tedster - 12:36 am on Oct 10, 2010 (gmt 0)
There is a branch of SEO called ORM (online reputation management). I bring up the topic in this thread because I've been somewhat involved with ORM for almost nine years - and because it definitely requires both technical SEO and good SMM to have an optimal effect.
Just recently I was close to a situation with a product recall - the kind of thing that generates backlinks that many be numerous, but you would rather do without, you know?
In addition to getting out in front with lots of well SEO'd content on the company side of things, the social media engagement also responded well to the real human concerns involved. Several months later, if you search on the company name, the overall impression you get is not one of a bad reputation but rather a company who cares and did the right thing. And all those backlinks that were at first very negative in their effect now have a very different, moderated impact.
I've also been involved in person-to-person negotiations where a detractor agreed to remove their negative content. Even some situations where community criticism made a detractor look very foolish and they had to make a change. In addition, all kinds of positive messages on various properties were given a nice ranking boost through intentional SEO attention.
If the company's response to the reputation challenge had been technical SEO only, the positive result might still have been achieved, but it would have taken many months longer, maybe years.