New research finds that 80 of the 100 biggest listed companies in the UK have negative content about them on their Google page 1 search results, and many of them are failing to address the issue.

The Grayling Online Reputation Report 2018 says 75 million people search for FTSE 100 companies, and 54% of them will see negative content on page 1 of the Google search results – which loses them up to 15 million leads every month.

Poor financial performance, or lack of business confidence, make up the most negative stories (41%), followed by poor products or services (22%) and unethical behaviour (17%), with gender and diversity issues (2%) also having a negative impact on how companies are viewed.

The research findings estimate that each FTSE 100 company is losing an average of 16% of website visitors due to the negative online content, that’s up to 15 million potential customers, investors and employees.

It finds that 39% of the negative content is more than six months old and 22% over 12 months old.

Companies in the financial services, media and consumer goods sector are most impacted by negative Google page 1 search results.

Simon Wadsworth, Managing Partner at Igniyte says: “Just 15 of the 100 FTSE 100 companies have ‘claimed’ their company on Google My Business to make sure accurate information appears in their ‘Knowledge Panel’ – too – meaning 85 of these companies do not have control over what is sourced about them from around the Internet, but Google does.

“This research shows what people find when they search for the UK’s top companies, and clearly evidence that negative results found in a Google page 1 search result impacts FTSE 100 companies’ reputation, deterring would-be customers, investors and employees.

“This can be further compounded when companies fail to address negative content in a timely and professional manner and this in itself can augment further negative content.

This is why it’s so essential that reputation management influences communications strategy. Search-focused reputation management reduces the volume and impact of negative content in Google search results, and across the internet, and enables companies and brands to take control of the online narrative about their business – and their reputation.”

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