedule posts for the week and make sure that your company profiles are updating every day with new content.

This is the easiest thing you can do and will also be the quickest strategy for pushing down the site we are trying to drop.

Step 4 - Disavow the Link

What does it mean to disavow the link?

Normally if you start to receive links that look spammy, Google will think you are trying to artificially inflate your rankings. In order to not get punished by Google you can “disavow” those links to your site, saying that you have no relationship with the sketchy links and those sites aren’t related to yours.

Because the site that gave us a bad review probably linked to us, we can “disavow” their link as well. This won’t have a major impact on their site by itself, but it is a negative signal to Google that someone has a problem with their site. It also lets Google know that maybe that site isn’t a good match for searches of your brand name.

Special note, if you are very lucky and this negative site has ALSO linked to the website of a mutual party that you are affiliated with you should also ask them to disavow the link.

Joe Plumber’s service was no good. I ended up having to go to a local hardware store to buy the stuff to do my own project”.

If you are lucky and can get the local hardware store to also disavow links from this page, it will be a VERY negative signal to Google and we might see this page not just pushed from the front page but out of the search results entirely.

Step 5 - Push for a News Link

If a small to medium sized business is written about in the local press it can be the second or third link on company name searches for years!

This is the most difficult strategy to replicate for each unique business and in some ways falls more under the category of PR than SEO or reputation management, but it can be the most effective way to control the message and google results for your company. So think about what makes your company story worthy and reach out the local press to see if they would be interested in running the story.

For more help getting a news link check out this excellent Moz article from Casey Meraz.

Step 6 - Guest posting with Partner Businesses

Are there businesses you work with closely and have a good relationship with? Trade Blog posts with that company, where each of you will write up a quick company profile to expose your customers to the partner business.

Have them write something simple like, “Why we use company Joe’s Plumber service when we need to fix a pipe” but make sure that the are correctly optimizing their post to rank for your company's name. A tool like Yoast can be great for this.

Step 7 - The Psychology of Dealing with the Angry (Possibly Crazy) Customer Directly.

Now that you see how much work it can be to remove a negative listing from the front page, make sure you aren’t overlooking the most direct approach. Asking the angry customer to take it down.

I have two important questions I try to answer before I talk to the customer. When did they put up the angry site? And can i speak with them in a professional way?

The question is the most important. If you cannot remain perfectly calm and professional when dealing with the customer, you risk upsetting them further and creating more problems, so do not engage with them at all. Even if you are 100% right and they are 100% wrong, it is important not to argue with them. Be apologetic, offer to make recompense in some way and see if that can solve their issue. Make sure to document all communications, and make double sure that every communication makes you look like a great company with excellent customer service. You can already see how it will take dozens of hours to remove their listing from the front page. Depending on what the customer thinks the problem was it can often be much cheaper just to give them a refund they don’t deserve rather than pay for the work of burying their site. If you are very lucky perhaps a simple apology will accomplish the job for you.

But whatever you do, don’t be these guys - part of being a good business is accepting criticism gracefully, even if it isn't warranted.

Now that we got that out of the way, we can get to the interesting stuff. The first benchmark was how quickly after your first issue with this customer did they put up their angry site? This is something I have never seen discussed in the fields of Reputation Management but has been my secret weapon.

If the angry site went up within 1-3 days of their interaction with your company, I put them firmly in the category of (Bored techy with too much time on their hands). Which is really good. You don’t know if they were really that upset, because the work of throwing up this site was not much to them. Maybe they had other things going on in their life at the time, and they aren’t even upset anymore, they just haven’t thought about it enough to take it down. People in this category often take down their sites for an apology, and I once even saw them change the highly ranking review to a positive one after a simple refund!

Warning: if they come from the second group and their negative review site went up 3 months or more after their interaction with your company then they have a very different kind of problem. Someone who has been dwelling about an experience this far in the past and has gradually become angry enough about it that they will create a whole site to damage your company may have mental health issues. I usually do not recommend contacting these people at all. But you can read their specific grievance and give it a shot if you are very good at conflict management and think you can help them to see your side.

Anyone who comes within the grey area of more than 3 days, but less than 3 months is someone you will have to use your best judgement on. But keep all your records and as a last step you can use an attorney if you need to.

Step 8 - Legal Intervention

Assuming you have kept excellent records of your communication with the person smearing your business and you have provided excellent customer service along the way it may be time to speak with an attorney.

There are metrics you can use to determine the lost business and how much you have been harmed financially by the negative review site and that will be a good number to reference if things get to that point.

