SEO should start wherever the SEO professional feels that the client needs to improve their image on the Internet. There are times when you find clients that have had public affairs that they prefer to keep private, but just don’t on the forums and UseNets. So, in a sense you want to “bury” this negative PR. Even though it’s totally your risk to discuss further with the client the fine details of a bad day at their office that managed to get into searches somehow, its really not recommended. If you know about posts like this, research them yourself and come to your own conclusions. Sometimes, the people on the Internet may keep posts like this alive for any reason, so be prepared to take a working step several times to hide negative PR.
For Google, the only way to get ahead of bad news is to find news is to use similar channels that were used to add the bad news to begin with and put good news in it’s place. Relevancy is a big part of how Google works, even if you are the only person reading the search. If an article is relevant, new (or at least new to the URL), and sticks around for a pretty decent amount of time, Google will add it if it can be seen on a public network.
There are bigger problems that you can run into, even in the very beginning. Google generally doesn’t always work as a magic genie. You can’t just make Google do exactly what you want if their search engine already has a cache of what you’re trying to optimize. Even inside Google Webmaster Tools under Overview, you should have a place to show where Googlebot last came to your site.
Usually when you know when Googlebot will come, it makes for better planning. You can have a serious amount of traffic and Googlebot may not actually rescan your site for another month if Google thinks that statistically you shouldn’t have a good amount of traffic. This also indicates Google Cache and Site maps. The good thing also about bad PR is that if you have verified your site, you can remove things from Google’s cache after actually bothering with a removal submission.
Try starting also with maybe doing a Site map. Later, I’ll do a great article about GSiteCrawler, which is a really easy way of getting a site map created for your website.