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Reputation management for google search suggestions?

 12:42 am on Nov 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

So I've done a bit of reputation management in the past (i.e. pushed bad results off the first few pages), but now I was asked about what can be done about negative search suggestions (when someone types in business name and Google suggest "[business name] complaints" or something similar).

I know I've heard/read people discuss this before but can't find anything on it now...

How does search suggestions work in Google? Does anyone have any experience with trying to influence the suggestions?




 2:27 am on Nov 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

As far as I know, the Google Suggestions are based on commonly made query revisions. In other words, they come "from the universe of all searchers" and there's little - maybe nothing - we can do about it.

I've got one such situation and what I'm trying to do for the client is rank well on the suggested query - at least getting the client's point of view and messaging seen. I've got three results on the bottom of page 1 now, and of course I'm working to improve on that.

I had a week of hope in early October when the identical "related searches" entry vanished from the bottom of the SERP - but it came back, and the Google Suggestion never went away.


 9:02 am on Nov 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

I experienced this recently while searching for a relatively obscure silversmith by name. I spelled the surname incorrectly on a number of searches...then I called someone to ask how to spell the guys name...I was one letter out...but Google’s suggestion kept popping the incorrect name up as a suggestion. So that certainly got me thinking how easy it might be for a blackhat to repeatedly use a term to discredit a competitor, eg [business name] complaints, [business name] non delivery, [business name] theft, [business name] plagiarism etc. I cleared my cache a number of times, but a week later google was still "suggesting" the silversmith's name the way I had incorrectly spelt it.

It got me worried...


 5:54 pm on Nov 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

So I guess the whitehat way is to push it down, and the blackhat way would be to artificially inflate the number of searches for other terms? The company name doesn't get a lot of searches, so I'm guessing beating out "[business name] complaints" in # of searches shouldn't be an insurmountable task with some clever tricks. By comparison trying to take over the first page for "[business name] complaints" would be a nightmare...not to mention there's also "[business name] scam" to deal with :P

Luckily so far the related searches at the bottom are all neutral.

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