Was your brands reputation tarnished online? Are you perhaps concerned it might be tarnished one day? For many business owners having their business name tarnished is no less than a personal affront, it hurts… We believe in sharing the knowledge, so we are going to have a series of posts on how to properly manage your online reputation. Let’s start from basics, as an old adage states “The best defense is a good offense”.
Get a head start
With every update in the Google Search Algorithm many things change. Most recent update of Penguin 4.0 was a major update, but as Google themselves declare in their blog post their “core algorithm” relies on over 200 clues / signals. And while we will never know what is the exact formula, there are couple of constants that don’t change and are assumed to be weighted heavily in the serp ranking. One of them, being the age of the domain, and the history of particular website.
So it’s very important to get a head start, don’t wait until there is a negative story or review that occupies one of the results on the first page of search results, make sure you “own” the first 10 results when someone searches for you company name. This is not an easy task but is doable, but if you wait until there is a negative result on there the job becomes 10 times harder.
Lets see how we can get 10 positive / neutral results onto the first page of Google search.
Results #1 and #2 (potentially even more if you play your cards correctly) – A must!
The first result, should be your corporate website (if it’s not you are really in trouble). One of our clients got the first 8 results to be all fully owned by him 4 from main corporate website, 2 from a charity website owned by the corporation and further 2 were from the testimonial website that we created by breaking them away into a separate website. This is rare, it took a lot of work to achieve this result, and i am not going to be surprised if eventually google decides to only show one result per domain… To put this in perspective, when this client came to us, only the first result was his corporate website, results 2 – 11 were all negative!
Potential result #3 – 6
For many of my clients the results 3 to 6 are their social media profiles, namely:
While many businesses have created a business social media pages, majority don’t optimize them or even worse allow their pages to be hijacked by negative reviews and becoming a negative search result without even realizing. I have seen business pages that have been created years ago, but have not had an update posted since, furthermore they have negative reviews/ comments but didn’t bother to acknowledge them and try to fix the situation. Many a time a negative review can be reversed into a neutral or a positive by simply reaching out to the client, apologizing and trying to find a solution.
Potential result #7 – 9
You should get verified profiles on most popular job boards and employer review sites, they tend to rank very well. Here are some of them:
To get the best result from these sites make sure to post you next job opening on there, they might even help you find your next employee. And next time you give a raise to one of your top employees ask them to leave a review on one these sites.
Potential result #10
Get Accredited by the Better Business Bureau. Here are the benefits:
you potentially have the 10th positive result
you can now advertise that you are BBB accredited and use their logo
If an unhappy customer searches for you company name online and sees your profile on BBB they might decide to contact you through BBB rather than just slander you or your business on RipoffReporting, Redflagdeals or some similar forum.
Mission Accomplished! Or is it?
To be safe and to get potentially even more positive results, i will give you some more ideas:
If you or your business is notable make sure your business has a Wikipedia page, they are virtually guaranteed to go on page 1 of search result, but aside of it google fetches the info from the wikipedia page to generate the business profile box. Note of caution: if you are not a seasoned Wikipedia Editor, don’t attempt to do this yourself, as you can do a lot of harm if not done correctly.
If you don’t yet qualify as notable for Wikipedia guidelines, now might be the best time start working on that. Here is what you can do:
Contact reporters who write about your field of expertise and ask them to use you as an expert source.
Get a profile article in your local newspaper.
Hire a writer who has experience and past accepted articles in Huffington Post
Last but not the least, while few of us still use physical phone directories, Yellow Pages listing online still ranks high for many businesses so make sure you are listed and that the listing is complete and correct.
Like what you read, don’t be shy, leave a comment and of course don’t forget to share!
* update *
After posting the above post we have found an article which makes a similar point, cleverly named: “Why Online Reputation Management Is Like Brushing Your Teeth”.