A company I do web work for happens to have a name that is in line with a large national scandal with associated hi-profile trial. Google searches for "CompanyName" are now pulling up PAGES of results for the related national news story when we used to essentially be the top link on the first page.

What can be done to try and combat this issue?

  • There is absolutely nothing... Google is working as intended. You can however work on your on-page SEO, and off-page SEO which may help your rankings if you follow a good whitehat guide, other than that... wait for the trend to pass. Sep 26 '16 at 19:44

How does the saying go..

Bad publicity is the best free publicity.

I say get creative and ride the wave (not minimizing the seriousness). Afterall you can't prevent or foresee things of this nature.

Similar problem and how it was dealt with.

I had a client running for public office and searching the name returned a current court case involving a pedo.

We decided to add "The Real > InsertNameHere" in the meta description and noticed an increase of website traffic.

Your only other real option is to over worry or panic and possibly make a bad short term decision with long term effects.

  • My immediate thought was to modify the #1 placement pages with a new title and description differentiating themselves from the bad actor. Humor is my schtick anyway soooooo.... great minds think alike! Cheers!!
    – closetnoc
    Sep 26 '16 at 21:42
  • @closetnoc doubt any SEO will have a major impact. Google trends and news get priority. Because that's what the majority of users want. A site with the same expected traffic would not be having this issue. Sep 26 '16 at 21:43
  • @SimonHayter I agree. You might have missed my point though. If your pages are going to trail the bad news, then you might as well make them different such as "We are not the guys you see above." or "At least we are not in the news like..." It may screw up your CTR and bounce rate, however, people looking for you may at least know the truth - hopefully.
    – closetnoc
    Sep 26 '16 at 21:56
  • From experience, I have to agree with @closetnoc especially the comical side of it. A business owner has two options, come off as scorned or light hearted, the later being good PR. Google in these cases will find content to be relevant. Legitimate net history, matching "brands", clients looking business up, owners addressing the issue > Google will return both businesses if there is user interest. If the content was made up based on current events with no connection, than I would say Google's algorithm would reject the site.. but then again, successful trending sites do just that. Sep 26 '16 at 23:25
  • A major part of Googles strategy is to reward trend searches. Why not make the best of it? Especially when you have a sense of humor and little options? If you know a comedian, hire him/her to do a few videos and post them to YouTube or WeTube or whatever they call that abomination to decent content. (I have no opinion on the matter of course.)
    – closetnoc
    Sep 26 '16 at 23:53

You could pay for some appropriate key words to bring up your client's web site as a "sponsored result" (or however exactly it shows up) when searching for the company name. So if the company is ACME Thromblemeisters, Inc., then maybe pay for acme inc and acme thromblemeisters, and make sure the page title for the front page is a good one.

The other results will still be there, obviously, but it might be enough to bring your client back to near the top of the first page. For a short term issue such as this one, that may very well be a workable solution.

The rest would probably be up to the client's PR team to convince people that they are unrelated to the scandaled company.

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