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Whether you’re battling negative publicity or building an online brand reputation from scratch, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is an essential part of your strategy.
Good SEO launches your positive content to the top of Google search results. We all want that! The more top spots your brand occupies with positive content, the more remarkable things prospective customers see about your business.
All that positive content also helps push any harmful content about your business to page two and beyond—where few searchers ever bother to look.
Creating and executing a solid SEO strategy should be part of your overall reputation management program. It takes a lot of hard work to maintain good SEO, but we’ve got some tricks to help you get going.
Five Steps to Winning at SEO Reputation Management
Owning page one of Google results with positive content is the core goal of any SEO reputation management strategy. Customers feel your brand is trustworthy when your positive content ranks in all the top spots.
But what if your brand is suffering from some negative publicity? Good SEO helps push any negative information about your business deep into search results where nobody tends to look. Out of sight, out of mind.
However, this doesn’t happen by accident. It takes a coordinated plan. Here are five steps to take to make your efforts successful.
- Build Up Your Social Media Presence
- Optimize Your Website
- Make the Most of Google
- Create Content Across Multiple Channels
- Take Control of Your Personal Brand
We’ll walk you through each of these steps in just a moment.
The Easy Parts of SEO Reputation Management
Hit the ground running with your SEO reputation management program by going after the low-hanging fruit first. The lowest hanging of this fruit is social media—it’s easy to set up, popular with consumers, and helps round out your brand without a ton of effort.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and TikTok are the big ones to consider. Whether you set up profiles on all or only some of these channels will depend on the nature of your business.
However, you want to set up at least some, since social media pages tend to show up high in search results. Your social profiles are also where potential customers will go to find information about your brand and even leave reviews.
Right next to social media on that low tree branch is Google Alerts. Setting up alerts is easy to do and gives you nearly immediate notice when your business is mentioned on the web.
You can set your alert to deliver notifications weekly, daily, or as they happen. Finding out as soon as possible when your business is mentioned online gives you the best shot at dealing with negative information fast.
Of course, for anyone who wants to leave reputation repair to the professionals, there are countless services to help. One we think very highly of is WebiMax. They deliver proven and measurable results for clients in a broad range of industries.
WebiMax is an expert at helping businesses with reputation management and digital marketing efforts. WebiMax solutions are always customized for each client. The agency never takes a one-size-fits-all approach.
WebiMax also incorporates a non-disclosure agreement into every working relationship. This means nobody will ever know you’re using a third party for reputation management.
And WebiMax offers a free reputation analysis service to identify exactly what type of help your brand needs. They’ll create a timeline for reaching your goals, a summary of the existing positive and negative online content already out there, an analysis of your unclaimed online profiles, and a price quote.
The Difficult Parts of SEO Reputation Management
It’s one thing to set up your social profiles. It is quite another to effectively manage them day in and day out. While social channels are not directly SEO-related, they are favored by Google high in search results, which is where you want to be.
You need to manage your social channels appropriately to secure these coveted top spots. Effectively managing social channels is a full-time role for many businesses and requires a specialized skill set.
The same goes for SEO. Effectively incorporating it into your content is another big hurdle for many businesses. This includes optimizing your website, doing deep keyword research, creating content that incorporates those keyword results, monitoring performance, and publishing new, fresh content regularly—content that is reader-friendly and based on your keyword research. This is another specialized area that requires knowledge and experience to do well.
If all of this work sounds intimidating, you aren’t alone. Many businesses, especially those that lack in-house resources and expertise to tackle these tasks, seek out the help of SEO experts at online reputation management companies to assist with these important tasks.
A full-service company like WebiMax, can seamlessly manage all facets of SEO, including keyword research and analysis, content creation, and website optimization.
WebiMax is a complete digital marketing agency. Its team is experienced in handling all aspects of building and maintaining a rock-solid SEO strategy.
Step 1: Build Up Your Social Media Presence
If you think social media channels are just a fun way to connect with friends and find the cutest cat pictures, think again. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other popular channels are all powerful tools for building and maintaining your brand visibility.
Google combs social sites and displays results—usually at the top of the first page—when they find good content. If you don’t have your business profiled on all the social channels that make sense for your brand—and populate your channels with great content—you’re giving up an opportunity to show up in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Claim Your Social Media Pages
First things first, pick the social channels that make the most sense for your business. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are all great for almost every type of business, and you usually can’t go wrong with profiles on both.
Whether you leverage Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, and other channels depends on the nature of your business—and the type of content you plan to produce. We’ll talk more about content later.
Create your accounts and add as much information as possible on each. At a minimum, make it easy for potential customers to know how to contact you, find out when you’re open, and learn what products or services you offer.
Post On Social Media Regularly
Once your channels are up and running, you must start publishing on them. What you publish is up to you, but some ideas for building follower interaction is information about your products, industry-related news, and advertisements about specials or sales.
