Within the Internet marketing community, there is an unverified rumor that Google likes to index and display pieces of “bad news” faster than it does regular search results. In other words, while it might take weeks or months for them to notice the new products and services you’ve added, a bad review or comment from a dissatisfied customer is likely to show up almost immediately.

So, does Google really love to spread bad news?

There isn’t any set answer, but on a certain level it would make sense. Google’s first mission is to ensure top search results. If they can display something that helps the searcher make a better decision (or in this case, keeps them from making a big mistake), then they’ve done that person a service and are likely to keep them coming back in the future.

On the other hand, it’s just as likely that bad news about your company stands out to you and affects your business in a bigger way. In other words, maybe it just seems like Google wants to say bad things about your company because you’re paying closer attention.

In the end, the real answer isn’t very important – having something negative about you or your business listed prominently on Google is never going to be a good thing. With that in mind, here are a few steps you can take to fix things immediately:

  • Monitor your online reputation frequently, especially on Google and social media sites, to ensure that there aren’t any bad reviews or negative pieces of information to be found.
  • If you do spot something that can be harmful for your business, trace it back to the source. Who is giving out the information, and why?
  • Check the accuracy of all the details listed before you respond. The last thing you want to do is make things worse by disputing something that turns out to be true.
  • Once you’re sure you understand the situation, be prepared to dispute it, or at least respond publicly. Avoid name-calling or being overly emotional; simply give your company’s side of the story.
  • If it’s obvious that the review or information isn’t true, or goes too far, make a request to the webmaster (or Google itself) to have it removed. You’d be surprised how often this works.

It’s ironic, given how much time and attention companies pay to their Google rankings, that one small piece of bad news can cause so much commotion. But, keep an eye on your online reputation, clear up any blemishes quickly, and you should be fine. Then you can go back to wondering how quickly Google will index all your other pages!