Question:

I started a business and I used my last name as part of the business name. I was recently arrested and now when somebody tries to find information about my business, they find my mugshot instead.
Will creating a website for my business help?

The quick and easy answer to this is yes, but the best way to beat a problem is to really understand the problem, and the strategy you are implementing to overcome it.

Accepting the Search Engines

Search engines are going to show relevant results and fresh content. In the time span of days or weeks, the mugshots are going to show in the results. That’s the bad news. The good news is that with some time invested, you can provide search engines with newer, fresher content. In the time frame of a few months to a year you can bury those results.

While not being able to purge them immediately is understandably discouraging, not investing that time will just ensure those results stick, the increased time it’s up gives more people the ability to see the mugshots, and it will still take time to remove them. The best action is immediate action.

Ok, so what can you do?

In a situation like this, you want to utilize two things that work hand in hand.

  1. Reputation management
  2. Reverse SEO (search engine optimization)

Reputation Management

Reputation management is simply that; managing your reputation online. In order to get rid of those mugshots, you must give search engines something to replace it with. You don’t want people to find the mugshots and think you’re a criminal. That’s a bad reputation. So, what do you want them to think? What reputation do you want to give search engines to display about you?

This goes back to your business. You want your reputation to be that you’re an expert in your field and that you have products or services to offer people. You’re a painter, artist, carpenter. Whatever it is, you want to keep telling search engines, “Hey! This is me!”

Reverse SEO

Reverse SEO is basically trying to suppress negative search results by using techniques that marketers usually use to push websites up the search engine ranks. Think of it like this, SEO pushes you up the ranks, reverse SEO pushes them down the ranks.

Having your result be number one is not what’s going to get the job done, but rather we need their results to not show at all. The way to accomplish this is to create multiple images and content that rank above the negative results. There are about 10 results on page one of Google. On one hand this should show that we just need to get enough content ranked to push them to the pages of search engines that people rarely look at like pages 2 or 3 (think about when the last time you did a Google search and needed to navigate past the first page). On the other hand, hopefully having to invest a little bit of time is starting to make sense. Plus, a good steady flow of content is better than a barrage of content that abruptly stops after a short period of time.

The websites that contain your mugshots are wanting to show up that they have this type of information (mugshots, arrest records), but they are not trying to market your specific information. This information gets older and, like stated before, search engines like fresh, relevant content. Now that we’ve found a hole in their image results (stagnant and eventually outdated content) we’ll use that to our advantage.

With that in mind let’s get back to the question of will a website work, and talk about how to use it to outrank these negative search results.

The Strategy

Creating a website with quality images of yourself is a great start. Google wants to show quality results in its searches of course. Considering that we’re trying to create as much content as possible, implementing a website for your business and a personal website would be a strong choice. Buying a domain name utilizing your name is another strong approach to take.
Considering your business has your last name and you may use your business name, something like John Doe Painting, then create your personal page using strictly your legal name. (www.johndoe.com)

Make sure to incorporate text with the exact name that pulls up your mugshot. You want to do this in a flowing way though. Never write content that caters to search engines, but rather to your readers.

When you add images to your website, add alt text and image descriptions to each one (“Joseph Smith painting city hall”, for example). In a WordPress site, it’s quite simple. Pull up your images through the media link and there are boxes for each image that you can fill out. If the site is being coded by a web developer, they should be able to make sure these types of things are done for you.

Once your website is up and running, another helpful trick is to create new social media accounts. Post pictures to them on a regular basis and link to these accounts on your website and vice-versa. Add your business to already existing pages like yellowpages.com and superpages.com, etc. Again, we’re flooding Google with fresh content and images.

If you really want to dominate, you could even start a blog on your website. Talk about the things that you think customers should know before buying. Discuss how you price jobs. Then tie all these channels together. Write your blog, share it on Facebook. Upload the images related to it to Instagram.

Now you have several avenues all working together pumping out consistent and fresh content. This is a sure-fire way to make sure those images get buried and never resurface.