Online, as in real time, your brand is your reputation and your reputation is your brand. Any negative material about you or your business that shows up in searches for your relevant keywords needs to be fixed fast.
ake no mistake: those unflattering words can damage your business, reduce conversion rates and cause existing clients to look elsewhere. Here is a collection of effective strategies employed by professionals to make those nasty pages go away.
Before we get into technicalities, I’d like to mention three things not-to-do. First of all, don’t panic. The Web is not a static place and nothing is un-doable. Second, don’t even think of retaliating. This can only end badly and you’re far better occupied creating positive content for yourself. Last, don’t bother asking someone who has posted bad things about you on the Net to take it down. It’s 99 percent certain they won’t: save your dignity and show them what’s what with the following:
Strategies for reputation management:
- It’s not just a matter of getting positive pages to rank above the reputation management challenges. It is a matter of pushing those bad pages so far down in the search results that even avid searchers won’t see them.
- The first step is to create a complete list of keywords/phrases that might possibly be used to search for your service, or that might turn up the unfavorable material, including the company name as this is probably targeted too, and target those in web pages that you will optimize and promote for good ranking.
- Arrange for posts on other people’s blogs that have good ranking: an active blog can have posts indexed immediately and will often show up in a search same day. If this is not something you can arrange, then contact a professional blogger.
- Skillfully crafted content on your own website can do more than anything else to push down unfavorable web pages in a search. If you can’t do it yourself, then tell your story to a professional SEO copywriter, and let them take that load off your shoulders.
- Create social media profiles: in particular LinkedIn profiles can come high in a search quite quickly for your keywords. Also, Twitter home pages rank well and quickly.
- Create a Naymz profile: particularly good for ranking results.
- Social media activity can significantly boost the ranking of your chosen pages with a strategic campaign of linking back to them in posts and articles. Open a number of social media accounts such as FaceBook, Bebo and even MySpace.
- In particular the use of Stumbleupon to boost client’s pages so they climb above unwanted results.
- Create a Flickr account and post photos of company, employees, company parties, products, and anything else positive that will utilize relevant keywords.
- Create a Wiki on WetPaint
- Create multiple pages on sites like Squidoo and WetPaint (which is my first choice these days).
- Submit a series of press releases announcing worthy events in your business or niche, and, or developments in your career for example. Don’t forget to use relevant keywords.
- Create a podcast or video interview–can be with you or an industry leader–post it to your website and a number of other sites such as YouTube.com. An interesting video (if things are bad you might even doing one addressing the claims of your accusers) can create a tremendous amount of buzz in a very short time. Here’s a video about creating podcasts.
- Get on Yahoo Answers and create some relevant buzz there.
- Start a blog if you don’t already have one and publish as many posts as you can with well-written, useful content targeting keywords that will compete with the undesirable pages. If you don’t have time then pay someone to blog for you.
- Add a sub-domain to your main website and launch a PPC campaign targeting all the relevant keywords for this site.
- Write articles and have them posted to other websites. Even better, have your satisfied customers mention you on a blogs and websites using your keywords if you can arrange that.
There are other strategies, but this is a manageable number that will get you results. Importantly, they aren’t too difficult to arrange. There is one other thing you should work towards: There must be some reason why another person posted unflattering material about you or your business to the Web. Get to the bottom of it. Find out exactly why and make sure that no one else finds grounds to reflect you in an unfavorable light online or off. Be the best you can be and treat people well and the Internet will be great to you.