So long Webster and my know-it-all neighbor – we had a great run, but now I have Google!
As the search engine that’s taken over every inquiry, Google is the go-to when it comes to the unknown. It’s become commonplace for users to research everything online, from potential purchases to ancestry, and for the most part, the information provided is trusted. So what happens when it’s harming your business?
If anything negative results when you type in your business name or associated terms, you need to incorporate reputation management into your marketing strategy. As the majority of consumers will first search for your products or services online, you will lose valuable customers and opportunities by not monitoring your digital reputation.
The reputation management SEO strategy is a matter of understanding brand publicity and influence. Not limited to false information, reputation management works to suppress any bad reviews, negative press or competitor harassment – often factors out of your control.
“85% of companies will face a crisis that negatively impacts their brand during the next five years,” according to Oxford-Metrica.
By organically pushing positive or neutral content up, reputation management subsequently moves less desirable content down in search engine results, enabling you to better improve perception of your company. Tools for managing negative SEO include keyword optimization, existing and new content creation, and link building.
Keyword optimization focuses on all words and phrases that could possibly link to you. The main objective is to have positive results when any of your products or services are searched. Internal content should be the first aspect examined, as it is a direct reflection of your brand.
The quality of your site content, as well as comments and reviews, should be carefully crafted. Before blaming anything else, ensure you are putting out the best. This requires optimizing both existing content, as well as creating new content that will positively set up your company in the future.
Then, take a look at outside links and other negative influences. If a site is posting blatantly false content surrounding your brand, ask them to take it down. In other cases, you just have to create positivity to push down the negativity; this can be done by way of blogging and linking from sites out of your domain. Also, avoid free-for-all sites like Wikipedia.
Search Engine Watch credits link building as a crucial part of an overall SEO strategy. Keeping your information fresh is crucial, along with updating company pages and participating in current conversations. This is where the concept of white hat vs. black hat linking becomes especially relevant. Read more on this subject here.