The point is to give your followers something to engage with and to gain new followers, too. If you set up a profile but do nothing with it, not many people will find you. The ones that do will quickly lose interest. Even worse is that your company will look inactive, giving the impression that you may not even be in business anymore. Yikes.
Engage With Your Followers
You’re posting great content regularly, and people are starting to like and comment on your posts. Congratulations! But don’t stop there. You also must engage with your followers to keep up momentum and interest.
Respond to comments. Ask follow-up questions. Thank them for taking the time to respond. The point is to create conversations with followers since these people may turn into customers. If followers feel like they’re commenting in a vacuum, they’ll lose interest. Eventually, they’ll disappear and likely show up on your competitor’s pages.
People will also look for your social media presence in order to leave reviews. Hopefully, all the reviews that are left on your social media channels will be glowing and positive. But sometimes, you’ll get a negative review. It’s part of running a business. Yet it is equally important to substantively respond to the negative stuff as the positive.
Readers will judge your business by how it deals with negative reviews. While you can’t get rid of the negative reviews, you can mitigate them by offering professional, problem-solving responses that show you genuinely care about customer satisfaction.
Don’t Forget About YouTube
Some people may not consider YouTube when developing a social media strategy. However, this would be a mistake. Google searches will include relevant videos with many types of searches.
If you have a type of business where you can create how-to videos or videos that showcase setting up your products, consider making them and uploading them to YouTube.
Maximizing the effectiveness of your YouTube videos in Google searches requires following some different steps than managing an SEO campaign on your website. To receive the largest benefit in Google searches from your YouTube videos, you may need to hire an online reputation company to help.
Step 2: Optimize Your Website
Here’s where the heavy lifting really starts. Unless you have an internal team of skilled website builders and SEO experts on hand, optimizing the pages of your website can be a daunting proposition. But it is an important element in your efforts to dominate the first page of Google search results.
It takes a team of professionals to make this work. If you don’t have one in-house, we highly recommend you enlist the help of a professional company like WebiMax. They’ll ensure your website is set up for Google search success.
As a digital marketing agency with vast experience in this realm, the WebiMax team will get your website built, optimized, and tested in no time.
As much as we might wish, it isn’t enough to simply sprinkle keywords across your entire site. You have to be strategic in your approach.
Why? Because in an effort to promote search result diversity, Google only allows up to two web pages from your site to display in any Google organic search results. So it pays to diversify your SEO strategy across your website and choose with care which keywords to use on each page.
Besides figuring out this kind of keyword strategy, there are other website elements you have to deal with, too. Things like load speed, internal and external linking, image size and quality, high-quality content, and a mobile-optimized browsing experience are just a few additional considerations you must consider.
Create a Logical Site Structure
Website structure is a key part of technical SEO that’s often overlooked. This refers to how the content across your website is organized.
Optimizing your site structure kills two birds with one stone, which is why it’s so important.
First, it enhances the user experience. If visitors can easily navigate from page to page through a logical hierarchy, it increases the time they spend on your website and reduces bounce rates. In turn, this is a good signal to Google.
Second, Google’s crawlers use your site structure to determine the most important pages of your website. So if an important page is buried or positioned somewhere that’s out of context, it likely won’t rank high in the SERPs.
Have a Local SEO Strategy
Local SEO is crucial for businesses with a local or region-specific presence. The purpose of this strategy is to get traffic and appear high in the SERPs when people search for “lawyer near me” or “dry cleaners in Seattle.”
When combined with reputation management, this helps ensure your business not only appears high in the SERPs but is also portrayed as a reputable and reliable solution to match the buyer’s search intent.
Step 3: Make the Most of Google
Like it or not, Google is a dominant force in SEO reputation management. While there are other viable search engines, like Bing or DuckDuckGo, the vast majority of consumers turn to Google when searching for information.
So ignore Google at your own peril.
Set Up Google Alerts
The first and easiest task when it comes to leveraging the power of Google is setting up Google Alerts. With just a few clicks you can create automatic alerts that notify you whenever your company appears on the internet.
There are a few settings to choose from, including how often to be alerted. We always suggest choosing as-it-happens, so you can address negative information as fast as possible.
Once you create your alert, you’ll start receiving emails at the interval you select. These messages will be a summary of the content where your business was mentioned along with a link to the source.
Create Your Google Business Profile
The next step is to create your free Google business profile. This helps people find your company when they’re doing general Google searches for topics related to your products or services. You can personalize your business profile with offers, specials, posts, images, and more.
You can set up your Google Business profile in just a few minutes. Once you do, your business will be eligible to appear high in Google search results.
Information about your business will also be readily available to interested consumers. They can quickly get in touch with you or learn more about your business in just a few clicks.
