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If a example.com is purchased, but has a history of fraud or some other heinous crime by its previous owners, such that search engine results show 10 pages and more of complaints from defrauded investors or victims on various web forums, what can the new owner and webmaster of the domain do to clean up those search results, or be able to separate itself from its checkered history which has no connection whatsoever to the new owner?

Is redacting unwanted search results the only thing that can be done? what else, especially to prevent those victims from accusing that their abuser is back online?

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  • Matt Cutts video from Google with some advice on the subject: How can we check to see if a domain (bought from a registrar) was previously in trouble with Google? Feb 16, 2021 at 20:39
  • the brand name is a must regardless of its checkered history. we want to take care of the child without two damns about the parents that left her
    – user610620
    Feb 16, 2021 at 20:41
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    Watch the whole video, he talks about some things you can do if you want to keep the domain including filing a reconsideration request and disavowing links. Neither of those will take care of bad reviews and angry rants that are in the search results, but they could help with penalties against the domain that prevent it from ranking itself. Feb 16, 2021 at 20:45

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You need positive SEO to displace those bad reviews and forums.

Ideally when someone Googles your business name, they get your website, your social media pages, and hopefully positive news about your business. The bad results are showing up largely because the business has been closed and I would assume their website and other social media properties went away.

This is a brand building exercise right now. Maybe think about a press release for a Grand Re-opening or comment on those forums about new ownership and link your website or other content.

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  • even then, the brand name and business of the previous and new owners are so identical, the old search results would still appear associatively applicable in the searcher's eyes. this is more a question of getting rid of them altogether, since pushing them back to the 10th page by displacement still doesn't make them go away
    – user610620
    Feb 16, 2021 at 20:21
  • If the new owners have the same name I would that deserves suspicion. However, most users don't get past the first couple results and over time you should be able to push them out to the second page. They are going to show up when people google business name + reviews anyway.
    – keepkalm
    Feb 16, 2021 at 20:26
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    The equivalent of of hanging a sign on the restaurant saying "under new management." Feb 16, 2021 at 20:46
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    Not overly convincing, I would just focus on how you are going to practice business in the future.
    – keepkalm
    Feb 16, 2021 at 20:47
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    @user610620 - Not convincing, and to me that would seem like the business is overly defensive (I just got to your site... relax a minute before hitting me with the drama). It's also unprofessional to handle it so publicly and immediately like that. I would use a small footer link, at most, to a page with "the story" for anyone who is interested in it (hopefully most visitors never heard of it and don't care).
    – Trich
    Feb 16, 2021 at 23:11

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