It doesn't take long in this business until someone freaks out about something negative on the first page of Google related to their name or business. This is, unfortunately, the natural course of business. People will be critical. People will say things you don't like sometimes. And sometimes, that nasty blog post or negative review will end up on page 1 of Google. We get these calls from our SEO resellers from time-to-time, as well as from direct clients.
So what can be done?
Well, first of all, you CAN'T call Google and ask them to remove the bad news you don't like. That's just not how they work. Some SEO resellers have actually asked for this. Google tries to stay neutral on these issues unless a law is being broken. After all, they want to "do no evil." But that doesn't mean there is nothing you can do.
Think about the entire way Google works. A link is a vote, right? So someone out there is voting for these negative reviews or blog posts that you don't like. Well mobilize your troops and start voting for the ones you like. Just like democracy, you can overcome this obstacle with a grass-roots SEO effort.
I know - That analogy was stretched a little too far. Many of our SEO resellers don't get it either. Let me be more plain. Most people think of SEO as something you do to your own website. But there is no reason whatsoever you can't link to reviews you find that are favorable. In fact, Google actively encourages us to link to thinks on the Internet that are relevant and we like. As a result, when confronted with negative press on page 1, you can actually do SEO for other people's positive reviews in an effort to make those positive posts rank higher than the negative stuff. Eventually, with enough effort, you can push the unfavorable content right off page 1 of Google altogether.
This is the essence of applying SEO to reputation management. It is not the traditional definition. Furthermore, it turns the SEO process a little upside-down, because you are link-building for someone else's site in the end. But as you think it through, you'll realize that it is completely in-line with what Google would call white-hat, appropriate SEO. You are not fabricating or misrepresenting anything. You are just linking (aka voting) for things you like on the Internet.