Blog 3 minute readSearch engine reputation management is often thought of as a dark art – much like PR, to some – but it doesn't have to be. Ensuring your clients are seen in the way they want to be seen is likely part of your role as a communications professional and as such, their online reputation matters. Essentially, online reputation management from a search engine perspective relates to exact name matches or keyword searches that will present search engine users with information about your clients. As just 1 in 20 people click through to the second page of search engine results, taking control of the first page of results is often enough to ensure misleading or unwanted results don't impact upon the profitability of your client's business, or damage their reputation unnecessarily. If search engine results for your client's name displays out-dated or false information, there is something you can do about it – and it's in your interest to, as it's been found more than 90% of journalists use Google as their first port of call when researching stories. With enough effort, you can – without having to resort to 'black hat' techniques, legitimately push down unwanted results in SERPs (search engine result pages) within a few weeks to a month. Although every case is different and often requires specialist attention – especially with relation to high profile news stories – here are a few tips to make a start on taking control of search engine results for your client (with their permission, of course!):
- Create profiles – There are many sites, such as PR.com and lookuppage.com, where you can create and display your client's profile. Want to see more examples of such sites? Look up competitor names in Google and see where they advertise themselves.
- Write articles – Writing articles expresses confidence and helps establish your clients as professional. At the end of the article, include the name of the company with a link to the company’s website. This will increase their site’s ranking on search engines. What sites, blogs or publications you approach or sign up to to write articles depends entirely upon the client you're working on behalf of, but the more relevant, the better.
- Social media – use platforms such as StumbleUpon and Digg to create pages that will consolidate information from various sources about you or your company. Include links to any positive online content that you would like to have rank highly on Google. By promoting positive information, you will be able to push down the negative results. Also, don't forget the more popular social networks such as Facebook and Twitter – with just ten search results on Google's first page, these two highly ranking sites are a no-brainer.
- Publishing platforms – Squidoo is a great website for creating online pages that showcase businesses and/or their products. As opposed to other blogs, Squidoo sites place no importance on dates– and Google LOVES these sites. You can also use sites such as LSBlogs and BlogHub.
- YouTube – If your client has a brochure/marketing video, upload it to YouTube. Yes, it’s that simple and as mentioned in point 3, with just ten search engine results to take control of on page one, channels named after and including keywords related to your client will sit pretty on the first page