First impressions will make or break you whether it’s online or in person. While in person you might have a second chance to prove yourself, online you may not that chance. While the Internet has helped many businesses increase their revenue and allowed them to grow at record paces. It has also given others the opportunity to tarnish others reputations online with ease. So what can you do to build a strong and positive reputation, to protect and prevent negative reviews and results from showing for branded terms before your brand name? Well, there are several tactics to ensure controlled and positive results show up before the negative ones do.
Here are a few questions before we get started:
- Do you have a website or blog?
- Have you claimed all of your social media profiles?
- Do you have any positive media “newspaper, magazines articles” published online?
- Have you created or claimed all of your review business sites?
- Do you have a Wikipedia page?
Why A Website is Important
Having a website/blog with a branded domain is important because it will be seeing as more authoritative than any other property such as a Ripoff Report, or any other website that is mentioning your brand in a negative manner. By having and being active on your blog you control the type of content that will be published to generate more positive content with branded terms. Also if there is any misleading information online about you or your brand you can counter the false information with facts to easily clear up your name. Plus you can link back to your social media profiles and other third party websites with positive references to make them more authoritative.
Social Media Profiles
Creating and optimizing social media profiles with branded terms will also prevent the negative results from showing up on the first page in most cases. However, you will need to do more than just set up the profiles. Being active and posting interesting content that will get people to share and like will allow you to increase the number of followers and engagements. Now with that in mind there are times when being active on social will not be enough to allow you to bury the negative content.
In one particular campaign I had the pleasure of working on. We posted daily to all the major social media platforms up to three to four times per day and yet we could not get one particular result to budge at all. Well it turns out that this particular character had bought several rounds of links to the blog posts on his website that were showing up and in my opinion completely over optimized the post.
Each post had 2 to 3 h1 tags with the client’s brand, images were labeled with titles and alt tags, major cross linking and would rework the post every 2 o 3 months. This was by far one of the most labor intensive campaigns but overall we are not doing too badly.
Have you been mentioned in any type of local newspaper, magazine or any other type of media? If the answer is, no. I am about to give you some motivation to get covered by the media. In most cases positive content tends to outrank the bad, especially if it has been indexed first or has had a major engagement. So let me guess, you are probably wondering how the heck am I going to get coverage for my local business? That is the easy part.
Doing good deeds and helping people in need is something that make people feel good about themselves. It’s a great feeling to see that you made someone’s life better, even if it was for just an hour. So partnering with non-profit organizations is a great way to get mentioned in the media, events and on their websites. Now I am not suggesting that you do this to get the positive coverage, do it because we should all do our best to help others. Also sponsoring a holiday food or toy drive are other ways to get coverage.
In the last year review sites like Yelp increased their ranking in the SERPs for branded and local searches. That’s why it’s important to claim and control your profile on these destinations before someone creates the profiles for you and starts tearing you apart online. I always recommend to every business I work with to claim their profiles and encourage customers to leave as many positive and neutral reviews before the haters ruin your reputation.
The worst part about review sites like Yelp, is in my opinion they have one of the worst algorithms for their reviews. Example, I have seen where a business will have a few 1-star reviews from people who have 0 friends and it’s their first review ever. Yet those will stick while reviews from people with multiple friends and reviews will get filtered. So when their reps call me to sell me on their advertising packages, I bring it up and they claim they will look into. After they have looked into they say that the 1-star reviews appear to be real while the others look fabricated, huh!
From my personal experience there is one website that is more authoritative than your social media profiles, media hits and review sites and that website is, Wikipedia. However, the majority of the people and many agencies do not have the slightest clue on how to get a Wikipedia page started. I will drop a few hints on what is required and if you are interested in having your very own Wikipedia page created hit me up, I might know someone that can help.
To ensure your page is approved you will need to have the following information:
- Third party resources that can be used to verify your information
However, once you have your page created it can be edited by just about anyone. So in some cases you will have your page edited by competitors, disgruntled employees and bloggers. So it’s important to monitor the page and flag the information that does not belong on the Wikipedia, such a blog post that attacks your brand.
If you are able to create all of these properties and get covered in the media, I can almost guarantee that you will control the results on the first page on just about any search engine. Unless you are dealing with an ongoing attack campaign, that I will cover next time. Ongoing attack campaigns are a bit more complex but once I have completed the research and identified all of the negative tactics that continue to come in, I will give you the road map on how to clear up your name and get the negative S#!t removed. Don’t wait until after you have been attacked because it will be harder to bury the junk results. Get started today or yesterday!