Anti-SEO, The Art of Not Being Found

- posted on Wednesday, December 29th, 2010 at 8:10 pm.

Exploiting Fluffy Bunnies to Hide from Google, Could Save Billions in Corporate Loss

Perfecting the Art of Not Being Found, Anti-SEO

In NY, a would be customer of a prestigious investment banking firm CANCELS his buy order for $500,000; In Atlanta, a would be SUV driver, decides NOT to buy his $58,000 vehicle; In Boston, A California, a publicly traded company losses millions in stock evaluation and revenues; In Texas, protesters boycott a large store chain, discouraging thousands of would be customer. Though these events seem to be unrelated the trigger of these events is shared as the result of negative search engine optimization, the dark side of Internet advertising against a brand, product, or service.

With over 200+ million search queries preformed per day on Google alone, Internet search is one of the most widely used tools for consumer product and service driven research. According to Forrester Research, Internet retail sales are projected to reach $204 billion in 2008. Moreover, a recent study by comScore CEO, Magid Abraham, sited in the Harvard Business review, showed a strong correlation of the off-line impact of Internet advertising impacting a physical store purchase by as much as 50%. This opens debate for the actual impact negative search engine optimization may have both in Internet and off line revenues, which may total in the billions.

A search engine like any medium disseminates information that is contextually relevant to the user’s search. So what happens if the search engines turn against a corporation’s product or service? The results could be devastating. Negative Search Engine Optimization, is the process of using major Search Engines such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN to display unfavorable results that would cause potential prospects not to buy, based upon key terminology used to describe the product or service. Case in point, Google “Walmart” and “Wake Up Walmart” will appear, which drives over 65,000+ visitors to its site monthly, that lists sites anti-family and worker stories. This grass roots campaign is gaining ground and is currently supported by over 400,000 individual members and growing. Potential damage is estimated in the hundreds of millions given a combination of effects it may have for both investors and consumers doing research on the mega-store giant.

Less direct than attacking a company, but equally devastating, is attacking an individual product. The Hummer H2, was portrayed as the ultimate driving machine by General Motors. Almost trumping General Motors website in search engine positioning is “FUH2”, which shows a less than favorable view of the H2, calling it “the ultimate poseur vehicle”.  Given that more than 24% of consumers research their auto purchases prior to purchasing; Hummer’s H2 is potentially losing 2-3% of potential sales due to this type of negative search engine advertising attack.

Attacks on a brand name could also be a cumulative result of a companies or products existence. For example, most consumer based investment banking firms receive customer complaints if their client experiences a loss of money in the stock market. Some of the complains are justified other are not, it’s just the nature of the business. If the customer writes his opinion on the Internet, or files legal action against the company, or rants on a blog, it becomes part of the Internet ecosystem, making it potentially findable for potential future customers.

So where do fluffy bunnies come into the mix? Fluffy bunnies is synonymous with positive “fluffy Internet content” that buries potentially damaging content off of the first few pages of the search engines, in essences down the rabbit hole, which will limit its exposure to over 80% of those searching for key words related to the product or service, given that most Internet searches do not go past the first few pages. Fluffy Bunny Strategies vary depending upon the situation and severity of the negative search engine optimization, but could include website redesign, the launching 1000s of blogs, Internet video campaigns, and mini-web sites.

So what steps can you take to protect your brand online:

Employ digital listening with real time analytics.

Do NOT ignore threats.

First see if any negative articles exist. Type “your company name, products, and C-level officers” in to top search engines.

If no negative data exists, you can actually protect yourself by creating internal online search engine strategies to make it more difficult for future issues to arise with your brand online.

If negative data does surface try to resolve the problem with the individual or organization privately.

BEWARE OF SEARCH ENGINE EXTORTION. Think in terms of hostage negotiation. If you pay them off, others may come to extort your brand later.

If it cannot be resolved, cut contact off immediately, do not give them ammunition or incentive to continue.

Hire an Anti-SEO professional, see my shameful plug, to identify how and why they are ranking in the search engines in relation to your key terminology, and protect your brand using a positive search engine optimization campaign.

Whatever you do,  DO NOT IGNORE,  take action to protect your name and company’s reputation.

For More information Please contact John Cataldi

John Cataldi | Media ROI Evangelist  | Adreka

o 678-804-7144

m 404.849.0065

f 770.271.3766 ||