Reputation management through SEO is one of the most difficult tasks for many public relations and marketing professionals. In highly critical industries, such as political advocacy, reputation is especially important. When the narrative is highly volatile, particular on hot-button issues, ensuring that your brand appears favorable when your consumer search’s for you, is absolutely essential. Though there is no “one-size-fits-all” strategy for managing your reputation through SEO, there are a few helpful tips to make SEO work for you.


Change the rankings. If a competitor or unfavorable news article is ranking above your site, then your end goal is to change the makeup of the search result so you rank above them.

Change the content. When changing the rankings isn’t possible, or the negative content is from a review site such as Yelp, you need to work to change those negative review results to positive ones.

Shift demand. You can’t fix your reputation if the search results for your brand are inherently negative to begin with. While biases exist regardless, shifting demand by improving public perception can help fix your SEO problem.


Leverage your web presence. In this current climate, if your brand presence is strictly your main site, then you’re not capturing the full potential of your brand. Social media profiles, such as Facebook and Twitter, can help you populate a search page for your brand with positive results. Moz’s Randi Fiskin expands upon this point beautifully:

“One of the problems that we see is that a lot of brands think, “All my links about my brand should always go to my homepage.” That’s not actually the case. It could be the case that you actually want to find, hey, maybe we would like our Facebook page to rank higher. Or hey, we wrote a great piece on Medium about our engineering practices or our diversity practices or how we give back to our community. Let’s see if we can point some of our links to that.”

Moz, Randi Fiskin

Engage your consumers. If negative reviews plague your search results, engaging with those consumers may be the answer. Responsive brands can help their SEO take on a more positive appearance. Yelp already poses a huge SEO opportunity, and a huge weakness for businesses which don’t pay attention to these vertical search engines, as detailed by Brightedge’s Jeremy Collins:

“With all these new uses for Yelp, brands must better understand how they can build a strong presence on the review platform. Creating a strong digital presence now means that brands cannot afford to neglect alternate vertical search engines, like Yelp, to increase their visibility for all prospects.”

Jeremy Collins, Brightedge

Utilize the media. News articles play a massive part of many search pages, often taking the a prominent on the first page when applicable. Just look at the search results for Planned Parenthood (below). News about the organization is brightly and boldly displayed before any social media for the company, and just below the main website.

Managing your brand reputation is a demanding, and often daunting task. By following these tips, it’s possible to make headway through search engine optimization for your brand. Though this guide is not exhaustive, it’s an uphill battle that you can certainly win.

Madeline Gardner