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Bouncing Back From a Reputation Crisis

Any business can suffer a reputation crisis. Safety issues, employee or customer injuries, data leaks, poor quality, and scathing customer reviews are just some of the things that can lead to bad press and a poor reputation for your company. This can result in a devastating loss of business and even bankruptcy if not handled properly and quickly.

Status Labs reports that in 2022, 86% of Americans said they got most of their news online. Not only that, but people also check reviews and even social media when they decide what to buy and who to buy it from. Seventy-nine percent of people trust online reviews as much as they do recommendations from friends and family. This makes it so that even one negative review can define your business and scare away customers. When you have a serious reputational crisis, this effect is even bigger.

Handling a Reputation Crisis

Your Immediate Response

Tackling a big reputational crisis involving news reports and viral buzz requires a multipronged approach. Good news outlets will want to speak with your company’s owner or CEO, and failing that, get a statement from a company representative. Don’t waste this opportunity to get your side of the story out! The right statements can do much to defuse some types of reputation problems.

If you have a plan that will address the issue that’s making news, be sure to get that fact into your official statements. People like to think that you are “doing something” about a perceived problem.

Your Long Game

The days when you could just duck and wait for the next news cycle are over. This is because, as is often said, “the internet never forgets.” Old news stories about the event will be online for years after people would have otherwise forgotten about the incident.


When people see these stories after searching for your company name, products, or anything else related to you, your business will suffer. What can you do about these zombie news reports or bad reviews?

Using SEO To Bury Negative Reports

The goal of search engine optimization, when used for reputation management, is to put positive reports and content about your company above negative results in the search listings. To do this, you must first have positive content to rank up. Collect any favorable news stories there are and link to them to help them gain visibility.

Don’t stop with what other people have written about your business. Generate content of your own. Start a company blog and post to it often and regularly. In it, provide general, helpful content without addressing the negative news. Start company social media accounts if your business doesn’t already have them, and post to those regularly, as well. Set up a Google Business Profile under your company name, too. Finally, ask for reviews from your customers — assuming that most of them are satisfied.

Now that you have a sea of content on multiple web pages, it’s time to use those pages to bury the negative news. Engage SEO to drive up all of the positive pages you can in the rankings above the ones held by the negative reports. In general, you want a favorable page in each of the top 10 slots for keywords that otherwise show negative news.


While how to do SEO is a subject that could fill a book, we will give some basic pointers. Links are still king when it comes to what ranks, so get as many points as you can for the content you want to rank up. Content quality is also important, so it’s worth it to hire a decent writer if that isn’t your forte. Finally, keep your content fresh to keep it ranking well.

It is important that your content and positive reviews look legitimate. Beware of seeming “too good to be true,” lest you lose credibility. Status Labs says that conversions are higher for companies with ratings of 4-4.7 stars than they are for those with a perfect 5-star rating.

Call in the Pros for the Fastest Results

Professional reputation management companies like Status Labs know all of the ins and outs of recovering from negative news and bad reviews, as well as SEO. When your business has no time to waste, call them in. Since they don’t have to climb a learning curve, their work will be more efficient and quickly show results.