But the most important reason to spend time optimizing your Google business profile is that the more information you include, the more space it occupies on page one of the Google SERP.
Adding a Google business profile will get you to the top of page one, but filling it with great information will expand how much space your profile commands on the first page.
SEO reputation management is not a set-it-and-forget-it process. Even after you have everything set up, you still need to monitor your alerts and profiles to ensure everything is accurate and updated.
If you see something negative or inaccurate, you need to address it as soon as possible.
Respond to your reviews—both positive and negative. While critical reviews can be frustrating, they’re not the end of the world. Take the time to offer a prompt and thoughtful response that addresses the issue without making excuses or starting an argument.
Spin any criticism you receive and turn it into a positive. Whether or not you can solve the issue isn’t the primary motive here. What’s important is making sure that other people reading the review and your response can clearly see that you care about your customers.
We have a complete guide on responding to negative reviews that you can use as a resource.
Vigilance will help you stay on top of your SEO reputation management, so people who search for your business on Google will see as many positive remarks as possible. Having positive search results as your top hits will ultimately bring in more business.
Step 4: Create Content Across Multiple Channels
Finally, all the SEO strategies in the world won’t help you dominate page one of Google’s SERP unless you incorporate those well-researched keywords into killer content.
Blog posts. Press releases. News articles. Social media posts. All forms of written content are valuable parts of moving up in Google search rankings.
The secret to making this happen is incorporating well-researched keywords into your copy. Check out the best keyword research tools for more guidance on this strategy.
You can do it yourself, hire an employee to do it for you, or rely on freelancers to help. You can also turn to a professional online reputation manager like WebiMax to help you craft effective written content.
Create Guest Posts
Guest posting is an often overlooked strategy for SEO reputation management. But this is one of our favorite link-building strategies for SEO.
This approach involves creating content that won’t be directly published on your own website or channels. Instead, you’ll write valuable blogs, articles, guides, or other content and publish it on third-party sites.
This works really well for SEO reputation management because of the backlink opportunities. Guest post opportunities typically allow the writer to share a link to their own site. Depending on the site, the links will be within the body of the content or in the author bio.
Backlinks play a significant role in Google’s algorithm. If many reputable sites are linking to your site, then it’s a good assumption that your site is also reputable.
When you’re looking for guest posting opportunities, there are two main factors you consider—domain authority and relevance.
Writing content for brand new sites with a low domain authority score won’t really move the needle for your website in terms of SEO. The sites you write content for should also be closely related to your brand and industry. For example, a backlink from Forbes or Bloomberg will be better for brands in the business world than a backlink from TMZ or People Magazine.
Instead of creating content for any site that accepts it, try to be more discerning and focus on established sites that will benefit your brand.
Make Video a Priority
You can’t stop with written content.
In today’s visual world, video is equally as important. This is especially true since Google started putting an enhanced value on video content. While we can’t know Google’s exact algorithms (we’d be gazillionaires if we could), we do know that the higher the video view numbers, the higher the video tends to place in Google search results.
Keep your videos short—five minutes or less is good, edit them with high-quality video editing tools, make the content informative, and optimize video titles and descriptions with well-researched keywords. Together these tactics will help you create great video content that Google loves.
Again, if this is too much on your plate or you simply lack the resources to create great video content, a full-service digital marketing agency like WebiMax can help you.
Step 5: Take Control of Your Personal Brand
Most of what we’ve focused on so far involves SEO reputation management for your business. But your personal branding strategy can be equally important. Here’s why.
If someone searches for your name and negative results or news stories appear, then it can adversely affect your business—especially if your company is named in the article. This holds true for business owners, executives, and all high-level positions within an organization.
So you need to make a conscious effort to control your personal brand within the SERPs.
Take Professional Photos
It’s common for old photos to appear in search results when people search for someone’s name. This isn’t always a good thing for your professional brand image.
If you’re still tagged in Facebook photos from your college partying days, it’s time to finally untag yourself and get some professional-grade headshots instead.
You may even want to consider creating a personal website for yourself (www.yourname.com) with a quick bio and links to your socials. This is another opportunity for you to control your own narrative and say things about your business on another channel.
But the main goal here is to ensure that you have a professional perception when you’re searched for on the web, and a quality picture helps portray that image.
Eliminate or Suppress Negative Stories
Don’t let your past haunt you. While it may have happened five or ten years ago, news articles can still rank high in the SERPs.
This means that a prospective customer or partner can find out about an old arrest or embarrassing part of your history through a simple name search on Google.
But there are certain steps you can take to remove news articles from the internet.
- Reach out directly to the publication and ask them to remove it (or remove your name)
- Ask Google to remove it
- Suppress the story by getting new content to outrank it
This can be a tricky process. So if you need some help, working with an online reputation management company like WebiMax will make your life much easier.