So what exactly do you do when, say, you get a horrible review online and it’s the first thing that pops up when prospects search for your business or services?
You get one chance to make a first impression. Pushing negative business reviews way down SERPs (search engine results pages) may be a long shot, but it’s definitely worth your effort. Leaving damaging negative reviews front and center will turn off would-be clients and cost you for as long as the reviews are visible.
While there are no direct and concrete steps that will instantaneously work, there are certain actions that you can take to push these unsightly reviews way down in the search results.
How long does it actually take to push down negative search results? Will the negative results be out of sight, out of mind in a week? A month? A year?
The short answer is that it depends. The time it takes to improve your search results depend on a few key factors:
Search volume simply refers to how many searches a keyword gets per month. Keywords with less search volume are typically easier to fix and control than those with more.
According to Google’s free Keyword Planner, I get searched 110 times per month. That’s not shabby, but it’s definitely on the lower end.
How competitive are your search results? If the extent of your current results is a handful of poorly optimized profiles from other people with the same name, then you may start seeing your properties begin to rank in just a few weeks’ time.
On the other hand, if you’re battling trusted publications like the New York Times, review sites like Ripoff Report, or authoritative forums like Reddit, be prepared for a much lengthier process. The same goes for people with very common names who are looking to stand out in the digital sphere.
On-page and off-page SEO factors
When you type something into the search bar, Google tries to serve you the most ‘relevant’ search results for that term.
As you can imagine, this is a fairly complicated process, and Google’s algorithm employs hundreds of factors to determine how to rank results.
How quickly your content ranks for a particular keyword largely depends on 1) how well your content meets certain on-page and off-page search engine optimization (SEO) factors and 2) how well the competition meets those same factors.
So how long will it take?
On one side, you have people with unique names earning just a handful of searches per month and competing against some of the easiest search results out there. If you fall in this camp and you create enough highly optimized and engaging content on a regular basis across a dozen or so web properties, you can probably expect to take over the first page in just a few months.
On the other hand, you’ll be in a much different boat if you’re looking to take control of a highly competitive keyword with thousands of searches per month and strong competition. For situations on this end of the spectrum, it might be years before you’ve earned a strong foothold in search results, and you may never win 100% of the online real estate.
If you’re like most people, you fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. For those situations, it can take anywhere from 12-24 months, sometimes shorter and sometimes longer.
The good news is that you don’t need to wait until you have complete control of search results before you start to see return on your investment.
Search Volume Statistics
The higher up in Google results you rank, the more traffic you tend to receive.ADVANCED WEB RANKING
As you push your positive properties higher in search results, you begin to mitigate the impact of any negative or irrelevant results. According to research, the top-ranking search result on average gets 31% of traffic, the 2nd gets 14%, and the third gets 10%.
Just one or two of your properties at the top of search results will already dramatically impact the number of people who find your digital narrative as opposed to somebody else’s.
At the same time, remember that Google isn’t the only place people go to search for information online. Wikipedia, Facebook, and IMDB are all “search engines” where people look for info on Kimmy Schmidt. So as your audience grows on additional web channels, not only do you increase the chances of those channels ranking in search results, you also decrease the overall impact that your search results have on how people find you online.