I had an interesting comment awaiting my approval here on WickedBlog this morning. Someone from the Danville School System (in, what I can only assume is an attempt to counter the bad publicity from a photo and short blog I posted wayyyyy back in 2006 on the Toliver Elementary School) added a comment on that very blog post.
The original post used a photo of the school’s marquee with two misspelled words on it. I posted it because having that displayed at my old elementary school distressed me. I often blog about things that distress me — especially when it has to do with the education system.
Good Comment Content… However…
The new comment gave great PR for a recent academic achievement for the school, and I approved the comment. I know what the school representative was hoping to accomplish, unfortunately, that’s not the way SEO works.
Yes, there is now a comment giving great detail about the excellent performance of the school’s academic team at this recent event — but the down side of posting that comment is the SEO impact of renewing an old post with a current comment. This is why sometimes, with SEO and bad publicity, it’s best to leave things to get buried in Google rather than trying to improve the situation with a defensive comment seven years later.
Here’s How SEO Works
Since there is a new comment on that blog and since the comment mentioned the name of the school three times and had the words “elementary school” and “academic” in it — I’m guessing that the comment will bump up the ranking on that old post that they really want to let die.
How This Can Benefit You
If you are ever in a situation where you are attempting to counter negative information about you or your organization online, you should:
1. Address the situation in a timely fashion, to get your side of the story visible.
2. Offer to write a guest blog to counter the negative one that appears or ask the site owner if they would be willing to do an interview. (Most won’t, but it never hurts to try).
3. Work on creating better press on other sites to leapfrog the bad story in Google from multiple sites.
4. Leverage your own site with an appropriate URL to rank higher than an outside source can hope to rank by publishing good stories and handling the SEO of each entry to literally bury the bad press on Google results.
5. Never, EVER, comment on a bad PR post years and years later. Google likes fresh content and will re-spider whenever new content appears, so by commenting on an old post, you essentially bump it back up into the top pages — especially if it’s a post that has already proven that it ranks high in Google in the past.
6. Post photos to your site that are properly tagged to counter photos that you don’t want visible in Google images.
I hope this will help others to understand why sometimes, with bad PR, it’s better just to let sleeping St. Bernards lie. 🙂