Guide to Reputation Management SEO: Offensive and Defensive Strategies (2019)
- Most people don’t think about their branded searches until it is too late
- Changing who ranks
- Changing rank order
- Changing content on ranking pages
- Changing Google SERP features
- Shift search demand
- Getting links, with key anchor text, pointing to strategic pages not necessarily all pointing to the home page.
- Pitching Journalist/Bloggers/Editors
- Creating your own content – Medium, Huffington Post, Forbes, Inc., Guest posting – don’t necessarily need to get back links
- Influencing the reviews – TOS
- Legal – Filing trademark violation – email or letter from an attorney – other legal approaches – DMCA protocols – directly through Google – Protest on page
- Branding and influencer marketing – start using your preferred “search branding keyword” in your marketing
- Anchor text and surrounding text in your page to reshape suggested searches
- Using sites that influence Google features – Pinterest (photos), Youtube (video), News, local review sites (Maps)
- Separate keywords specific domains – not usually a strategy/tactics
- Negative SEO attacks – buying review sites
- Monitoring brand and rankings – tools
BR: It’s actually a option. And then you just click it comes upMC: the airborne a cts saw me on a conference call one time and I was telling him a story about how like the most awful and sort of profane text message from one of my friends popped up when I was demoing the mobile app of nutshell, like mirroring my phone. Really embarrassing. And he was like, Oh man, you just need to do this. And I was like, thanks for the things that gonna help me yesterday.
BR: That’s awesome. So I had kind of a similar funny story, wasn’t salacious or anything but so um, snapchatting my wife, right. And she was sitting in the salon getting her nails done with a girlfriend or whatever. And I had said something funny so she hands the phone over to a friend and said, oh look what bill said. And then my next comment was something to effect, I’ll always be your president. And I sent her this little snapchat of like the Emoji Emoji, bit of like me sitting
BR: underneath the Christmas tree. It was obviously a cartoon. So, but it was hilarious because her, her friend is like, oh my gosh, this is for you. So think about the public domain. You’re in a public, I don’t really care. I guess what people think of me in the public domain or maybe I do more than I think. Um, I don’t know. Just go ahead and be yourself. I feel like we’re, we’re quickly like cultural requirements. Like the initial thing was number one of those articles would come out and people are like, oh, you know, hiring managers are checking millennials Facebook page. Okay, I’m sure they are. But at this point like you’re going to end up, you’re not gonna be have to hire anybody if you go what’s on there? Like with what’s on their Facebook page. Like there’ll be nobody left a higher. So like, yeah, so you’re, yes, you’re sorted or you’re like slightly bizarre or even fun trail Internet life.
MC: Like soon people are just going to get used to how, knowing a little bit more about each other I suppose on a personal well it’s crazy. Yeah. They’re talking about like creditors and stuff like that. I mean, I mean to some extent as I get older, like I mean obviously like I kind of have gotten smarter and more experienced and you know, I’ve sit inadvertently like bad emails and stuff like that. And so I actually really early in my career I was actually me and a con, we’re talking about a client and like we were sending emails back and forth inadvertently sent it to the client, which is kind of hilarious. But, and then I left, I made it off as a joke. Right. And I was able to pull it off. I don’t know how but, but that, that was a lesson that I was like, okay, I’m never going to put it in the mail any day that I can know, you know, present.
MC: You were a spy hunter right point and your in your life when the counterintelligence officer. Yeah. If you don’t want someone to know about it or know the truth, I don’t put it in like an electronic audio or video form, like face to face conversations only do it like the mob and you’ll leave with, you’ll be just fine and I’ll give you, I’ll give you this one extra piece of advice. Don’t ever tell anyone. Like if you want a secret, you tell one person all bets are off. It doesn’t matter how, how, how much they are your friend in a pickle got a pressure, whatever horrible thing you did. So that one person. Exactly. Exactly. All right. Anyway, like who knows? Hey, we just decided we’d just kind of let the Mike role and so, but we’re going to get to the real topic. I don’t even know how we’ll chop this up and put it in here, but it might be fun for you guys to hear like the nonsense that goes on behind the scenes. So we’ll probably do more of that. But anyway, today we are, make the logo bigger. A podcast. So, you know, when we first started about it and all we said
MC: was like, hey, we just got to work the muscle, you know, do it every week and whatever else. We’ve been much better about that. So that’s super exciting. I, you know, I’m really pumped that we’ve, we’ve kept up with it when it’s so, it’s so funny.
BR: I haven’t been in the agency business. I still am. You were, um, you know, I think one of the things is we are always talking about consistency and frequency, but for us we’re so much jumping around from client to client and making sure their trains run on time. It’s really actually hard for us to, to kind of put down something and to keep on cadence and on point. Um, just kind of the nature of the business is really tough to do that. So 23 is like a real number. If we hit a hundred like I’ll be, I’ll be shocked. But hopefully we’re going to do that for you guys. Um, all right, so the topic today is one that actually we’re getting quite a few requests for. Um, and I think it’s because of the kind of clients that we work with. Um, but it’s questions about reputation management, SCO and specifically sort of protecting your brand from, from Google. Not so much Google itself, but like things that can happen inside of Google. And so, um, so I actually, you when you were here at Kalydeco led at least one, if not more of those significant engagements of kind of like dealing with the crisis. So kind of like, what’s your like
MC: putting lines to that topic as far as going to be disappointed, many maybe just not helpful to those that find themselves in a reputation, reputation management, pinch. Um, but when it comes to reputation management, a good offense, uh, is, is a better defense. So in other words, like if you’re listening to this, just wondering about the topic, like go to work on making sure that you’re always getting good reviews for your business, that you are managing your branded keywords properly, that you’re managing your personal brand new keywords, probably like your name. Um, be proactive in your approach to get as many third party based results around your brand. In Google that are going to be positive because I tell you what, man, if you’re, it depends on what kind of reputation problem we’re talking about and I’m sure we’ll go over the different ones so I won’t dive too deep into it, but there are some that are eminently solvable and some that are literally irreversable. Um, and we can talk about the difference between the two, but, but planning ahead and making this a priority for yourselves before it becomes a problem is literally the best piece of advice that I could ever give. Yeah,
BR: no, that’s so true. And I always hate this because we’d normally, we have the conversation and we’re having the conversation now when people are in crisis and we’ve actually had, this is the other thing to keep in mind. Um, you know, if you have been in a crisis and you’ve moved through that, we’ve literally got a, a group that we’re working with right now that we actually helped them through a problem like this. And then after that, when the problem was solved, they’re like, okay, great. You know, I don’t want to keep paying for this. I don’t want to, and I get it right. I don’t want to keep paying for us to kind of manage, maintain this sort of thing. And so they did. And guess what? They, because of the nature of the business got themselves in a pickle again. And we’re like back at square one and it’s going to be, so that kind of, that maintenance, we’re going to talk about that a little bit, but before we get too deep into the kind of the nitty gritty of this, because it is a fascinating topic.
BR: Um, let’s talk a little bit about what reputation management is. So everybody thinks, oh, it’s intuitive, I understand my reputation. But depending on what business you are, you are in, um, I think it’s important for people to kind of break this down and think of it in a couple of different ways. So obviously it’s about what people are saying and influencing their perceptions of your brand. But keep in mind the second component, which I think often gets left off is it’s, it’s not only your brand, but it’s also your leadership. Or if you’re going to in something like, um, like a law firm, it’s, it’s your critical partners or your most important partners or your most high profile partners, those are the ones that potentially can get attacked. So it’s not just the,
MC: the brand itself, the company logo, it’s cider individually that are associated with wire. When you really start to untangle it all, particularly if you’re in a negative, you’re currently dealing with a negative situation.
