Ripoff Report (ROR) has seen its Google ranking decline in recent months, but a ROR complaint can still hurt your company. If your firm has a complaint against it on ROR, you’ll want to understand what you can do about it. Keep the information below in mind, so you know what to do if your business appears on Ripoff Report.
Ripoff Report is a ‘review website.’ The problem with it is that any anonymous individual can post a review or complaint there. As a business owner, you have few options to fight the claim. A few years ago, ROR claims would show up high in Google rankings for any company unfortunate enough to be listed on the site.
Unlike other review sites such as Yelp, ROR only releases terrible reviews, rather than good and bad ones. There are no terms of service or ways to dispute a negative review. You can’t get a lousy review taken off even if it’s fake or libelous. It’s an unpleasant website to find your company on, and dealing with it is challenging.
The site has a ‘rebuttal’ option that allows the company owner to post a rebuttal. Unfortunately, posting a response can make the bad review MORE visible on Google. The website also has a VIP arbitration feature that you pay $2,000 for, but there’s no guarantee that arbitration will be successful. And forget suing ROR – it’s been to court many times and always is protected by the Federal Communications Decency Act.
But all’s not lost. There are some actions that you can take to mitigate the damage of ROR:
You need to hire a good SEO company to deal with negative search results via an online reputation management (ORM) SEO campaign. You can’t get the firm to take off the review. But an SEO company can use link building and blogger outreach to push high-authority, positive content about your site. You can probably bury the bad review to page two and lower with some work.
Potential customers might still find the negative review, but few people look beyond page 2 on google, so its impact will be lessened. Many reputable SEO companies specialize in this type of work, but they are costly.
When performing online reputation management, an SEO agency will use high-profile link building campaigns to bolster other websites that make reference to your brand to push them above the negative Ripoff Report in the SERPs, including pages like:
Such a campaign is typically not cheap, but can help to decrease the number of people who see your negative review.
If you can show in state court that ROR published untrue or defamatory something, Google may delist the page from search. The search engine doesn’t charge anything for this service, but you’ll have to pay hefty legal fees.
Also, Ripoff Report likes to move the bad review to another URL, which will recreate the problem. Getting a court order can work, but you’ll need to regularly watch your search results to see if the bad review is showing up again. Then, you’ll have to contact Google again.
The option of last resort is to simply rebrand your website and business altogether. Because Ripoff Reports are generally tied to your company name and tend to operate like clickbait, they can not only rank high, but can be difficult to push down in the SERPs.
Consequently, sometimes a complete company rebrand may be your best option. Changing your brand can have so many other big and negative implications, that this options should be used very infrequently, especially if your website and brand have a lot of online authority.
If you ultimately determine a rebranding has more positive than negative implications, it may be a good option of last resort, provided your perform SEO best practices in things like SEO-friendly 301 redirects and changes to your social profiles.
Experts say if you have the money, you should try both avenues at once. Bury the lousy report as much as you can as you go to litigate for a court order. Next, get the bad review delisted after you get it. If the lousy report shows up again, you’ll need to bury the new URL again and ask Google to delist one more time.
Fortunately, there is evidence in Google search that Ripoff Report pages don’t show up as high in rankings anymore. Some hope that the search engine will develop a more advanced page removal system that can’t be evaded as easily.
There IS hope, but many company owners only have limited ways to fight ROR. And even if you CAN get the review delisted or buried, it’s going to cost you.