Online reputation management becomes vital when a potential customer searches for your company on a search engine only to find websites with negative information. There are many scenarios that would cause this to happen but it typically happens on review sites like Yelp, Epinion or Angie’s List. It could also be on someone’s personal blog or forum or there could even be an entire site dedicated to your demise like PayPalSucks.com. Either way it’s not good and can be very damaging and financially devastating to your organization. I know without a shadow of a doubt when I have a bad experience I tell a lot more people then when I have a good one. I’m sure it goes the same statistically across the board. The problem with a website telling about a bad experience is that it reaches thousands and thousands of people. This can potentially cause one little issue that may not have been handled properly make a company look like crooks.
With that being said, most businesses don’t have any problem getting their corporate website to the number one position on Bing, Google, and Yahoo. The problem comes about when negative content dominates the rest of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) as well. Even just showing up in one or two positions anywhere on the page can be harmful. In these types of situations businesses require online reputation management to salvage their good name, increase traffic and visibility of their brand.
I’m not going to tell you this is going to be easy. It’s going to take some learning, time, and patience for it to happen, but it’s much better than the alternative. Imagine the search results page as a piece of virtual real estate your company needs to acquire. It’s going to take a lot of planning and time to develop your real estate. But if you don’t own your real estate, it will own you.
Build up your company’s presence on the SERPs in a positive manner while pushing the negative content below the fold, or the part of the page not seen when the results are returned in your browser. There are many ways to accomplish this but I believe the best way is by using social media, one page blog posts, and establishing relationships with press contacts.
Your strategy should be to reduce all negative results so they no longer show up on the top of the search engine results or the first page at all!
Here are the steps to accomplish this goal.
1. Create and promote your company’s profile on several authoritative social media websites.
2. Create a Wikipedia entry for your business.
3. Create several one page blog posts for your company’s products and services (similar to PPC landing pages).
4. Contact the press; bloggers, reporters, or journalists that could potentially write positive articles or stories about your organization.
5. Promote your low ranked results on the SERPs by creating links to them from the social media profile pages created in step 1 & interlinking your social profiles, one page blog posts, and articles written about your company.
All profiles should at least include the following details:
1. Your business name.
2. Link to your company’s website or blog.
3. If the option is there, add a short company bio. It should be detailed and include links if possible.
There are many authoritative social networks that you can setup profiles with. This is a short list of sites I recommend that are crawled and updated often:
1. Twitter – A must. You absolutely need a Twitter account with your website link in your profile. If you are active (and there are ways to automate this), this will show up before your company in some cases.
2. Flickr – This site is very powerful. Getting a link on here is as good as gold. You can add HTML to the description; put a text link with your top keyword phrase here to your website.
3. Facebook Page – Set up a Facebook Page for your business. Add links, video, pictures and then invite everyone you know and all your former and current customers. Having an active page will hit the search engines quick.
4. Meetup – I don’t know why or how, but if you create a Meetup group it will show up on the search engines fairly quickly.
5. LinkedIn – Another important one. Create a group of all your customers. Be active.
All these websites will show up quickly in the search engines provided you build up your profiles. Spend some serious time adding friends and requesting the same and these websites will show up on the search engines and dominate the real estate on the SERPs.
Create an entry on Wikipedia for your business and link to it and from it.
One Page Blog Posts
Go to the following websites and create blogs for your business. After you’ve created the blogs write a unique post on each blog about your products or services and the benefits of buying them. You could write about a particular customer’s experience, how your product or service positively affected someone’s life, or just a description of what your products or services are. The key here is to make sure you don’t replicate the work and write something worth reading. Write a unique article on each site. Inside your blog post make sure to link to the social media profiles you have created in step 1 and your company website with anchor text.
Blogger and LiveJournal use search engine friendly URL’s, but Blogger includes the page title separated by dashes. Because of this, Blogger may be a better blogging platform choice over LiveJournal if you have to choose between the two. WordPress and Tumblr are constantly spidered and provide a quick way to get links to show up on the search engines.
Identify bloggers, reporters from newspapers, journalists or any other areas of the internet where there are writers that could potentially write something positive about your business. Initiate a relationship with them by re-tweeting their tweets, commenting on their blog posts, and writing them emails expressing how much some of their articles affected you. Add a link to their website or blog to your website. After you’ve worked the relationship for a week or so and established yourself as someone with more than just an email address, send them an email describing a new product, service, or something big that is happening at your company and ask them to write about it. Make the email short and concise, don’t ramble or it won’t get read. A good place to find bloggers is Technorati, and a great place to find reporters is Journalism.net.
Start linking between the social media profiles, one page blog posts, and any positive reviews you’ve obtained using anchor text where you can. Anchor text is a hyperlink with your company’s name or top keyword phrase. The blogs that you create are a great resource for building high quality links because they are crawled regularly and will show up fast on the search engines. They also direct users and the search engines to other sites (social media) that rank well for your company’s top keyword phrases. Link to the articles that you have written from the bloggers, reporters, and journalists you have contacted as well.
Interlinking between these websites is the key strategy to making this effort successful. The linking should include:
1. Links from your social media profiles to your one page blog posts.
2. Links from your one page blog posts to your social media profiles.
3. Link to / from your Wikipedia company post and your company’s website.
4. Links from your social media profiles to press articles.
5. Links from your one page blog posts to your press articles.
6. Links from your press articles to your company website.
Online reputation management is a vital part of your organization’s long term marketing plan and essential to owning the most precious real estate on the SERPs. If you want to get rid of the negative information about your company it’s going to take time and effort. Even if there is no negative information on the SERP’s, you should practice the methods I laid out on a regular basis. It is an excellent way to prevent the situation I described above to ever happen to begin with. This method can yield results as fast as two weeks if you are dedicated to it. If you are not getting the results you desire, contact Vizion Interactive and we will be glad to assist you in your efforts.