BR: Yeah, yeah, for sure. So let’s talk about kind of what you did here already is there’s really two, two lenses to look at this problem through. And as we go through some of the strategies and tactics, um, I’m on, we’re, we’re going to try to take you through kind of both of these lenses, but there’s obviously the defensive, uh, which means, hey, you know, something’s already happened. And so as a result you have to react to it. Um, and uh, then there’s the office of, and this is one that unfortunately, even we, when we’re dealing with clients, we don’t talk about this enough. When we’re going to kind of do an SEO or content marketing for client, we’re, we almost kind of slough off the branded terms where like, oh yeah, yeah, we’re going to get the branded terms and they are coming in and that’s the lion’s share of our traffic probably because people know the brand or there we’re getting referrals and that kind of stuff. And we just kind of take those for granted. Man. You really got a, um, whether you’re even thinking about reputation management, even in your, your baseline SEO strategies, we all have to think more about not taking those branded searches or brand modified searches for granted. We really had to beef those up and make them as robust and powerful as as we possibly can. So, um, so that defense and often, yeah,
MC: he’s really kind of depends on your brand and you’re trying to defend those batteries. So, um, you know, fill in the gaps BR, like if I miss something, but really kind of put it in like three different categories. So the first and most common SEO reputation management issue are bad reviews. Um, and by far like the, the easiest to deal with, right? Because whether you’re dealing with bad reviews on software review sites like Capterra or you know, are bad reviews on even, um, you know, something is as annoying a,
MC: what do you call it? And we got, I’m drawing a, I have a head cold and I’m drawing a total blank if I was a restaurant and I was getting reviewed on a, yeah, thank you. I know it’s popular view platforms, whether it’s that or whatever else you have to do is go out and put together what is most anomaly, like a very nominal sort of review campaign for your customers that you know are satisfied, um, and do that proactively and then afterwards to, to your point bill, like make an offensive. So once you’ve done it once and like you’ve pushed down that you can’t get rid of negative reviews, you can only push them down. So I think it’s an, let me stop there for a second. You can’t eliminate negative anything like it. It’s always going to be there on the Internet. You cannot delete it for all the people out there like, oh, I’m going to petition Google to get this salacious, you know, or this, uh, you know, this sort of liable, you know, removed from the Internet.
MC: You’re not going to happen. I mean, in the most extreme circumstances maybe. But like the process for that is incredibly challenging and Google is incredibly not responsive. Um, so the only thing you can do is push the results down past the first page of Google, past the first five results. Um, and then by the way, nobody’s going to see them, or at least 90% of the people are not going to see them once they’re down past results five and serps. And they’re certainly not going to see them if they’re on page two. Um, so, so anyway, so that’s the something to remember most clearly. But yeah, if it’s a review problem than like getting new reviews as an easy thing to do, um, if it’s a blog related problem, in other words, like bad reviews written via blog post or bad reputation written via blog posts, those are also easier to manage and push down.
MC: And organic search because more than likely you can compete with the, uh, you know, domain strength of that particular blog. And it’s going to be all about producing content around your brand terms and backlink strategies and, and that sort of thing. So that’s we category too. It’d be like the bad blog posts review category three, which is like really at defcon five, which was the defcon that’s worse, the one or five five, right? So it’s like a def con five scenario is like your local newspaper writes something negative about five. Um, and these are the ones that are gonna be the hardest to get rid of because under no circumstances is your domain going to be looked at with more strength than an a legitimate news organization, like a local newspaper, local daily newspaper or, or national newspaper. So then that scenario we can talk about, that’s a PR strategy actually. So when you come to category three or actually not even dealing with SEO anymore, now you’re dealing with straight up public relations.
BR: Right? Right. Yeah. And that’s, and, and it kind of goes in. That’s a good segway into kind of the, the next part of this. And just as you think about the problems, um, you really kind of go from the strategic perspective and, and we’re talking specifically in this exercise, reputation management or search engine optimization worth talking about the search engine results. So there’s really only five things you can do, right? So there’s only five strategies that can do and obviously it’s a mixture of these. Um, but I think it’s helpful when you’re looking at the search engine results, um, that you really kind of understand, um, what your options are and then how to build some tactics to, to, to effect those change. Um, so the, the five that I always talk about, our number one, you can change who ranks on that first page, right?
BR: Who’s actually coming up in the, the first page a number two, you can change the order, right? So this is kind of the classic and this is whatever He, you know, Seo, a reputation management person, we’ll uh, we’ll probably either talk to you about or you will come to them with this first. And it’s probably not always, um, the number one strategy, but that is the rank order. So I mean, oftentimes you’ll engage in SEO and say, Hey, I got this thing on my first page. Can you push it down? Then you change the rank order. And so that’s one we’ll talk about. Number three is actually changing the content on the ranking page. And this is really important during, uh, during the, in an authentic sort of strategy is really thinking clearly and strategically about what content is on that page, why it’s there and how to keep it there.
BR: Uh, number four is changing the actual, um, serp features. Now this has become a little more powerful, but it does change from time to time. So, uh, you know, back five years ago we would’ve been talking about author pages. We would’ve been talking about, um, I can’t even remember, but, but Google is always playing with the other features that are on a particular search engine result page. Um, and so in that, so it could be a snippet, a sort of like definitions and stuff like that. It could be a Google map page result. It could be images, it could be videos, it could be, um, uh, like if you search for movies, there’s like little, you know, clips of I MDB and stuff like that in there. So there’s all these little features that can be kind of gone after. And what those features do, if you can affect them, is that kind of gobble up the page and push some things down.
BR: So depending on what industries you’re looking at, um, you actually might be, and this is important for overall Seo, but you might be in position three, but you might be at the bottom of the page because there’s all this other crap. So in the middle of it, right, like local businesses, like if you’re looking for a painter or something like, Eh, exactly. So, but knowing what those things are, you can target that and you can gobble up some of that pages sometimes depending on what your problem is. And then the last one, which is kind of interesting and we’ll talk more about this, um, good from an offensive perspective sometimes can be used in a defensive and that’s really shifting the search demand. So sort of changing, um, what those searches are. And so what I’m talking about is if you go to Google, you put in whatever that branded searches, you’ll leave a space and then you see what else is being modified into that brand search. Um, it can give you some insight into, okay, what’s the Ma the demand and then potentially can I, can I change or alter that demand and get people to search for slightly different things?
MC: And so we’ll talk about that too. Anything that I missed, those, those kind of five, it’s really desperate. Situa situation is, uh, what do you call it? Um, it’s actually running paid ads on your own branded terms. So like, you know, well, I recommend that you do that anyway. I mean, you always should run the cheap clicks and whatever else. You know, there’s one number one way you can make sure you’re at the top of Google for a branded search. And that’s simply to buy, hey PPC ads. And like that’s the first thing people see. And then they often, you know, she’ll click on it. Not everybody will click on it, but at least like you might be able to capture 20% of the audience real quick or you know, something like that to avoid having them see whatever negative search was all his. And that would be the only thing I would add.