Most small businesses don’t have the time, money or patience to hire a lawyer, but most consumers have even less time and money for one. The review is legally entitled to speak about their experience, but anything they say about your company that isn’t factually true is defamation. Having a lawyer draft a letter to them threatening legal action if they website doesn’t come down can be an effective strategy to get the website taken down.

Final Tip for Extra Credit - The Epic Signature / Bio

This tip from Rand Fishkin on the Moz Blog. It is from 2010 but it has still been working great for our clients.

Do you ever see Bio’s like this? This speakers biography is a useful map to a group of websites, all relating to the speaker and their business. This universal biography can be repeated wherever an authors or speakers bio appears. These types fo bios send a strong signal to Google that these links always appear together and are related. Because of that relation they have a higher chance of appearing together on the front page of your searches for your companies brand name.


Every piece of content is unique, built with a specific audience in mind, and to move future customers through the sales funnel.

Video Marketing for Dentists and Orthodontists

Video Marketing for Dentists and Orthodontists - the Why and How

Most, if not all, dentists and orthodontists have a social media presence, some are better at than others. What is a big differentiator? Video marketing for dentists and orthodontists. When looking at some social media sites you will come across everything from 'home made' cell phone videos of patients and procedures, to a PowerPoint presentation that is simply a slide show of still (stock) photos with some music in the background.

If dental professionals want to capture potential patients attention, they need to be effective with their presentation style.

It's common for someone to ask a friend for a recommendation to a dentist or doctor and word-of-mouth is the absolute best advertising. The crucial point is when the person getting the recommendation goes to search out the dentist to find out more information. The dental professional only has one choice for a first impression when they get to their website or social media page. Using a quality video presentation is one key factor in creating a positive impression (no pun intended!).

Getting dental work is a not-so-pleasant experience for some people, so they need reassurance that they are in the hands of professional and caring people. A quality video will portray exactly what the potential patient needs to see to feel comfortable picking up the phone to call for an appointment.

Here are some important facts about video marketing:

  • 70% of marketing professionals report that video converts better than any other medium
  • The average internet user spends 88% more time on a website with video than without.
  • 64% of consumers are more likely to buy a product after watching a video about it. - Forbes

A successful video campaign is just one aspect of an overall marketing and relationship-building strategy. As a health professional, you are an absolute expert in your field, having spent hundreds of hours studying and learning your art. The one thing that is not taught in medical colleges is how to market yourself. This is where you need to seek out a professional who has spent their time studying their field of marketing. Partnering with a consulting firm that has a successful track record will benefit your practice immensely.

Here are some areas where video marketing for dentists and orthodontists can be successful:

  • A promotional video that explains who you are and what you do. A smiling, confident face goes a long way in making someone comfortable. If you have a team practice, then that video should show you as a team.
  • A virtual tour that shows what your facility looks like, highlighting any new technology along with anything that helps make the patient experience that much more comfortable. You can even include short clips of some simple procedures; something that sets you apart.
  • Patient testimonials that communicate your practices value, expertise and professionalism. Word of mouth is the best advertising and having real people give positive testimony will go a long way to building confidence in a potential patient.
  • Stand out from the competition by adding a video to your business listing in online directories

Partnering with a professional consulting firm makes it simple to accomplish these goals. Some of the other, finer points of videos in marketing include:

  • Using videos to drive traffic to your website/social media. Search engines love video, and with proper video SEO, you can use video to drive lots of traffic to your website.
  • Use targeted keywords when titling and tagging your videos
  • Create a variety of videos, each focusing on a different search term
  • Use multiple video sharing sites to increase links back to your main website

As pointed out earlier, video is just one aspect of a successful marketing program. Tying in all of the other tools available with professionally produced videos will ensure that your practice attracts new patients and continues to grow. Please go to our website and download the free e-book "Video Marketing Road Map". This will give you and idea of what we can help you accomplish in your practice. You can contact us for more information or with any questions.

Video Marketing Statistics - 2016 and it's Benefits

Video marketing is rising at an alarming rate. Consumers connect through mobile devices and are more apt to watch a video than they are to read an extensive blog. It's important to incorporate video into all of your marketing aspects and know how they affect your audience. The following statistics are according to an article on Hubspot:

Increase in Conversion:

    • Video in an e-mail leads to 200-300% increase in click-through rate.
    • Including video on a landing page can increase conversion by 80%.
    • YouTube reports mobile video consumption rises 100% every year.


Who Uses Video:

    • 65% of US marketers plan to increase their mobile ad budgets to account for video.
    • 96% of B2B organizations use video in some capacity in their marketing campaigns of which 73% report positive results to their ROI.
    • 22% of U.S. small businesses plan to post a video in the next 12 months.

