First impressions have the greatest impact, and nowadays, those impressions come overwhelmingly from search engines. The first thing most customers see about your company is not your web page, your blog posts, or pictures of your product, but the results that come up on Google and Bing. This means that if negative reviews or bad press come up in those results, you’ll have a hard time winning them over as customers. But through comprehensive reputation management, you can use branded organic SEO to improve the caliber of your search results, so your first impressions are always good impressions.
Assessing the Issue
SEO-related reputation issues take many forms. One common issue arises if there are negative reviews of your company online. Whether written by an angry client or a dishonest competitor, these reviews often come up right next to your website in relevant searches, and they affect potential clients who see them. Even if a client doesn’t assume the review is true, it will influence them subconsciously, leading them to look for signs of trouble when they view your site. They’re thus much more likely to form a negative opinion about you, harming your odds of doing business with them.
Besides negative reviews, your site may be associated with bad press. Sometimes this can be reports of bad things your company did or was accused of doing. But it can also be things that are unrelated to your company but share some common words. Say you’re a law firm called “Miller & Coorhees, PLLC,” and a report comes out that the brewing company Miller-Coors did something irresponsible. Because your name sounds similar to theirs, stories of the scandal could come up in searches related to your company, causing you to lose business over something you had nothing to do with.
The key to controlling bad search publicity is in SEO brand management. The right branded SEO tactics cause positive search results to appear with your company while dissociating you from negative ones. The most effective methods include:
- Leveraging Better Links– Links play a key role in brand SEO; the more links a page has, the higher it will rank in search results. Many companies assume they should always link to their homepages so that they rise to the top in relevant searches. But if you want to drown out negative results, it’s better to diversify your linked content. Link to positive reviews, blog posts, social media platforms, and other sites that will bring you good publicity. This causes those sites to come up with your homepage, leading potential customers to see them instead of negative results.
- Working with Influencers– Besides elevating positive results through links, you should expand the number of positive results about you. One easy way to do this is by reaching out to journalists, bloggers, vloggers, and other online influencers. If you can enlist them to write or talk about you on their platform, the content they create is likely to get large numbers of views and rise to the top of search results.
- Create Your Own Content– Not only can you get influencers to write about you, but you can also write new content of your own. Start a company blog if you haven’t already or try publishing more often. Then link these posts to other web pages on your site, as well as to external sources you’d like to have associated with your company. By doing this, you can create more positive results while elevating other positive results in one fell swoop.
- Purge Bad Publicity– Although you can’t get rid of all harmful search results, certain types of results are illegitimate and can be removed. If you can prove that a negative review was left by a competitor instead of a real customer, for example, most review sites will take it down. Likewise, you may be able to remove harmful content if it uses intellectual property you own without your permission.
Zero Gravity Marketing offers comprehensive reputation management services to protect your company from even the worst search results. To learn more about how we improve your image, visit our website today.