BR: Yeah. And that, that’s a, that’s an important point and that kind of a critical strategy to, especially if you have something that, and this happens all the time, kinda like when media gets ahold of something. Um, cause we know like negativity and negativity and what am I looking for a word wise. But, um, but anything that’s controversial, negativity and controversy that sells papers. Right. And so, um, so if you’re in a situation where a more elongated, um, intellectual argument can be made for like what’s going on, um, pain for those searches that you know are coming up in the search demand because you have a crisis. And so that search demand has gone up and you do that little exercise that I was telling you about in Google to figure out what the modified searches are. You can pay for those terms and you can point them to a page that literally describes like, Nope, this is the truth, or this is what’s really happening, or this is our perspective.
BR: And you could potentially drive people to at least have a balanced understanding of what’s going on. Um, so that’s a strategy to, again, assuming that you, you know, you have a good message, um, and, and do that well. So, um, so that’s another kind of component of that strategy is literally a pain to get your answer into the, into the conversation. So. All right. Um, let’s, okay, so let’s kick too to tactics. Um, actually maybe before we go to tactics, it might be interesting too background. Something that, again, it’s pretty typical for us to wrestle with. Um, so that you kind of know how these things happen when we get into the defensive problem. So one of the areas where we see this a lot and everybody’s going to chuckle and they’re going to, you know, Save, save,
BR: BabyLove turning on that far. Okay. Hey, but
BR: generally they’re good people and they’re there. They serve a purpose to serve. Got this. All right. They’re my clients. I love them. But one of the, the, the hazards of the job when you’re a litigator, a trial attorney, personal injury lawyer, is that 90% of the time you will go about supporting your victims, um, supporting your clients in a way that goes through a rather mundane and typical process of moving through the legal system and, and having sort of justice happen, right? That’s 99% of your job. But every once in awhile, um, you will get into a case, um, or you will come across a situation or litigate a case in such a way that it captures the media’s attention. And I usually, again, um, there’s some sort of controversy, there’s some sort of unusual nature of it. There’s something that’s just maybe horrific about, uh, the situation itself.
BR: Um, sometimes, um, it’s actually even just kind of a misunderstanding of the case and the media will grab ahold of it and they’ll know that it sells papers and they’ll run with it. And so, um, that’s when a lot of times attorneys will get into this reputation management and sometime it could be attached to an individual attorney, sometimes it can be attached to a larger firm. Um, but the problem with this in particular and attorneys in particular, um, is more so than any other industry that we’ve had these kinds of cases with and we worked with is, um, those individuals tend to neglect their online brand and they normally completely dominate their brand with their specific firms website. And a lot of times the firm is named after the partner. Um, and again, the firm is unique and so Google really doesn’t have anything to chew on.
BR: Um, so all they can do is they can serve up your pages, your blog posts and that sort of thing for your brand. And it’s just a sleepy little world, but generally, because attorneys often neglect their online digital marketing strategy. Um, although they consume that page in good times, there’s not a lot of strength to most of their websites. They generally don’t produce a lot of content. Um, and potentially they’re not even showcasing a lot of the good things that they do. So there’s just nothing related to the firm’s name and to the partner or to, uh, you know, important, uh, attorneys or are, uh, more notable attorneys within the firm or take. And so when it does happen, a whole cerp gets obliterated, overtaken, right? So, so just to give you like a real world feel for what we’re talking about when we go into these tactics, that’s kind of a very typical scenario of where we’ve just neglected our online brand. Google doesn’t have anything to look at or to index other than what you provide it. Um, and then when crisis does happen, man, all bets are off. You are in a, you are standing literally neck deep in a hole trying to fix this problem because you, you got nothing. You’d have no architecture to support.
MC: No. I mean a lot of, and you’ll see that as the agency people that are listening to us. Anything else on the content? Number one piece of advice that I can give you in these scenarios is 100% be upfront about managing the expectations of your client. This is going to take time. This is going to take effort. This is never going to go away. And I’m not telling you that because we also used to do this a clinic all the time and I used to tell people, I said, look, you don’t have to pay us the whole time. Right? I’m glad to even teach and train you how to do this. Like how to deal with this and you could have us focus on other things so we’re not blowing up your retainer or whatever, but however you want to deal with it, just get ready to deal with it for the rest of your life. It is, it is a chronic problem.
BR: Yeah, totally. And that’s, that’s really important point. This is not a, um, something that can be fixed in days or even months. I mean, on average I would say depending on what the situation is, you’re at least a year worth of work in order to get yourself back to a reasonable state. Um, with that. So anyway, so let’s jump into the tactics so we can kind of give you guys some actionable stuff, um, here on this particular podcast. So action steps, um, and, and again I’ll try to, we’ll try to kind of blend and say, hey, this is offense, this is defense or this is both. Um, Google is still in a state where they love links and they love backlinks. So whether you’re in an offensive situation or a defensive situation, the more people that you can get to positively link back to your site and additional strategic pages on that site, your about pages, your Po, you know, the individual pages devoted to individual people and leadership. Um, the more links that you can get to those, the more strength you can get. Um, against when the Detroit free press writes an article on you. Cause even though that domain is strong, that individual article they write on you may not be as strong. And if you’ve built some of those protecting link density, um, oftentimes your particular website can out, um, can, can kind of,
MC: when it comes to that particular article, links are still king searches, which we didn’t, we didn’t bring up before. So what I mean by that just everybody knows is a primary search. My name is Michael Carroll. That’s my primary search. Michael Carroll is secondary search is going to be Michael Carroll plus anything. Michael Carroll lawyer, Michael Carroll, you know, Detroit free press for example. Uh, if something was written nasty about me and the Detroit free press and there has been, um, that’s a whole
MC: other story for a different time. But so then those are the secondary searches. So I think the most important thing to remember is that 90% of the people are going to be using your primary search for your name. So if you focus your attention the way that you just described, Bill as it will be easier to hang onto your primary search, um, you know, position and serves to be at the top of the page. Because even if the Detroit free press ranks really well, Google is someone searches for your name there. Google’s as suspects or acts like their reaction to that is, oh, well they’re looking for very basic information about this person. And then your website and your page should out rank that other news article or whatever almost every time for that primary search. Yeah, totally. Uh, number two, uh, tactic is pitching journalists, bloggers and editors, and this is one of those things.
BR: Uh, again, works on both sides. Like Mike talked about before, if you’re in a defensive situation, this is really like you got to make this your primary focus. This is going to be your number one opportunity to kind of get out of the mess is to, to get your pitches, um, taken, accepted, published in the same places where you’re getting negative press. And so sometimes that can be a direct approach. We actually go going against the issue, uh, in potentially getting your side of the story into the conversation. Um, it could be trying to overwhelm it with you know, philanthropic things or you know, the things that you’re doing within the industry or industry groups or some other kind of high profile. Maybe you know, you’re on a speaking circuit and so you’re speaking at conferences. Those things will get picked up and can be pitched into, um, some of these journalists.
BR: But this kind of has to be an ongoing thing. Um, not only for the reason that like you’ll be able to get your pictures taken because you’ll be more professional or you have a PR agency that understands how to do these things and have, are built a process for it or, and I think this is the under valued piece of this. If you’re pitching and building relationships with specific journalists, when something does happen, you will have a relationship within that community and those people will know you and they will, I mean, everything’s supposed to be objective, but that will change the way things get reported if you have a personal relationship. And they know who you are and they know what your core character is, you will get a different approach. I know you’ve to just come up with something that’s near and dear to you. Pr.
