When companies are unfairly targeted by negative or incorrect information, it can be very difficult to regain their status online. Paying proper attention to search engine optimization (SEO) can help your company improve its online reputation, attract new customers and protect against negative information.
Online reputation management can be an intimidating prospect, especially if you manage a new company or have little experience with SEO. Your company can overcome its negative press using simple techniques.
Let’s look at five ways that you can construct your company’s SEO strategy to improve its reputation on the Internet.
1. Monitor Search Engine Results Pages
The first action you should take to improve your brand’s online reputation is to monitor your search engine results pages or SERPs. You should always be aware of negative information that may be circulating, and you will need to work on ways to counter this information with a positive alternative.
It is a good idea to run trial search queries that focus on positive and negative information. For example, while you want to make sure that the queries for “[My Business] Hours” and “[My Business] Services” are accurate, you will also want to search for queries like “Is [My Business] reputable?” or “Is [My Business] a scam?”
Even if you have run your business absolutely above-board, and are confident that you have always served your customers well, there may be dissatisfied patrons who did not contact you for a resolution. There may also be competitors who are looking to sow negative information about your business. This is an unfair situation, but you need to stay on top of it as much as possible.
2. Work to Rank High on Your Brand’s Main Keywords
This is one of the elementary principles of SEO. It pays to read the newest SEO rules and guidelines online to learn how search algorithms work and how you can push your own keyword searches to the top. For many keywords, there may be scores of businesses vying for the top spot.
It is no longer enough to choose an underperforming keyword based on the search engine’s tools and increase your mentions of this keyword. Keyword stuffing may have worked ten years ago, but today, it will cause your search results to slip down to the bottom of the rankings.
One way to push your business higher in the rankings is to group your keywords into clusters. Choose related keywords, and try not to fill each page with unrelated topics. Keyword clustering tools like SerpStat are available to help you brainstorm.
In order to find more keywords, it is a good idea to search for your competitors’ pages. You may want to try to compete with these businesses in your rankings.
3. Focus on Featured Snippets
Today, many people who use search engines do not even open the pages given in the results. They rely on the featured snippets and questions at the top of the page to get their information. You should focus on getting featured snippets for both negative and positive keywords and key phrases. When customers search for negative key phrases, you can counter them with your positive information.
Focus on creating definitions, lists, and question-and-answer pages. Search engines will crawl your page and index your information, automatically pulling out featured snippet data.
4. Pay Close Attention to Social Media
When optimizing SEO for positive information, it’s impossible to ignore social media. You may find that there is a great deal of negative information about your company on social media. As mentioned above, dissatisfied customers may be one source of bad information. Rumors that go viral could be another problem that your business faces. Trolls and saboteurs can also come into play.
Focus on keeping your social media presence as clean and positive as possible. You can respond to negative reviews, though you must be diplomatic, tactful, and avoid firing back angry answers. This action will only compound your negative reputation problems.
5. Create Positive News Stories
Finally, one of the best ways to reduce negative search results is to create positive content about your brand. This content should be well-constructed, well-researched, and accurate. Creating positive news stories and press releases about your brand can help increase the volume of supportive information about your brand featured online.
This positive content can appear on your own website, or you can submit articles for publication on news and press release sites. If these other pages have a high reputation themselves, it will help to lift your own reputation as well.
Managing a Damaged Reputation
These five tips from Erase.com can help your company overcome the common problem of negative information circulating online. Having a good handle on search engine results, keywords, and featured snippets can help to drive your positive information higher while displacing negative content.