Giuseppe Pastore has a great post on SEOMoz about how Twitter’s bad SEO negatively impacts his brand.
We highly recommend you check out the post. It’s a great read, not only for the SEO knowledge that’s dropped but also because it gives you a great peak into the mind of a rock star online marketer. For online branding, it doesn’t matter how much great content you produce or how valuable your products/service are in “real life”; it only matters what people see when they first search for you on Google.
We were inspired by Giuseppe’s post. So we wanted to give you a quick rundown on how your SEO impacts your online reputation.
SEO vs. Reputation Management
Obviously, you’ve been told about the virtues of SEO. Yes, if you can optimize your website for your top keywords, you will rank at the top of Google & Bing for the search terms that your customers are using to find your products/services.
Notice that SEO does not focus on optimizing for your branded keywords, such as “National Positions.” That’s because SEO is an online marketing tactic that helps you drive traffic and leads from new customers who don’t already know about you. For instance, we optimize for “SEO Company” because there over 70,000 unique monthly searches for this term, meaning that more than 70,000 business professionals are looking for information from an SEO company without much institutional knowledge, preference or prejudice. By ranking No. 1 or No. 2 for our best keywords, we drive thousands of visitors who would ordinarily find information from our top competitors.
…But Reputation Management is about optimizing for your branded keywords so you ensure that when customers are searching for you, they find only the information you want them to see.
Why You Need Corporate Reputation Management
When we’re doing consulting for companies looking to improve their SEO and online lead generation, we often hear the refrain that “our business model is not driven by the Internet.” First, we want to express our distrust of this sentiment. Every business model is driven by the Internet. In 5 years, the only businesses that succeed will be the ones that can adequately leverage the Internet to gain exposure and drive traffic. Whether you’re driving visitors to your online products via Google Shopping or Amazon, or you’re a local restaurant driving customers via local search on smartphones and tablet computers, you are going to rely on the web for business.
But for sake of argument, let’s say you don’t acquire customers via the web. Let’s say you are a stock broker or accountant or lawyer or dentist who relies on word-of-mouth referrals. Even in this case, you rely on your online reputation for business.
Ask yourself: What’s the first thing a potential customer is going to do when they learn about you? They will Google your company. So you better make sure that your branded keywords are generating positive or helpful information on the first page of the search results.
Why You Need Personal Brand Management
If you rely heavily on your personal brand for your profession, then you should strongly consider ORM. Maybe you are an entrepreneur or a financial advisor, or maybe you are a political figure or an academic. Personal brand management is not only for the corporate world. It is essential for anyone who relies on their personal credibility for professional opportunities.
Now you may be asking yourself, “Well, everyone relies on their personal credibility for professional opportunities. Does everyone need personal brand management?”
Not really. You need it if there’s been so much press written and syndicated about you, and you are not comfortable with the content that is showing up on the first page of the search results on Google & Bing. If you want to drown out negative content and push up more positive or neutral information, then it’s time to consider personal branding.
So, how can you get started? Here’s a quick list
1. Google your company or your personal brand name. See what appears on the first page, maybe the second page, too. Don’t worry about anything past the second page. Less than 5% of people search Page 3 or further.
2. Choose 5 keywords for which you want to optimize. Focus on a handful of search terms that are causing the most problems for you.
3. Register domains with GoDaddy.com. Choose URLS that are similar to your company or personal website URL. For instance, register yourcompany.net, yourcompany.org, your-company.com, etc.
4. Create, setup and implement WordPress sites on these new domains. They don’t have to be many pages. But make sure the homepage features a blog for new and fresh content to be added regularly.
5. Start blogging at least one a week on each new WordPress site. Make sure that you’re using keywords that are causing you harm. Most of all generate user-friendly and quality content that educates your customers about your business and your industry.
6. Do SEO best practices for each WordPress site. This means adding all new SEO plugins, and implementing Meta content that uses your chosen keywords. WordPress is incredibly SEO friendly, so this will be easy.
7. Create, setup and optimize social media profiles for yourself and your company on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. Make sure you’re posting regularly content at least once a week. Preferably, post your blog posts to each social media account. This engages users and shares quality information.
8. Use various Press Release distribution services to generate 1 monthly press release with news about your company. This will be syndicated to thousands of news and industry related sites.
This should help you drown out negative results and promote positive content on first page of Google!
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