MC: No, I mean that kind of stuff. But the thoughts on that or how you kind of build that process. It’s funny when you know good old fashioned traditional tactics meet new and modern digital tactics to what you said, nothing’s ever going to be better than you getting your name in the newspaper, um, ever. So yeah, get your, get your volunteers suit on and get ready to get out there and you know, and be willing to spend the money if it’s that outside of a problem. The other thing I think it’s important to remember is like trying to classify your problem, like to categorize it and put it in perspective. Remove yourself from if this is your problem specifically or if you’re an agency, help your client remove themselves from the scenario and remind them that like people on the Internet, people in general are a way more forgiving than you give them credit for.
MC: And then be our suspect of people being negative on the Internet. Anyway. We, we all know that people are sour. And that’s, you know what’s, why one Yelp review and negative view does not ruin your restaurant. Will tend to it. Yeah. Yeah. 10 I’ll do it. Um, but you know, so cut yourself a little bit of slack and try not to take it so personally. Um, but, but if it is that kind of outsized problem, then, you know, I would just be prepared if it’s that important to invest in it and investing in it means hiring a PR firm and doing what they say that you’ve got to listen to the experts. If you don’t, um, you know, then you’re just going to be back to square one.
BR: Yeah, totally. And then that goes for all, all, all different types of digital marketing. Listen to the experts, they’ll help you. Uh, okay. Number three, uh, creating your own content and kind of the state of the content on Internet, on the Internet has changed significantly. So in the past and in the olden days of Seo, um, we would talk about the fact that, um, placed media, so things that I could control, directories that I could put my name in links that I could actually intentionally place, um, often had little or no value, a Google knew who those places where there were content farms and that kind of stuff that, uh, were completely devalued. But, um, because journalism has kind of taken a whole different, um, hard left turn and just couldn’t support, um, you know, we don’t want to get into kind of this argument, but they’re not paying for, um, kind of a shoe leather journalist anymore.
BR: And so a lot of these more reputable publications are actually reliant on, um, freelancers and writers that can become a part of your strategy. They can, you know, it’s a lower barrier to access. Um, it’s a lower barrier to, um, kind of, um, how they research and, and, uh, publish and get into the editorial process. And some of them are just recording, you know, recruiting business leaders, entrepreneurs and people like you and me to write for them. And so, so you can actually create your own content out there that has credibility. And when I list off these names, um, you might even be surprised to know that like, you know, you can go right for these, you could place an article in these, but a medium is pretty obvious, but it’s having more and more credibility. I’m seeing more and more medium articles come into the serps.
BR: Uh, for a long time it was kind of a closed community and, and so self contained. But I’m actually seeing those pop up in our Google serp results a lot more lately. Huffington post’s, everybody’s of known that their citizen reporters. Uh, but then there’s Forbes Inc fast company. Some of these um, uh, venture beat some of these more, um, kind of they look and feel like hardcore publications. But there are ways to get your content in there to guest post or to post as a, you know, I’m an expert in the industry and those sorts of things and place your own necessary backlinks references to your brand. I’m actually talking about your brand in the right way. But so actually creating your content in the over
MC: are all marketplaces is a real viable strategy. When I talk about creating your own constant, always thinking about content on your own blog, but this is a really clever way to get around it. The only one you didn’t mention bill, and this is a question not a statement cause I don’t know, remember when we were testing using linkedin to like, you know, for posting. So linkedin, I don’t know how long ago that was like you could start to post blog articles on linkedin itself. Yep. And for some searches we noticed that like they were coming up first. Right? Have you seen that to continue to happen or as it kind of come back down to earth and Google’s recognize that like, you know, just because you post something on linkedin doesn’t necessarily mean you have the strength of quote Unquote Linkedin,
BR: right? Yeah. I unlike medium, which I see a lot, I don’t see as many of those linkedin post, um, sort of popping through. I know even Facebook for awhile it was kind of popping through. You don’t see any of that anymore. Um, but yeah, I don’t, I don’t think that’s one of those strategies and it depends on what you’re doing. I mean, if you’re in a B to B marketplace, linkedin might have, uh, some, some real credible authority even within there. Um, but yeah.
MC: Yeah. I don’t get it done. I don’t do that. Everybody recently, so much easier to get involved with and to publish something and then you think,
BR: yeah, definitely. And it should be part of your pitching, right? Again, if you’re in an offensive strategy, you should pitch in there and just in general, any sort of content marketing strategy, which really, if you’re, if you’re working in an office of mode, that’s kind of what you’re talking about as a content marketing strategy. These should be components of that, right? Because it’s giving you access to new and different audiences and then credibility. You can now fill that sleepy little page up with a whole bunch of stuff and it has some diversity, right? It has, you know, Xyz law group.com. It has a Forbes article, it has an just feels that whole, that whole thing feels more credible and trustworthy. So, um, so you should probably be doing that anyway or figure out how to do that. And it’s really as easy as a kind of building a content marketing strategy with an agency that has access to those writers. Or if you want to do the hard work, uh, you can actually go out and recruit those articles or those writers.
MC: One more question. Have those relationships in place, publishing things on PR, newswire, health. This is one.
BR: Yeah, yeah. Go, yeah, go. Yeah, we actually had somebody reach out to us and kind of ask about that. I, if you have something that’s newsworthy, um, then I think, you know, as a part of your PR approach, um, going out there and publishing on PR newswire is okay if you’re just, because what it will end up happening again if it’s newsworthy is you know, journalists and even these freelance journalists are still actively monitoring the newswire for stories and ideas. And so oftentimes you’ll get those things picked up and not that the PR newswire will necessarily have a placement effect, but you could potentially get covered in a place that does have, um, you know, a more capable strength and get into those circles. So I think if you truly have a newsworthy thing, and this probably requires you to be working with a PR firm, um, that that’s not a bad strategy, but if you’re just trying to pump in, you know, every sale that you make a into there, you’re probably wasting your,
MC: mine’s going to see it. Nobody cares. Someone else is interested in Bob’s talking about her writing, like you said, or whatever. The other part about it, which I think ends up working, I don’t know how much, I haven’t been able to test it and so long that I don’t know what kind of effect it would have in today’s Google, but there are so many small local news outlets like digital news outlets that actually just reprint the press release. Like they don’t, they don’t do is grab it right off the wire and then they, they might change a few things and then they put it right on their website. And so you might get lucky. Um, so if you’re working with a PR agency, make sure that’s like a general component of their strategy because they already have a subscription to PR newswire and it doesn’t cost them a whole lot to be sending out a couple of extra press releases on your behalf a quarter or something like that.
BR: Yeah. And again, you don’t have a lot of things in the serps or whatever. It can’t hurt to just kind of fill up those surface with something. And then again, like he said, strikes something, another one that I think is a really good strategy. And again, usually it requires somebody to help manage it because it can be overwhelming is Horrow or help out a reporter. It’s now been acquired but that’s still the name. And so that is just where the citizen journalists and freelance journalist and true journalist actually go out in order to get sources kind of in mass quantity or simpler and you just sign up for it. Um, you filter for your particular area or expertise or industry, uh, and you’ll get a whole bunch of reports or queries and you answer them and answer them in a timely manner. And you know, your name and brand, it doesn’t always give you a back link but it gives you a brand mentioned and a, it’s an easy way to kind of like really pop those up.
