So here’s the secret. You can’t.
You knew that was coming, didn’t you? But there are ways to push the complaint farther away from your site and out of your search results.
The first thing I would do. Go after that customer, face to face, and see if you can correct what happened. Now some people would say that there are people who are never going to be happy, no matter what you do.
I would disagree and say, “You really don’t know that until you are face-to-face with that person.”
Too many times I’ve seen emails and comments start flaming because when it comes to digital communication it is easy to forget there is another human being on the other end of that discussion. It’s almost like we are flipping mad at our computer and just letting them have it. But once they are in person or on the phone, the anger settles and people can talk in the right TONE to one another.
The other thing to do is to go to those sites that have your complaint and explain your side of things. Tell them how you’ve tried to work this situation out.
But if you can’t fix it, you can out-content them on search results.
If you have only one website on the internet (your singular web presense) on the internet, this is going to be very hard. Because you essentially have only one link or two links that will come up when there is a search for your company.
But if you have multiple web presences…say a YouTube Channel, a Flickr account, a Twitter account, an outside blog or multiple blogs, a facebook page, a myspace page, then you have a chance.
Now what I would do is start pushing lots and lots of content out on the web through these different channels – and there are a heck of a lot of more of them than I mentioned.
Also, don’t do it all at once. Space it out. Get stuff up there at least once a week.
Other things you can do is change your static site frequently. I don’t care if it costs you money because you built a site without a CMS. By not changing your content, it just sits there and Google has no reason to re-index your site.
Get involved in other people’s conversations on their sites. If you are scared of the internet, then talk to someone who understands it and can help you.
The bottom line is get more active on the internet and you can drive them down on the search results.
This is also not a great idea in theory – I’ve done this before with companies. It does work. But make sure you understand this. The same rules that apply to you, also apply to the consumer and that’s why when you step it up – they can as well. So it’s better to just work it out together and not go through this mess.
Good luck. And if anyone else has some ideas on how to do it, let me know. I would love to hear them.