Reverse SEO

Article by Kristaps Brencans Kristaps Brencans

Last updated

When you own a business, you want it to have the best reputation possible. You want it to be seen as competent and reliable and you want it to be something that people won’t hesitate to recommend to others. Of course, the best way of doing that is to simply be good at what you do and let the positive word of mouth and savvy SEO work do the rest. However, despite your best efforts, there are times when you might get bad reviews for your business. 

The reasons are myriad: maybe you made a one-time mistake that caused someone to be dissatisfied with your service or product; maybe a rival is trying to trash your reputation to boost their own. Whatever the reason, a prominent bad review can be a disaster for everything you have built. We all know that you can never really permanently remove anything from the internet, so how do you salvage your reputation if you cannot just make that bad review disappear? The answer is reverse SEO.

SEO stands for search engine optimization, which is all about getting your site to rank higher on the results page of search engines. So reverse SEO is exactly the opposite, it’s about pushing down the search results of another website, in this case, the one responsible for your negative review. The lower it is, the less likely it is that anyone will see it, and if they do see it, then they will probably discount it since it is ranked so low. 

At On The Map Marketing, we are masters at regular SEO so we know exactly how to manage your reputation with reverse SEO. We know how to push down any negative reviews so that people only see the best of what your business has to offer, and as the saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind.” If no one sees your negative reviews, then you have nothing to worry about. So, contact us if you need to manage your reputation through reverse SEO. And be sure to hit us up if you want to use regular SEO as well, we’re pretty good at that, too.

Reverse SEO Strategies

As with normal SEO, reverse SEO requires a strategic plan before you can get going. These are the steps that can push down a negative review so that only the cream of positivity rises to the top.

Find and Identify The Keywords that Lead to the Bad Review

We start by finding the keywords that give the negative review such a high ranking in the first place. The techniques we use are similar to the ones we use to get a web page to rank highly. We use those techniques to create a list of the keywords that cause the page with the negative review to rank so highly. We also find the other things that give the negative page the authority that it has, such as its backlinks, its site structure, and so on. Once that is done, we move on to the next step.

Optimize Other Websites for the Negative Keywords 

Once we have identified the keywords that cause the page with the negative review to rank so highly, we go about creating and optimizing other more positive or neutral web sites to rank for those keywords. Those sites will be unaffiliated with any sites related to your business. The goal is to use those keywords to get positive sites to rank higher than the negative ones. 

We can even use those keywords on your own web pages if they are applicable, that way your site will show up first instead of the one with the negative review, thus pushing it down even further. In addition to your website and other unaffiliated websites, we can use those keywords in various social media profiles. That can boost the social media pages related to your website — like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram — even higher. 

Backlink Building

Since we identified the backlinks used in the page that has the negative review, we may as well put them to good use. Backlinks are links from other websites that link back to another website. So in this case, we find the sites that have links to the negative review page and get them to link back to your website instead. 

This is good in two ways. First of all, more backlinks are always better because they help to give your site more authority, which helps to increase its rankings in the search engines. Second, when you hijack those backlinks, it helps to further push down the page with the negative reviews. So, by identifying and using the backlinks from the page with the negative review, you get two positive outcomes for the price of one!

Alternative to Reverse SEO

The techniques detailed above are tried and true surefire ways to push down a negative review and salvage your reputation. However, just like with regular SEO, they take time, and just as with regular SEO, some people may get impatient and try to use shortcuts to get the same results. So are there any faster ways to quash a negative review? If the negative review violates any of the search engine’s rules and standards, then you can report it to Google or the search engine of your choice so that the page gets de-indexed and does not show up anymore. The following are some of the actions that are against the guidelines of Google:

  • Personal, confidential information appearing in search results, e.g. your personal phone number, home address, and so on.
  • Sites that engage in suspicious activity like negative SEO. This is different from reverse SEO because it employs the production of low-quality backlinks to a competitor’s site in order to drive down their rankings. Search engines prohibit this practice, and if you find that someone is using it against you, it should be reported.
  • Trademark violation. If another site is using your trademark in a way that violates your rights, it should be reported.
  • The information about your business on the negative review page is incorrect or outdated. If any information about your business that appears in search results is not true, then it should be taken down.

These are just some of the things that can get negative review pages taken down. If any of them apply to you, then you should contact the search engine as soon as possible. But what if the negative review page does not violate any standards, is there anything you can do? Yes, there is.


In some rare cases, it is possible for you to make peace with the person responsible for the negative review and come to a mutual accord. You can contact them and ask them why they posted the negative review and if they decide to answer you, the two of you can try to reach a compromise. It is rare, but it can happen and when it does the person who wrote the review may offer to take it down.

The methods of reporting and reconciliation are the only other legitimate ways to remove an offending review but both of them are long shots. That is why reverse SEO is the best reputation management solution.

Let On The Map Marketing Manage Your Online Reputation

If you have a prominent negative review that you believe has a negative effect on your business, then we can help you. At On The Map Marketing, our comprehensive knowledge of SEO techniques can help you fix your reputation if it has been damaged by someone posting a negative review that receives a lot of attention. The longer the bad review remains prominent, the harder it is to use reverse SEO to push it down, so get in touch with us as soon as possible. 

In addition to using reverse SEO to push down the negative notice, we can also use regular SEO to boost your search engine rankings to fight the problem on two fronts. Don’t let a single bad review bring down the business that you have worked hard to build up. Contact us at On The Map Marketing and we will help to salvage and maintain your reputation so that negativity won’t dull its shine.

I started as a project manager at On The Map Marketing in 2015 and now run the day-to-day operations as the company’s chief executive officer. In the last few years, I have overseen thousands of successful SEO campaigns in numerous industries, including lawyers, contractors, E-commerce, and other markets. I am also a proud dad of three divas and take a keen interest in running and calisthenics.