BR: And there’s a lot of evidence that those brand mentions a Google’s getting smart enough, um, that’s actually see those and kind of treat them like a backlink. So, um, definitely, definitely worth doing. Okay. Number four, a, and we’ve kind of already talked about this, but influencing the reviews. Um, and always put a caveat next to this, it has to comply with the terms of service. So don’t try anything like buying reviews. If somebody, I mean a lot of times you’ll, you’ll get offers. People was like, oh, you can by reviews or you can get a, you know, me to post a bunch of reviews for you. That’s not going to work, then it will probably get you in hot water. But when I talk about influencing the reviews, um, it’s kind of what, um, you mentioned earlier, Mike, is just making it part of your process every time you encounter or work with the client.
BR: Um, given that extra step, hey, if you know, if you were pleased, you know, give him a little link that goes directly to, uh, to Google reviews or to Yelp or whatever you think is the most important for your, or if you’re looking at your serps for your brand and you already see something pop in there like Yelp, then start using Yelp, right? It’s already in your syrup. So let’s try to fill it full of reviews. And then it, that’s as easy as putting it as a part of your email. Or if you’re a restaurant, having a little card, you know, that goes out every time you lay down in the bill, say, Hey, review me on Yelp. And you can strategically hand those out to customers, you know, are satisfied or gave you the big tip or whatever the case may be. Um, but you can, you can start to make that a part of your regular process and build those reviews so that, uh, so they can’t be knocked down by, by one bad review.
BR: Um, number five, something we mentioned, um, and again, we, we deal in the legal space so maybe they’re just a little more adept at this. Um, but like Mike said, it rarely works. Uh, but in those cases where the, the, uh, the, uh, offense is, uh, maybe a trademark violation, somebody using your brand a incorrectly inaccurate or just trying to kind of hijack it. Um, there are things that Google will do and they are a bit productive of brands being used. Nefariously so even like, you know, they, they don’t really like you kind of bidding on other people’s brands and stuff like that. So, so they are a little bit receptive to that. And then the other thing is TMCA protocols. There’s some specific ways that you can, a lot of this has to do with kind of um, copyright violations and stuff like that. But, um, but sometimes there’s a legal angle. Um, and you should definitely, um, depending on what industry, some of these are a little nastier than others, um, you should definitely protect your brand. So even if you’re not in a crisis and you’re just kind of a part of your normal, you should monitor. We’re going to talk about that in a second. Your brand and if somebody tries to use your good reputation for ill gotten gains and like you should take action.
BR: I’m number six. Branding and influencer marketing. Um,
MC: so this is, this is one. You actually had us do some influencer stuff. The whole sort of influencer marketing. Basically what this approach is is generally saying that, okay, let’s talk about paid influencer marketing, which is like the simplest way to do it. Um, which is simply to go out and find some influences in your space and pay them to write about you. Um, it sounds kind of dirty and like gray hat and seated sponsored content in general, which is basically what category this falls into, um, is, you know, is a totally legit thing in the, you know, in the, in the marketing space and on the Internet. And most of these influencers are going to let people know that like, Hey, this is a sponsored piece of content. Um, and but their audience trust them so they know that’s how they make money. They know that’s how they stay employed.
MC: And so like, it’s not a negative experience for the audience, but more importantly, you get some content published on another site. You get the back link you want, you can kind of dictate how that, you know, how that content experience goes because you’re paying for it. So that’s the paid way to do it. The, the cooperative influencer marketing a while lengthier in time, but certainly, um, less so in a, in dollars spent is just identifying and starting to create relationships and move into content partnerships with people that obviously aren’t competitive with what your solution or like your, you know, your service or product. But those adjacent influencers that have audience already have their own blogs, have their own social footprint, and then working with them to maybe do a content exchange, um, or start to get their attention and work on pieces of content together.
MC: Um, you know, one of the most common ways to do that is, you know, let’s take the logs ample for, you know, for one, maybe partner up with them, you know, to, uh, you know, with a bunch of bloggers to rank, you know, the top 10, um, divorce law bloggers on the Internet today, where do you get really good information and endorsed by, you know, an actual divorce attorney. And then you create your own list and you put that out there and then they would in turn see it and want to share it because they’re on it. You create a partnership and then you work on some sort of piece of content together, offering them your expertise, um, and maybe free content for their website, which is good for their audience or something like that. So influencer marketing can be done in a number of different ways. That’s probably a whole different podcasts, you know, it’d be hard for you and, and kind of cover. Um, and I, I didn’t really admit, I’m not, I wouldn’t actually like identify myself as an influencer marketing expert. I think it’s a really cool strategy. I think there’s lots of different things that um, you can do, uh, to leverage it. But more often than not, the organic waste is you take a lot of time, um, and a lot of, a lot of effort. So it’s a highly managed process.
BR: Right? Totally, totally. Okay. Number seven. Um, so this is one when I talked about influencing search demand, this is one of those, um, that, that that’s kind of what I’m talking about here and this is the anchor text and the surrounding text in your page to start to reshape suggested searches. So, um, when you look at those suggested searches and you don’t like the way they’re talking about your particular brand or the things that they think are important in your brand. And again, this is sort of the long strategy. Uh, for sure you can start to talk about things on your website and on those third party publications are guest posting or things that you do out into the market is you start to characterize um, certain things, maybe your products, maybe your services, maybe the problems that you solve, start to use your own sort of branded language around that.
BR: And then potentially a, assuming that you are influencing the market, you can actually, the way people search for those things. And so this can be a, in a reputation situation, this can be um, something that you can work with. Um, some of the kind of devious strategies that we’ve used is it’s really important when, when a crisis does happen to look at the, the terminologies that are being used in that crisis scenario that the type of search trends, uh, and uh, related searches that it is generating and then see if there is a combative strategy, um, to address those searches and kind of move them in a different direction. I wish I could think of a very specific example, but um, but you can actually take that and try to build content that satisfies that query that’s not related to the, you know, to the crisis or to the negative scenario, right?
BR: It’s somehow you sort of turn that and twisted it into something that’s more positive to influence that. So a fairly complex long strategy. Um, but it’s something in certain cases that can be be done effectively and just again, addressing those search suggestions and trying to kind of reshape that. Um, number eight, this is, um, this is a really popular one. Definitely is something you should think about on an offensive basis. If you don’t have a lot of, and again, this is usually the case with, uh, you know, someone who’s not paying attention to their SEO at all is if your serps are really kind of bland and generic, uh, and don’t have any sort of Google features, don’t have snippets in them, don’t have photos, don’t have youtube videos, don’t have maps and everything. It may make sense for you to actually do things that will influence Google to put those features into your branded search engine results page.
BR: Right? So, uh, get on Google my business and make sure that your map shows up there with your business location. Make sure that you are doing some PR so you show up in the news and there’ll be news features in your serve. Um, get on Pinterest maybe, um, and try to get photos in there or you know, kind of flood the internet and some of the places that you see and this is as easy as taking your brand and do an image search and trying to kind of get yourself positioned up there or looking for what sites, uh, Google is taking images of your brand off of and figuring out how to influence those to get, um, you know, better images out there, right? So politicians always suffer from this. Like the people that don’t like him always get the most ridiculous photos of them.
