Reputation Attack Sites Can Still Harm Despite Drop In Rankings
Many small business SEO companies and webmasters are well aware of websites that exist to damage the reputation of an individual or an organisation. Apart from being an avenue for customer complaints, these website also host unverified, reputation-harming content. In 2018, the rankings of the most infamous of these sites took a dive. But SEO companies and online businesses still ask: could these websites still harm their reputation?
It seemed that some reputation attack sites like Ripoff Report, Complaints Board, and Pissed Consumer still prominently appear in the search engine results pages where they can negatively affect businesses. These three websites leveraged Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which states that internet publishers of third-party materials will not be held responsible for it. This means that when a consumer writes a review or a complaint, the website is not going to be legally responsible for the content, nor will they be compelled to remove it, except in instances of copyright infringement.
Ripoff Report in particular has earned the ire of SEO companies and businesses everywhere because they do not allow a consumer to remove their complaint reviews. As an alternative, the writer of the review can post editorial comments around defamatory information provided that they shell out money for the corporate advocacy fees.
This process is very different from that of moderate review websites like Yelp, BBB, and many others, which allow authors to remove or update published reviews, especially when there is proof of false content.
The SEO community and various companies from different industries asked Google to demote Ripoff Report, Complaints Board, and Pissed Consumer, but their pleas were not enough to have these sites penalised.
Fortunately, the rankings of these sites declined during the Medic Update in 2018. They gained some of it after a while, but there was another evident drop in rankings after the Core Update in September 2019. Despite the drop in their rankings, these websites are still on the Internet and remain a huge threat for companies and individuals, especially for start-ups.
How To Avoid A Loss In Reputation
Most sites that continue to be affected by reputation-harming websites are those that have a weak online presence. Usually, companies that have no social media accounts, no websites, and only have few third-party information pages are easy targets. Therefore, it is crucial to improve one’s reputation by following the basics below:
Website – The website’s name should closely match the words that people type in the search engine bar, which helps the brand rank more easily. Moreover, it should be well-optimised for search and contain customised information.
Twitter – Creating a Twitter account to connect with other users who share similar interests can help boost a business’s online presence. The subject’s name on the profile should also match the words that searchers frequently type in the search engine bar. Moreover, it’s important for company websites to have a link to the Twitter account.
Facebook – Facebook pages help a lot in boosting online presence as these create a public-facing persona.
Other methods – One can also create accounts on YouTube, Pinterest, Flickr, Tumblr, etc. However, it can be quite hard to manage all these accounts just to improve one’s online presence. The best thing that a company (especially a start-up) can do is to hire a professional small business SEO company.
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