September 1, 2009
Millions upon millions of people are surfing the web every day. They search for news and information about people, places and companies. At the same time, some of these people are publishing or posting reviews about services, products and people, and not all of the reviews are good. Did you know that just one bad post can greatly harm the reputation of a Company and cause a direct impact on the Company’s bottom line?
Here is the test. Google yourself. Google your Company. What does it say? If there are negative posts about you, your services or your Company, then it’s time to get with the program – The Online Reputation Management Program.
Today, when I Google one of our largest Company clients, we see nothing but good press. The top 10 results are their corporate site, blogs, Press Releases and other sub sites we created for them. Now, I must tell you that these favorable results are no accident. Only 6 months ago our client’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page) was full of negative content. Since their Company does 80,000 service calls a year in 40 different states, there were bound to be some unhappy clients. Like it or not, those few clients who posted their comments filled up 7 of the top ten spots on page one of Google.
Through the consistent effort of our team, using ORM (Online Reputation Management) including a structured plan of Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization including press release optimization, article syndication and related PR activities, we were able to manage and control their online destiny.
Today as part of your Corporate Plan of action you need to know that It’s not a question whether or not you should be managing your reputation online, it’s a question of how. All organizations and individuals alike should consider developing a search engine reputation management program as standard protocol for the 21st Century
So, now that you are ready to put your ORM Plan in place, where do you start? First, let’s identify key editorial contacts at industry and business publications, ezines and press release portals. Add these contacts to your contact database and look for opportunities to post comments on relevant articles. Today, you can publish stories in minutes, versus days, weeks or months. So when you do post content, it not only appears on the Web site, but on syndicated content sites and news search engines as well.
The challenge with any reputation management program is effectively targeting your audience. The best way to accomplish this is to create targeted press releases that can be linked-to from a variety of sources. The press release should also be optimized for relevant terms so it appears as high as possible in related searches. Additional content can be created for your web site that these press releases can link back to such as a FAQ page, management bios and photos.
The next thing to do is become Blog Friendly. Bloggers are the most publicized arm of online media. Bloggers are increasing their credibility with the consumer, which means their opinions matter. This is what I like to call a “Third Party Endorsement”. Having Bloggers post negative comments about you or your brand can spell disaster. Be prepared to get into the conversation by posting comments on negative blogs and link back to your own press release or blog. Launch your own Blog or become Blogger Friendly.
Another Very effective tool is the use of sub-domains. Google sees them as separate sites, but they do still carry the authority and trust of the root domain. When you create a sub-domain, you must not simply copy content from your main domain. The new sub-domain must have useful, unique content. It does not need 100 pages, just ten or so pages per sub-domain will do. All you need is two to three well optomized sub-domains.
If you do not have a Twitter account, then I suggest that it is time to get one. You should use keywords in your user name. Also, consider MySpace and Facebook or other social bookmarking network entries. And of course, post links to your press releases using keywords in your text links.
Finally, of course, you may use Google AdWords and related pay-per-click programs to get your message out there. While optimized press releases and related content may take days or weeks to appear high in relevant search results, text ads are virtually instantaneous and provide total control over placement (by keyword) of your message.
When it’s all said and done, managing your reputation requires the creation of relative content on your own site, distribution of positive content, as well as strategic participation in online discussions. When you combine these strategies, an integrated search engine reputation management program is born.
This article is brought to you by Tom and Bernadette Coleman of Advice Interactive Group.