BR: So like figure out kind of how to influence that youtube video. I mean, yeah, no, I love those. And the Internet on patients. And let me tell you a Breitbart is famous for this. You know, just for sure it’s like, oh, there’s no good pictures. Um, okay. Um, number nine, I only mentioned it because there are maybe some times that this would work. Um, this is more from us a digital marketing strategy where you can maybe insert this, I don’t know, it belongs in reputation management, but it is something to consider and that is, um, separate keyword specific domain. So we’re actually working on a strategy right now where we’re using some keywords, specific domains, uh, to kind of channel some traffic, um, and to generate some leads. Um, but, um, and so Google’s getting smart about that. So just because you have a keyword specific domain doesn’t mean you’re going to, you’re going to own and dominate that keyword. But there may be some strategies there. Um, again, maybe in reputation management, uh, maybe in a larger context, but probably kind of the
MC: weaker lucky so far, but at least seven years ago today, it’s definitely, yeah, it’s a tough one that’s as fresh. It depends on your market, the keyword marketplace you’re dealing with.
BR: Yeah. A number 10, I’ll mention this just because it’s been done. If you have oodles and oodles of money and you’re worried about reviews and stuff, I mean,
BR: or wants to take control of negative. Exactly. Exactly. I was watching one podcast and they were talking about, I can’t remember the scenario. I wish I could, but there was one that was a, I feel like it was whole foods or something like that and they just got up against, maybe not, I probably shouldn’t actually mention a brand cause I probably disparaging them somehow. But anyway, there was a pretty significant brand that had a review problem. Um, and they actually kind of got themselves and uh, I think some reverse trouble because then they’re always like, oh, like you’re going to buy us with money, you know. But anyway, um, so there’s something there. Um, and again, the last, number 11 probably the most important thing you can do and all of these tactic is just constantly be monitoring your brand and paying attention to and trying to strengthen your rankings when nothing’s going on. Um, and then if you’re monitoring appropriately, you’ll know the moment something happens. And that’s probably the most powerful thing you can do in a crisis is just know about his speech
MC: so that you can react as quickly. I know we’re at the end of our list or whatever, but I wanted to ask you about because I just remembered it. Um, you know, I’ve met a lot of people here. I haven’t seen it in a while because I haven’t been doing the Seo reputation management like Gig for a while. But remember the rip off report, like this website that exists out there that like automatically puts negative reviews of you up there then as you called them. So basically it’s a scam. It’s a scam you can’t do anything about because it produces negative results on purpose and then they pitch you SEO reputation management as a service, um, which is so frustrating that Google even allows that to exist. Um, have you seen that recently? And if so, how would you recommend somebody combat against that? Because I remember the last time I tried to get rid of something like that. It was and it was damn near impossible.
BR: Yeah. I mean, luckily we haven’t run in to anybody with a rip off report problem. Again, usually a that happens, uh, to someone that, you know, hasn’t
BR: been paying attention. I think it’s getting less strong because I think they realize what it is. I mean it’s essentially a lead generation site for both lawyers, um, and reputation management companies and that sort of thing. So, um, last time I saw it when I came across your point, I have not my brother in a while. So for all the agency folks out there, if your family member has an STL reputation management problem, refer them elsewhere because cause I could move that thing for, you know, come hell or high water, my brother and he didn’t do anything wrong by the way, and I won’t even mention his business. So it’s like not even a component of like this conversation, but um, yeah, he got scammed by these people and he came to me, his brother who’s a digital marketer and he, you know, desperately asked me to fix it.
MC: And I mean, I could not, it was fun. It’s on, you know, obviously a long list of, of general failures as we all should have as digital marketers, but that is near the top of things that I was never able to resolve. So if you run into that thing, uh, you know, email bill immediately cause yeah, I haven’t seen that in a, actually I just popped in to kind of like see, cause it just struck me that I have not actually run into that problem. Um, but yeah, it looks like, um, so they’re, they do seem to still operate. It looks like they’ve run into some problems as you would suspect they are. That there’s a lot of litigation around and against them and uh, it looks like in the EU, um, from the rip off. And that was actually a thing. I don’t know if it’s still there in a search warrant.
BR: Right. Yeah, that’d be super interesting. But yeah, it looks like they’ve, like I said, as we would suspect, gone surprised, um, that they would run into some problems. It’s gone. Yeah. I think that’s probably a scam. Uh, it’s gone by the wayside because, yeah, I’m seeing a lot of stuff about, um, how they’re running into some problems as they should. I mean, that’s tough. Have the power they had was, I mean it probably had a, you know, a good intention at some point, but then people just used to literally gone to camp that out. It’s like how we saw it as your own branded search results. Like Bri was saying, like, it’s not just monitoring, it’s like go look at the sites that are ranking for you. So randomly I just went and did you know my brother’s thing, right? And I’m seeing something called manta.com all the listing sites like, so if you’re Yext is the best way to like resolve this issue very quickly, go to Jakks, you know, sign up. It’s not that expensive. And I hate to be a shill for Jakks, but um, it’ll automatically take your business listing, which is usually involved with your brand name, right. And standardize it across the thousands of listing sites all over the Internet. And it’s worth every penny. Um, remember when we were doing that, I won’t name the client, but it was for a bank. Um, and we’ve, we hooked that up and you
MC: found out like later on, even after I left Kaleidico of the amount of traffic that it was actually driving both to their website. And then incidentally, how many like map visits it was sending people and we couldn’t believe like the, the amount of outside traffic that it ended up sending their way. Was that, is that accurate description of like what you’ve discovered? I can, yeah, it was, it was kind of huge. We really weren’t. Um, so we knew it was important. Do we knew it was the consistency. And whenever you’re dealing with banks, you’re often deal with branches and so, but the amount of, of, of traffic it was generating and driving and phone calls, um, to those banks and a tms. So one of the things that was really interesting about the Yext implementation is that we were seeing a lot of mobile searches where people were just trying to find the closest, you know, Xyz Bank Atm, and it was driving people to their ATS.
BR: It was driving people to their branches. Um, in, in large numbers. It was probably, um, again, like, cause we weren’t, and this is really a statement to agencies. Like you got to really be good about reporting your successes and, and even being aware of them because a lot of times we do so many things that we just, we don’t bubble enough of those up to the client. But, um, when they shut it down, I would signif I would believe that there would be a significant change in their branch, like foot traffic. Um, because so many of those, um, we’re, we’re being provided by that UX component. And without something like Yext, when you’re dealing with hundreds of branches, um, and there’s other situations, salons, uh, those kinds of things. Without that, you just simply can’t manage it. Not only can you not manage all your locations and keep those accurate, but you can’t manage all of the different directory sites that maybe it’s amazing like what Weirdo sites people use.
BR: Like I think my wife still uses mapquest and actually prints out directions, you know, I mean like, who does that? So, um, but people do is the point. And so, yeah, again, like we’re not a partner, um, w with the [inaudible] or anything like that. But, um, but you know, if you’re in that, cause we don’t do a lot of retail space. Um, but if you are in the retail space or you are managing bank branches and stuff like that, uh, were those kind of location and, and now with AI assistance, like not to believe her this, but with everybody talking to their phones for directions, uh, you better, you know, you better do that. I know even for like, we have a pretty big church that I go to and, and we’re always managing our locations because whenever we change anything, service times, I kind of stuff it’s a nightmare because there are hundreds of sites. Um, and, and invariably somebody like, oh, like this is the wrong surface time. What are you looking at? manta.com? Like I don’t even know what that is. Right.
