Everyone knows that their reputation is important. It’s the first impression you make on someone before you even meet them.
Reputation has become even more important to cultivate and protect in the digital age, seeing as how quickly news now travels. One negative word against your company’s character can quickly make its way to countless people.
This is why you need to proactively guard against potential attacks on your company’s reputation by using SEO.
At the end of the day, search engine optimization is all about influencing what gets found online. Yet, many people don’t realize that SEO can, therefore, play a huge role in reputation management. The following four tips will get you started and make a major impact:
Many reputation management experts advise their clients to register as many social media accounts as possible. This, they believe, will take over Google’s first page whenever their client’s name or company name is searched for.
Unfortunately, this tactic actually dilutes the impact each account has. Instead, you should look to major social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Keep your presence focused so it’s not weakened.
Then, you actually need to actively post on these accounts. This has proven to be so important that you would actually be better off prioritizing a smaller site account (e.g. Quora) if it meant that you were regularly posting content.
Any time your company appears in the press or other forms of media, the publisher usually requests some kind of stock “bio.” This is a phenomenal opportunity to increase the rankings of your website and/or various social media accounts by embedding links in this profile.
You don’t have to be spammy about it, either. Include relevant information with appropriate anchor text and it won’t look out of place at all.
Also, be sure to follow up on your profile to confirm your links were included. Often times, the person in charge of the profile will rush the formatting and strip the links out, so it’s always good to check.
What do all four of these actions have in common? They could all improve the lives of others, but they can also be opportunities to use SEO for reputation management.
Any time you speak at an engagement, you can rest assured you’ll be given a bio to go on a website somewhere. We’ve already covered how to use this for SEO purposes.
Investing or donating in other companies or nonprofits usually provides the same opportunity, so make sure you’re taking advantage of that. Small amounts can even be enough to trigger a PR piece or some other page on the organization’s site where you can embed links.
The next time your company is looking to hire, use a website that will support a permanent profile for your organization. Even if you’re just in the market for a temp, you will often be given a page where you can embed valuable links.
Even though Craigslist and similar sites may be a very affordable option for finding employees, remember that these sites don’t give you that permanent profile, so they’re not worth leveraging for this purpose.
Another piece of supposed conventional wisdom “experts” like to pass around is that Wikipedia and similar sites are absolutely fantastic for using SEO to build your reputation. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
It’s called reputation management for a reason.
The whole point is that you want to be the one managing your reputation. This is nearly impossible on a site like Wikipedia where it is basically a free-for-all.
So don’t bother even creating a page for yourself or your company. Ideally, no one will ever bother to make these pages, either. If it happens and you find inaccuracies, you can try contacting these sites to have the page taken down, but you’re probably fighting an uphill battle. Even going to the trouble of submitting an edit can be very difficult.
Unless someone is actively attacking or libeling you on a site like Wikipedia, you’re better off completely leaving these sites alone and focusing on opportunities that you can control. In the case of a smear campaign, you should hire experts to do damage control for you.
While these SEO tips are definitely useful for reputation management, it’s still very important that you begin implementing them ASAP. You don’t want to wait until after you or your company has suffered a public attack to start playing catch up. Institute this advice now and it will be that much harder for your critics to find an audience in the future.