User Interactions:

    • 90% of users say that product videos are helpful in the decision process.
    • 80% of viewers recall a video they viewed in the past 30 days.
    • 36% of online viewers trust video ads.


  • By 2016, video ad spending will reach 5.4 billion.
  • Video ads make up of 35% of total online ad spending.



    • Enjoyment of video ads increases purchase intent by 97% and brand association by 137%.
    • 59% of executives would rather watch a video than read text.
    • The average user spends over 16 minutes watching online video ads every month.

As small business' become aware of the growth potential using videos in their marketing strategy, they must also know where video marketing is headed.

The article on Forbes by Jason DeMers, 5 Video Marketing Predictions to Guide Your Content Strategy offers some insight into video marketing and where its outlook in formatting and presentation are headed. Some of the projected observations are the following:

  • Videos will become shorter and more concise. " the market becomes increasingly populated with video content, the shorter, more concise entries will start to stand out more."
  • Live streaming and virtual reality will merge, and it's believed they will develop together. For businesses catering to outdoor sports, this could mean allowing your users to “virtually” attend learning sessions about safety or initial meet and greet in readiness for an excursion.
  • Videos will be used for more than just information. Currently, a video is used as a 'content medium,' such as how-to's, and tutorials. However, it's quickly spreading that video can be utilized for much more, such as face to face encounters or exercises in improving communications.
  • Videos will become more personalized. Companies are moving toward catering to individuals' particular needs and giving specific attention to those within their audience.

Your business will only grow with video marketing. With having the knowledge of the above statistics on how video marketing will affect your audience, and how videos will further develop in the future, your business will have an edge for your marketing processes and leads to your sales funnel. Contact Harness Consulting today for more information.

Featured Exhibitor One Wheel: Outdoor Retailer 2016

Onewheel launched on Kickstarter in January 2014, and since then they have kept rolling!

Onewheel cruises at up to 12 miles per hour, and is a board that you can take anywhere.  It's fun on the beach, mountain trails, or just cruising down the street.

Onewheel is a self balancing electronic skateboard.  It has lights to illuminate the ground while your cruising at night, and even connects to your phone to let you know the battery level.

To learn more visit Onewheel's booth at 39066.

Featured Exhibitor So iLL: Outdoor Retailer 2016

At the intersection of Fashion, Art, and Climbing sits So iLL.  This climbing brand creates products that will grip you as much as you grip them. Daniel Chancellor created the brand 12 years ago, starting with 6 people, a bunch of product and a van.

They have come a long way since then.  With 33,000 followers and climbing on Instagram, they are a must watch for anyone with an interest in indoor climbing.

Visit So iLL's booth at 2035 to learn more.

Featured Exhibitor Bright Path Led: Outdoor Retailer 2016

A simple idea, a powerful product.

Bright Path Led is a perimeter security lantern for camping.  Everyone who has slept in a tent knows the fear that an animal will coming scratching at the tent door in the middle of the night.  This lantern helps alleviate that fear with a motion detector system large enough to cover your entire campsite.  If anything large is moving through your camp the light will activate.

It's also great not to have to grab a flashlight when you want to go check on the kids tent.  And with recent battery tests showing the battery can last over 30 days, the reliability of this camping lantern is off the charts!

Check out Bright Path Led's booth at PV3140 to learn more.


Featured Exhibitor Bureo: Outdoor Retailer 2016

You have never seen a skateboard like this! Is it a skateboard, a surfboard, or just a crazy hybrid  where imaginative designs meets having fun on the street?

Bureo is all about sustainability. The teams initiative 'Net Positiva', was the first fishnet collection and recycling program in Chile.  It is a beautiful partnership where fisherman get ecologically sound disposal, and Bureo receives durable raw materials that they use to create their unique boards.

The three founders Ben R. Kneppers, David M. Stover and Kevin J, funded the production of the first wave of skateboards through a highly successful Kickstarter.

Check out Buero's booth V02072 to learn more.

Featured Exhibitor Tentsile: Outdoor Retailer 2016

Why can't a tent be a tree house?  Alex Shirley-Smith founded Tensile with a simple vision to build a portable tree house that would make people happy.  Today Tensile is rapidly expanding to make that vision a reality.

Tentsile combines everything you love about a hammock: comfort, versatility, and extreme portability with a huge increase in security and sleeping capacity for up to 8 people.  By lifting your tent off the ground you will not be affected by wet, rocky or frigid surfaces.  It's not just fun and comfortable, you can also pack lighter and leave the bulky cushions and air mattresses that are used to make hard surfaces palatable.

Check out Tentsile's booth PV3005 to learn more.
Featured Image By Linked Ring Photography