Online defamation occurs when a person posts and distributes negative information about another person or business, which is generally untrue information. This online defamation can occur in any number of online settings, including blogs, forums, review sites, emails, mass texts or social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter. Often this type of negative publicity is intended to cause damage to a business’ reputation. This type of negative information that is posted and distributed online has a tendency to rank quite highly on the search engines, making it easily noticeable, and particularly damaging to the business.
As more and more people find these negative results after typing in a search query related to a business, increased damage can occur to the company’s sales and revenues due to the negative reputation that the company has developed.
Many people that write slanderous comments and reviews about a business continue to do so with the comfort of knowing that most of the time these posts are anonymous, and essentially cannot be erased from the web unless they themselves delete the post (depending on where the comment is posted). The internet has had an incredible impact on businesses around the globe, whether positive or negative.
Defamation lawsuits have been on the rise with the advent and popularity of the internet. Even though defamation has been around for decades, the use of the internet has exacerbated the problem, causing businesses everywhere to seek help from SEO and SEM services and others to help them counter this problem that may otherwise seem hopeless. Anything posted on the internet is potentially there for life, unlike defamation in print, which has a limited shelf life.
Countering Online Defamation
The good news is that although anonymous negative posts and comments are nearly impossible to deleted off the internet, there is a possible solution to this growing problem. While filing lawsuits and attempting to have these comments deleted from the web may be difficult or futile, there are SEO and SEM methods that can be implemented to limit the damage caused by online defamation.
Taking the steps to infuse the internet with positive comments, remarks and posts across the internet and all its mediums can effectively help to outrank other webpages where negative posts of a particular business are found. Although this solution may not necessarily be absolute, it can be a highly effective method of dissipating negative posts by pushing them down the page ranks of Google, and restoring a business’ reputation among the public.
Having an understanding of how the internet and search engines work is crucial to countering and fighting the slanderous information that may exist about a business or entity. In addition, gaining an understanding of the type of readers that are viewing this negative online information is important. There really is no regulation of online reading, unlike newspaper and magazine reporting.
In particular, social networking sites seem to be an increasingly problematic area of the internet where online slander and defamation are occurring more and more. Anyone can post a negative comment about a business, without much regulation involved. The popularity and recognition of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook make the negative comments easily accessible and viewed by potentially thousands and even millions of people around the world.
It is imperative that businesses have a system in place that essentially monitors sites like these on a regular basis in order to be able to immediately counter the negative comment in an effort to combat the damage that the comment may cause. There are a variety of tools available that can provide this monitoring in order for companies to be notified immediately when any comment has been posted about a business.
By being active in these same sites where negative comments are being posted, businesses can post comments and positive factual responses as well, in addition to posting information on other online publishing channels that people regularly view.
Using SEO and SEM to Combat Online Defamation
It is critical that companies immediately get involved in internet posting in order to counter the problem of online defamation. By actively posting on forums, social media sites, blogs and other areas on the internet, the negative results that turn up on the search engines after certain keywords are typed in can effectively be pushed down the ranks. Outranking these negative results can make them much less visible, and can effectively cause the slanderers to cease their false posts due to the fact that they are not receiving the attention they once did.
There are many ways to outrank these negative search results, including doing the following:
- Creating a website specifically designed to post positive information about the company
- Starting and regularly contributing to a blog
- Sharing and commenting on photos of the business online
- Creating a social media profile
- Creating an online business profile
- Contributing to forums on a regular basis
Negative press can be short lived with continued counter attacks with positive information posted. It would require those that began the online defamation to continue their efforts to posting negative information about a business. With continued counter attacks on behalf of the business being slandered, online defamation results on search engines can be overshadowed.
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