A study has shown sixty financial institutions in the city have such a negative internet image that they are at risk of not only losing custom, but potentially of going out of business.

Breaches in regulations, negative news stories, customer reviews and financial penalties mean many companies all over the UK suffer from having critical stories about their business featured on the first page of online search engine.

After London came businesses based in Glasgow, then Manchester with those in Nottingham and Reading following.

The study mapped 429 of the worst affected companies throughout the UK and then tracked which areas in the country had the most problems. 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 remain 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.

Worst online reputation

  1. City Of London “Square Mile”
    2. West London
    3. Glasgow
    4. Manchester
    5. Nottingham
    6. Reading
    7. Edinburgh
    8. NW London
    9. Birmingham
    10. Bristol

Best online reputation

  1. Newcastle
    2. Belfast
    3. Leeds
    4. Bradford
    5. Oxford
    6. Ipswich
    7. Swindon
    8. Cambridge
    9. Guildford
    10. Peterborough