BR: We’re right. So these, yeah. So if you’re in any of that, any kind of sort of retail, um, location based business, um, yeah, you’ve got to do something that’s part of your reputation management, making sure that people are getting accurate information about, sure your business. Can’t think of anything else. That’s what a lot of stuff to giving. What was it? I’ll look at, you know, I would consult an expert would be my first step. And then the second step, if you’re a real DIY fan, um, than just, you know, real listen to this podcast, check out the show notes and then of course read, read, read everything you can. Um, there are people that do this. So we’re digital marketers. We focus on, you know, lead generation as I do in my job and then, and then sales and it’d be our as well. And there’s some people that kind of do the Seo.
MC: Reputation management is like a specialty thing. It’s almost like being a surgeon. Um, so, you know, read what you can. Uh, yeah, that’s the only thing I can say. It’s, it’s a tough problem to have. So if you don’t have it yet and you’re listening to this podcast and go get on the offense, man, like take care of it now and then you just don’t have to worry about it. Totally. All right, we’re going to let you go. I’m glad you’re here as always, uh, share and, and get our podcast out there. So other marketing directors and Cmos can get the advantage of this. Um, we’re opening up a lot more channels. A, you can find us on Kalydeco. We’ve got, uh, uh, uh, bill rice, my youtube channel. We’re starting to light up and we’re talking about a lot of similar sort of thing.
BR: So, um, so a search for bill rice on Youtube and uh, take a look at some of the video and uh, again, as always, let us know how we can support you. Leave comments, leave feedback or just reach out to us directly and let us know. And we talk about masses. Well, we love talking or just broadly about two podcasts. Platforms don’t even know we aren’t spot. Are we on Spotify? These see these are the, Oh, oh, we are. Okay. Well, these are things I should ask our technical support. I think we, I think we are on Spotify. Yeah. I mean I think, I think we square it out to all of them, but I know they just bought anchor. I tried to play with anchor once and we actually almost started with banker or a anchor. We use buzz sprout. It’s probably super, yeah, super simple. It’s based platform, but it is one of the easiest. So, yeah. So anyway, um, if you guys are smart on podcasts and tell us we should be somewhere else, let us know.
BR: Help us. We’re not podcast experts, but we do want to get the message out because we do think like, I dunno, at least Mike’s reasonably intelligent.
From a personal perspective, it’s easy to understand what online reputation management is. We make our personal account private, we limit what we share on social media, and we take steps to protect ourselves.
So why do many companies fail to do this for their brands or their companies?
Let these statistics speak for themselves: 97% of consumers read online reviews to find a business or service they need, and 64% of consumers trust search engine results (almost entirely from Google) when looking for info and news.
Unfortunately, most companies don’t learn or prepare for the concept of reputation management SEO until there is some sort of crisis or damage already made to their reputation.
Imagine if your business reputation is not only damaged, but those damaging results are popping up at the top of a Google search about you. As you learned earlier, almost all of your audience and potential customers are going to see those damaging things and trust those things to be true.
While Google and SEO can boost your business in multiple ways, you need to learn to protect yourself from Google as well.
In this post, we’re going to go over exactly what reputation management is, why reputation management SEO is important, as well as give you key defensive and offensive strategies that you can use to protect yourself and your business.
What Is Reputation Management?
Your reputation is the message, branding, and impressions that your business or company gives off to consumers and potential consumers. Managing that reputation means knowing what people are saying about you and influencing the perceptions of your brand to put yourself in a positive light.
One of the main ways to do that is through SEO. With SEO, you’re able to somewhat control how your content is received, how your message is portrayed, and more (read more about using SEO for brand reputation here).
But the key words to note from the previous paragraph are these: somewhat control. In the grand scheme of things, you can do your best to control how Google works for you, but at the end of the day, you cannot control Google. This means that this search engine can directly control your brand reputation.
And let’s be real here: we all know that the first or second thing that any consumer does when they encounter your business is go to Google, search you, and take a look at what’s written about you.
Remember from earlier, too, that the majority of consumers trust the results they see. So if you’re not careful and not on top of reputation management SEO, then this could severely impact your business.
Why Reputation Management SEO Is Important
Let’s start off by looking at a detailed example of an SEO management crisis to see why reputation management SEO is so important.
Let’s say you’re a personal injury attorney firm. You want to be using attorney SEO tips in order to craft your messaging and branding that gives off a helpful and trustworthy reputation.
Think of your run of the mill trial lawyer or personal injury attorney. Almost all of what they do, let’s say 90% of their job, is routine and mundane. They’ll go through similar steps, similar trials, support their clients, take things through court, and follow a general legal protocol and process.
So, as you can probably imagine, the search results for any lawyer or personal injury law firm are going to mirror that and be rather ordinary or even boring.
However, also consider the media’s fascination with the legal system. From sensational trials to personal injury cases, chances are that at some point in any firm’s lifespan, there’s going to be one or two cases that attract public interest and becomes hot in the media.
And how do publications and media websites garner attention? Negativity and controversy.
So if and when you get one of those sensationalized cases, you’re also going to get heaps of negative media and controversy attached to your business that are going to appear above the other mundane and boring search results.
Let’s use this example in order to demonstrate two things.
Setting Up a Defense
First, why you need defensive strategies. If you’re not currently in crisis, you’re in an advantageous position. There are things you should immediately start doing so that when something like this does happen, you’ll be in a better position to take back control of your brand and your messaging.
Under normal circumstances, a search for your company or brand is likely going to return some pretty standard results: your company home page, perhaps some reviews of your company, and maybe some of your optimized content.
In the attorney example, you might have your attorney page listed, your contact page, your services info, etc. Farther down the results, you might have social media results, LinkedIn pages, Google Maps, and other sub-related results.
Under these perfect circumstances with no crisis to deal with, you’re almost entirely in control of the SERP (search engine results page) by implementing a bit of SEO and other digital marketing strategies.
But if you don’t proactively use SEO to make these search results strong and attractive in the eyes of Google, then even the smallest crisis is going to bump those results way down and replace them the negative press you don’t want.
Following our example from earlier, instead of your law firm’s homepage at the top, you’ll see a journalist’s article on, “Concern over XYZ Law Group’s Handling of the Case” or “Can XYZ Handle this trial?” since those are going to have more power than your weak and unoptimized pages.
And this will only continue to spiral: big publications will publish, then smaller ones based off of that, then regional sites, then other blogs and law sites will cover it, and it will give Google tons of info to fill your business’ SERP. You’ll lose control almost instantly.
That is unless you follow some defensive strategies to keep yourself out of this crisis situation if and when it comes up.
An Offense Is Necessary During Crisis
When you are in crisis, you’re going to need offensive strategies. These are strategies to implement during a reputation crisis to help you overcome the immense hole that you find yourself and your brand in.
This is especially true if you never set up any defensive strategies. You’ll be in a hole so deep that it may take you years to climb out. We wish we were exaggerating. If that doesn’t push you to set up a defense, we don’t know what will.
And, don’t worry: if you’re already mid-crisis, there are things you can do offensively to begin to pull yourself out of the hole.
Reputation Management SEO Strategies
Now that we’ve probably scared you about your own reputation management, it’s time to get into the strategies, both offensive and defensive, that you can implement to adjust the SEO reputation of your brand.
Once you understand those, we will go into the specific tactics you can use to put those strategies to work.
