Nathan Barker, technical director of London-based Reputation 24/7 said: “Any potential employee, customer, supplier who conducts a search for that business will be presented with negative information about that business. The first thing we all do is Google a business or individual, either for a telephone number, address or to actually make a purchase.
“Companies often don’t realise how much they can be harmed by their online reputation. But people are tweeting and blogging and republishing news and reviews online more than ever before and once something is said on the internet – no matter how unfair – it can often be very hard to remove it. Contrary to popular opinion it doesn’t fade away but remains indefinitely. ”
“Ninety per cent of internet users do not look beyond the 1st page of Google results, their perception of that business is what they find when entering their name. Therefore a negative perception affects not only sales but can cripple a business of money and fresh new talent. “
Completing the top ten areas where businesses had the worst online presence were Edinburgh, North West London, Birmingham and Bristol. In contrast the area where businesses had the most positive online profile was Newcastle. Here just 0.01% per cent of businesses had negative coverage on the internet. Companies in Belfast, Leeds and Bradford also benefited from having the edge when it came to a clean online footprint.
“We are online specialists who can change what appears in Google, work out how to control the digital PR side of their company," says Barker. "By managing the reputation of the company we directly improve the reputation and therefore the revenues of a business."