7 Keys to Reputation and Brand Management

August 30, 2011

Are you thinking about using reputation and brand management as part of your Internet marketing strategy? If you are, it’s probably because you’ve googled your company name or your personal brand name and found negative content on the first page of the search results. And you might be wondering, “should I use reputation management to push negative content off the first page of Google?”

Yes. There’s a reason why reputation and brand management is a popular online marketing tactic: there are so many eccentric former customers or shady competitors who can easily post negative stuff about your business online. And since sensationalism is almost always a winner, negative content is likely to be read, shared and linked to, thus getting it ranked high on the search results.

And if negative reviews or angry blog posts are littering the first or second page of Google’s results, your business is going to take a hit. People use the search engines and social media to find the products and services they need. And if people find negative stuff when they search for your business, you are going to lose potential customers. It’s really that simple. Think about it: say you’re choosing between two companies that are seemingly providing the same products at the same price, yet one company has a bunch of negative stuff being said about it online. Which company are you going to give your money to?

As Warren Buffet said, “It takes 20 years to build a good reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it. If you think of that, you’ll do things differently.”

So if negative content is littering your search results and hurting your business, you should consider reputation and brand management. Here are the 7 keys for your reputation management strategy.

1. Create Silos on Your Website
Our last blog post was on the importance of content silos. As we explained, silos help build your overall site authority and drives traffic to several of your pages for dozens of keywords, as opposed to driving traffic only to your homepage for a few keywords. If you successfully build silos–our previous post shows you how–then several of your internal pages and various blog posts will start to outrank negative content on the search results.

2. Register New Domains.
If negative content is ranking high on Google, it must be well optimized (lots of people visiting, sharing and linking to it.) To combat well optimized negative content, you need to register new domains for your company brand with the intention of building out well optimized content that competes for the Google real estate currently being occupied by the negative content. Say your URL is mycompanyname.com. You want to buy the domains for mycompanyname.co, mycompanyname.org, mycompanyname.net, etc.

3. Create Lot of Quality Content.
Now that you have registered new domains, you need to work hard at building out tons of quality content for each of these sites. That means doing more than just throwing up a splash page and calling it a day. You want create engaging, search-friendly content for all the sites. However, the content strategy for your newly registered domains is going to be different from your primary company website in one key way. Instead of optimizing content around your industry’s most popular keywords, you want to optimize content for your company brand. Remember: you’re not optimizing to get found by people looking for your products or services; you’re optimizing for people searching for your particular company name. Think of this as doing SEO for your brand name.

4. Onsite and Offsite SEO.
Reputation and brand management requires a lot of SEO work. And so you must perform the same SEO tactics for your reputation management campaign, except you are optimizing for your company name as opposed to your keywords. This means you must do onsite programming for meta content to help the crawlers find your new pages.

5. Link Building.
Just as you must pursue a strong linking strategy for SEO, you’ll want to do link building for your new content so it outranks the negative content on Google. Remember that instead of using your keywords as the anchor texts, you want to use your company name as your anchor texts.

6. Social Media Marketing.
Social media should be a part of every Internet marketing campaign. An active social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ will help you leverage your existing client base to connect with new customers. Not only do social media help you create new leads, it also helps with reputation and brand management. If you have an active and optimized presence, your social media pages will rank well on Google when searching your company name. Ideally, when a prospect searching your company to see what people are saying about you, they will find you interacting with happy customers. So, don’t wait. Start using social media to create contents, polls, respond to customer complaints and post company news.

7. Syndicated Positive Reviews.
Last but not least. When we talk about negative content, more often than not we’re talking about negative reviews from Yelp, Google Places, Angie’s List, etc. One of the great things about the web is that it has given marketing power to your customers to spread the word about you so you find new business organically. However, a downside is that eccentric former customers can take to dozens of review sites to complain and even post false things about you. The best way to combat negative reviews is to work hard to gather positive reviews from your most satisfied customers, and then syndicate these organic reviews around the web. If you can syndicate and optimize positive reviews, they’ll start to compete for Google’s real estate with negative reviews.

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