1. Change Who Ranks on the Page
Pretty simple. Instead of other people’s content and pages ranking first, you want to work so that your information and content ranks first. This is a common strategy, especially with SEO and marketing firms, but there are other things you can do.
2. Changing Rank Order
This is similar to number one. It will work to adjust the order of rankings. So perhaps other bad things will still rank, but your information and content will rank first and the other things will rank 15th, for example.
3. Changing Content on Ranking Pages
This strategy will create content or re-work old content to make that content stronger and, thus, rank higher on your SERP.
4. Changing Google SERP Features
Google chooses the SERP features based on the content, the power of your pages, and the power of pages posting about you. You can influence Google to choose the SERP features that are going to represent and protect your brand as opposed to featuring things that will hurt your reputation.
5. Shift Search Demand
Finally, you can shift what people are searching for. Instead of searching for things that are going to produce negative results, shifting the audience attention to different searches allows you to showcase what you want to portray for your brand easier than if people keep searching for what will turn up negative results.
Reputation Management SEO Tactics
All of those strategies sound great, right? So how do you actually go about fixing your problems and getting those strategies working for you?
Here are the actionable defensive and offensive tactics that you can use. The great news? Each of these tactics will impact one or more of the five strategies we just went over.
1. Getting Links Pointing to Strategic Pages (Not Just the Home Page!)
This is both an offensive and a defensive strategy. Make sure that your pages have enough links. Work with other sites, make sure other places are linking to your content and info, have them advocate for you and your site.
And not just your homepage! You want all of your SERP features to be strong in order to bump out negative stuff and keep it out proactively. Back to the attorney SEO example, you want things to link to your services, your individual lawyers, your blog content, your most active/used attorney pages, etc.
Using the law example, you can use your employees to your advantage. Maybe they have connections to local universities where they teach or clients who blog or work at newspapers. This can build up who links to your employee and, thus, your site’s various pages.
2. Pitching Journalists, Bloggers, and Editors
This is an offensive strategy that’s going to be crucial during a time of crisis. You should also practice your pitching skills before any crisis occurs so you know exactly what to do, which journalists/writers to pitch, and how to pitch things to go your way.
Get your PR employees prepared or put the PR hat on yourself. Continually have a process whereby you’re pitching the good things that you’re doing.
With the law firm example, this can be in terms of the cases you’re handling and the services you provide. But, don’t be shy about pitching other good things you’re involved with like community service, teaching, philanthropy, etc.
This is going to build your reputation as trustworthy and good. It’s also going to rebuild your reputation in a time of crisis. Building personal and professional relationships with these writers is going to help mitigate negativity during a crisis.
Think about it: if a journalist has previous experience with you and knows that your business does great things, then they’re going to be less negative in their portrayal of you, even during a crisis.
3. Creating Your Own Content
There are all kinds of places, like Medium, Huffington Post, Forbes, etc, that are authoritative and that will rank high on a SERP. While you’re going to be pitching journalists like we just talked about, these authoritative and powerful sites also accept content from businesses, freelancers, and individuals a.k.a you!
Take advantage of that and provide your own content to them and to other guest posting opportunities. This will likely put that content high on your SERP, perhaps even during a crisis.
4. Influencing the Reviews
Review sites like the reviews on Yelp, Google Listings, and Facebook all have a huge influence on your brand reputation: 87% of customers won’t consider a business with low ratings/reviews and 40% of those people will form a strong opinion of your business after reading only 1 to 3 reviews.
Both offensive and defensive strategies need to incorporate customer reviews as a tactic. This doesn’t mean you “buy” good reviews or force customers to give you 5-stars. That puts you in a bad light and violates review site terms and conditions.
So what can you do to influence reviews? Keep providing the high-quality product and service that you do, and simply ask your customers to fill out a review. Make it easy for them to find where to leave a rating or review.
You can even give an incentive. You could have customers bring proof of a review to get free shipping on their next order, for example.
This will strengthen your great reviews so they won’t disappear or get bumped down during a crisis. It can also help to rebuild your reputation as a positive business during a crisis.
5. Legal Action
If publications are putting out content about you and your business that is false, slanderous, libelous, or violates a trademark or DMCA laws, you can take legal action to get that removed. This can be done through Google directly or through the offending party.
This is important both as a defensive strategy to avoid a potential crisis as well as an offensive strategy to prevent a crisis from spiraling out of control.
6. Branding and Influencer Marketing
Similar to pitching to journalists, branding and influencer marketing is going to help you build links, content, and relationships that are going to boost your reputation and your SEO all at once.
Speak to people who are large influencers in your industry. With the lawyer example, this could be a well-known lawyer in the area writing a guest post about your firm or a big-name client recommending your services to others.
And don’t be afraid to branch your network out digitally. Look online for big influencers in your industry and make that connection. Look for both digital and real-world connections that can help influence your brand reputation.
7. Reshape Suggested Searches
Think about the last time you searched for something on Google. Remember how “suggested searches” come up before you finish typing? For example, you could be searching for, “personal injury attorney in California” but before you finish typing it might suggest “personal injury lawsuit goes wrong.” You want those suggested searches that Google gives to put you in a positive light, not instantly give a negative one.
But during a crisis, that’s exactly what Google will do. It will suggest harmful and negative searches because those results are the ones with the most power, which will hurt your business.
Adjusting those suggested searches is a crucial strategy to implement during a crisis. Do this by putting out different content, using other strategies on this list to give power back to the “good” searches, use different anchor text and keywords to adjust the searches, etc.
Be consistent in using new keywords/text in your content to essentially force the shift of the searches.
Too often, we get in a routine with our wording and language. We forget about how the common client comes to us, what they look for on a search engine, how they talk about things and the specific words they use.
It’s important to start to understand the client from the client’s perspective and begin to reshape, the content inside of your pages so that you can get those pages into those high demand search results.
8. Using Sites That Influence Google Features
This is something that’s implied with many of the other strategies we went over before. You want to use sites that will naturally come up on a SERP to your advantage. Use review sites, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc), Google Business, Youtube, news publications (Forbes, HuffPost, Medium), Google Maps, etc.
Put time and energy into strengthening your presence on all of these various sites, including your own website! This means influencing reviews (remember number 4 on this list?), building links, creating new content, building those relationships with journalists and influencers, etc.
Essentially, putting that effort and energy into everything we’ve gone over so far is going to make other people and sites work to your brand’s advantage on your SERP. You want to optimize these things so much so that they will remain as top results even during a crisis.
While this is last on our list, it’s probably one of the most important defensive reputation strategies you need to be using. How can you know if there’s a crisis or something you need to deal with if you have no clue what’s going on on your SERPs or with your SEO?
You need to be consistently monitoring your brand’s reputation and online presence. This will help you determine which of the above strategies and tactics to implement as well as help you get into the offensive game during a crisis as soon as possible.
This can also be true for monitoring positive events and happenings with your brand. You can learn ASAP when there’s a positive review left by a client or an article praising your latest accomplishments.
Use these to your advantage! If someone is talking good about you, reach out and figure out what you can do to continue to amplify that message, or potentially showcase that message.
Phew: we’ve gone over a lot here.
But hopefully, this has given you a clear guide to reputation management SEO along with particular instructions that you can start implementing immediately.
However, this is far from the end of the information or discussion on this topic. Any questions, concerns, ideas, or comments are welcome!
If you think that you still need help with your reputation management or you need some more info, don’t hesitate to contact us. You can also read this article for some other tips and ideas about brand reputation management.