Our client is a global PR firm with clients in the US, Europe and Middle East. Over the years we have been tasked with a number of interesting projects ranging from helping politicians succeed to boosting search results in Thai and improving search results to enhance hiring. This case study examines a project to clean up search results for a company with detractors using YouTube, blogs and complaint websites.
Industry: Insurance Services (Global)
Issue: YouTube, Bloggers, Complaint / Review Sites
Technique: Remove YouTube Video, Suppress Blog, Improve Reviews
Duration: 13 Months
The YouTube video contained not only negative information about the company, but copyrighted material. This enabled us to petition YouTube for a copyright-based removal. The negative YouTube video was removed within three weeks. Google "replaced" the now missing search results with the next most relevant result, a company-sponsored video favorable to the client.
With the negative YouTube video removed search results began to improve. But a negative blog post continued to occupy the fifth position of Google search results. This meant that most people performing a branded search for the company saw the post; many clicked on it, further reinforcing it's relevance and strengthening its position on the first page. There was no way to remove the blog page as we had the YouTube video, so that left us with suppression.
Suppression of search results involves the development and promotion of better, more relevant web properties. We performed an analysis of similar entities in the insurance industry. We identified over fifty web properties including blogs, industry sites, review sites, video and slide formats that were candidates to be leveraged. A second pass defined which of the candidate web properties could be harnessed. These included contributors to various online publications, social media properties, bloggers and news distributions services.
The list of publication candidates that may have been leveraged included Forbes, GlassDoor, industry publications, and social media profiles like InstaGram. These were common among similar entities, but our client had not yet taken advantage of them. Several web properties such as TicketMaster and StubHub (due to the clients affiliation with a sports arena) were on the list, but inaccessible for our purposes.
After several brainstorming sessions internally and with the client a content plan was developed. From there an editorial calendar was created. Web properties to be developed were mapped to the content plan and calendar.
The social media team already had things on the social front well in hand. Nevertheless, we augmented underperforming profiles with search engine marketing to encourage them to move upward and overtake the blog.
Web profiles on the list, but that did not yet in existence, were developed. These included a website reflecting the charitable contributions of the company, a branch locator website, a more fleshed out Glass Door profile, and others. Development took three months.
Casualty insurance blogs were the first in an inbound link plan. We developed an outreach program to contact related industry blogs requesting the abilitty to provide contributor posts. Our earlier brainstorming and content planning had generated a number of headline ideas, many of which were accepted. Each post contained embedded links to relevant web properties according to the planned link structure.
Over time, organic inbound links began to strengthen a number of web properties located below the negative blog, causing those positive web properties to rise above it. The blog was pushed down in search results, eventually to page two. As is often the case, a page that is suppressed to the second page of search began to fall more quickly. Within a few months it was on page three. Because we had used natural, organic search engine optimization the results stuck.
The client had issues with a number of sites, one of which was Glass Door reviews. Glass Door was positioned on the first page of search results and therefore seen by all. Glass Door was problematic, but also an opportunity. By "claiming" their profile they could add considerably more information to it. This content enabled us to raise the profile in search results while improving reviews in a natural manner. The review profile of the client revealed a six-month upward trajectory would be within normal parameters. We followed that same trajectory but with a decidedly upward trend using standard organic in-house tactics.
Early results began to happen within a few weeks of initial engagement with the removal of the problem YouTube video. Suppression of the problem blog took far longer, but Glass Door reviews began to improve within a two months. The upward trend continued for eight months with an increase of one star.