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The Google Landfill: How to Bury Your Trash in 3 Easy Steps
By: Victoria Hoey
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Are too many illegitimate children ruining your political career? Have you accidently spilled 400 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, but would rather call it 200 million gallons? Need to start a grassroots campaign on the dangers of grassroots campaigns? Here’s how.

It comes as no surprise, to most of us, that the Internet is a vapid, self-aggrandizing collection of half-truths and one-hundred-percent perceptions. We all know that how you or your company is represented on the Internet affects your bottom line. End of story, or the beginning of a very lucrative career? Welcome to the new SEO, “Selling Established Opinions.”  These three, perfectly legitimate, PR techniques are being used by black-hat companies to manipulate Google’s search engine optimization for profit.

1) Snipe the Media Mavens and Rationalize
Figure out who is leading activist groups and spreading unfavorable information, then discredit them. This can be done either with facts or with privately funded “ginger groups” that try to start ideological battles and act as a catalyst to sway public viewpoints.

2) Popularize the Good/Hide the Bad
As ReputationChanger.org explains it, “Google recognizes firmly established websites first, so anything that is posted on a social networking site, a large article base, or a press release distribution site will be recognized quickly and will be put at the top of Google’s search results, i.e. on the front page.” So, paid professional writers compose press releases, positive articles, and social media profiles that are submitted to the biggest websites on the Internet. This technique is perfectly acceptable, but doesn’t quite feel on the level. Especially since the main goal is to bury negative articles and comments to the back recesses of Google’s results pages regardless of their validity

3. Doctoring Wikipedia
It is common knowledge that Wiki articles need to have a neutral view. What is not common knowledge is why some companies have a "Controversies" section on their wiki and others do not. Case in point, Starbucks (has a controversy section). The oil company BP (does not).

There most certainly are valid cases where companies have been slandered by competitors or unfairly accosted by irate consumers and there are many more PR companies who adorn “white hats” than those who choose “black hats.” But searching for an unfavorable review of a “Favorable Review Company” is impossible. There is no simple way to solve this conundrum, but next time you are searching around online, remember: sometimes WHO paid to be at the top of Google may not be as important as WHAT was paid to be at the bottom.

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About the Author
Victoria Hoey is a recent graduate with degrees in copywriting and advertising.
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