Case studies

/ Millionaire entrepreneur who went bankrupt:

A millionaire entrepreneur came to us because his reputation was being severely damaged by national press articles about his bankruptcy, despite the fact that he was successfully discharged more than six years ago.

Half of the whole first front page of Google was full of negative articles. People who knew him and even his institutional investors were not concerned by the coverage, but he felt that anyone ‘new’ including journalists, social contacts and lay investors were being unfairly influenced by the articles. This made him feel very uncomfortable.

/ / The repair:

We attacked the bad search results. Many were removed; but because the entrepreneur’s bankruptcy had been so high profile there were many very long-standing, entrenched national newspaper articles. That meant we needed to use a variety of other methods to push down the content including creating a new personal blog, an active new Twitter account and a series of articles published in industry magazines and national newspapers. We also set up a series of ongoing one-to-one interviews with national press journalists and created a podcast series on which he interviews fellow entrepreneurs about their businesses.

/ The result:

In fewer than three months, the negative content had been removed from the first page on Google. The new collateral that we had created for him was all returned on the front page instead.

/ Consultant censured by her professional organisation:

A highly regarded senior medical specialist was censured by her professional body which led to personal embarrassment and a loss of business.

Despite a long and unblemished career with thousands of successful operations under her belt, one mistake meant that the search results continually returned content about this isolated episode – which, sadly, meant that people were judging her by this incident alone. She found the content very stressful and asked us to tackle these results so she could move on professionally and personally.

/ / The repair:

After analysis we found that her current business collateral was underperforming in terms of SEO potential. This is a common problem. We tackled it by rewriting and using SEO techniques, as well as ensuring it was linked within the correct channels. This pushed her existing content onto the first page. As the majority of negative content was on blogs and social media sites, we worked through it on a case-by-case basis. We tackled it in a variety of ways including reporting technical errors on malicious blogs to their ISP. We approached minor infringers directly in a friendly way to ensure that the content was removed or corrected. Where necessary, appropriate and proportionate, we threatened legal action against bloggers and also their ISPs; which we could have taken on her behalf had it become necessary. We backed up this work with a series of blog posts on the client’s existing website and set up interviews with health sector journalists.

/ The result:

Within three months, much of the negative content had been taken down. Within four months, the existing content focusing on positive aspects of her business and specialist work had replaced all but one of the negative pieces of content. The sole remaining negative link dropped to page two within six months.

/ Senior journalist involved in court case:

A senior journalist was dragged into a high-profile court case leading him to be linked in search results to the criminal activity of the defendant.

This press coverage threatened to damage his reputation forever. The journalist was afraid that the content would severely affect his long-term career and earnings potential. He asked us to repair the damage and restore his reputation as quickly as possible – before he lost his job.

/ / The repair:

In a wide-ranging research exercise, we identified all the defamatory or misleading content and asked that Google remove it – most of which they did. As Google’s search auto-complete drop-box also linked the journalist’s name with that of the defendant, suggesting searches relating to the trial, we tackled this quickly and decoupled the two names so that the journalist was only linked with his own work and job successes. At the same time we wrote a series of articles setting the record straight. These were published in quick succession in the online media with one in the national press. We ramped up his Twitter activity and used this to highlight and spread the articles.

/ The result:

Within three months, there was no negative content on the first two pages of Google. The journalist’s online reputation was restored.

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