Most people don’t give online reputation management a second thought until it’s too late and they are forced into a disagreeable, and potentially costly, situation. It’s easy for individuals and businesses to take their reputations for granted when there isn’t a sleuth of negativity plastered all over the Internet. Until the day they find their bottom line being negatively impacted by what’s said about them online. Then all of a sudden, online reputation becomes of paramount importance.
So how do you recover from an online reputation crisis and most importantly, how do you prevent yourself from having one in the first place?
Damage Control: What to Do Once You’re in Crisis Mode
If there are negative posts about you on the internet, one of the first things you have to do is start flooding the same SERP – the exact same keywords – with positive mentions.
- Create a list of keywords. For what keywords do the negative posts appear? Is it just your name, or the company name? Do the negative posts appear around variations of the name?
- What are the negative URLs you are trying to bury? Create a list of all of the negative URLs you are trying to bury. Start tracking the keywords they are ranking for and their current positions.
- Create or optimize your top-tier social profiles. If possible, make sure your social profiles include the target keywords. Some of the most powerful profiles that always rank very highly are LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus. Make sure these are as well optimized for the target keywords as possible.
- Register your second-tier social profiles. Use a service like KnowEm to register hundreds of secondary profiles. Some of these second-tier social profiles have high domain authority and will quickly appear in the SERPs.
- Become a contributor for high-profile sites. Reach out to authoritative domains that are accepting guest contributions and write for them regularly. Make sure you include your keywords – your name or company name – in the title so that these will start ranking.
- Link to your social profiles in your articles. On every article that you contribute to authoritative domains, choose two or three social profiles and link to them. These links will boost the authority of your profiles and improve their rankings.
- Lather, rinse, repeat. The key will be to create so many of these positive mentions that they drown the negative ones. To do so, you’ll need to keep your social profiles updated and active, and boost their link popularity.
Finally, you’ll need to track the results of your efforts. Whether you use a tool like AuthorityLabs to track your rankings or a social media measurement tool like TrueSocialMetrics, the key at this stage is to track the effectiveness of your campaign. What are the rankings of the negative mentions? What new mentions are you seeing on social media? Which ones need a quick boost to rank even better?
Online Reputation Management: Keep Your Reputation Clean
We all know there will always be a jaded customer who will love the attention of complaining about you or your business. Keeping a pristine reputation is practically impossible. What you can do is preemptively flood the search engines with positive mentions of your brand or personal name so that new, negative mentions won’t see the light of day.
Claim Your Name Everywhere
If you haven’t already, make sure you’ve claimed your name on every possible social media site and/or profile. If your name is already taken, find the most viable variation. Make sure that the profiles have accurate information.
Promote Your Name or Brand Actively
There are sites – including Business2Community, Medium.com, BuzzFeed, and LinkedIn – where anyone can create and promote their own content. Start contributing regularly to sites like that, as well as any other relevant industry sites that welcome your contributions. Every time you write for other authoritative domains, link to your other articles, as well as your social profiles. The idea is to flood the internet with mentions of your name or brand so that the SERPs become saturated with positive, authoritative content.
Don’t Forget Multimedia
Google gives high priority rankings to results from YouTube and Google Images. Use those sites to create and share images using your name or company name. Create a Flickr account and upload your photos. Create a presentation and upload it to SlideShare. Research other opportunities so you can take over the image and video results, as well.
Don’t Get Caught With Your Pants Down
When it comes to reputation management, get ahead of the curve. Don’t find yourself in a PR crisis, suffering the results of negative reputation that can impact you on so many levels. Add reputation management to your digital marketing repertoire and prepare yourself and your brand for a future where online reputation is closely connected with your bottom line.
It’s critical for business owners to understand how important it is to have a marketing plan for the products or services their brand offers. Most businesses are constantly working to find ways to give their brand awareness a boost, hoping to connect with new customers and reinforce the relationships with existing ones to ultimately gain a loyal following. That being said, you may already have some type of marketing program in place, but are you limiting yourself to the traditional platforms that include TV, print and radio?
As the CEO and founder of an online marketing company, I know firsthand that many businesses out there are making the mistake of not exploring all their options when trying to put together an effective marketing campaign. In fact, all too often, an online marketing plan’s potential to complement other advertising efforts gets completely overlooked.
There are different ways to market your business online, but the most successful Internet marketing strategies implement each of the following elements, allowing all the pieces to work together to accomplish the level of brand visibility, website traffic and revenue you’d like to see.
1. Web Design
In this day and age, there’s no question about the necessity of businesses maintaining a strong presence online, and having a well-designed website is the number one way to do that. If you’re a business owner who views their site design as part of their online marketing efforts, you have the right idea. Any advertising and content that’s published will point back to your website to encourage consumers to take action, making it the foundation for your entire campaign. Websites should be user-friendly and appealing enough to make visitors stay, while utilizing fresh blog articles, a mobile-responsive design and other optimization techniques. These key web design features will all play a significant role in your marketing tactics.
Search engine optimization is meant to help businesses rank higher in the likes of Google, Bing and Yahoo. Without it, there’s the potential for your business to get buried somewhere deep among pages and pages of search results. We all know that most people don’t make it past the first or second page when they’re looking for something specific so if your company doesn’t stand out at the top of the rankings, you’re likely to lose quite a bit of website traffic and profit. Using SEO properly can make a big impact on how well you fare over your niche competitors.
3. Social Media
Integrating social media into your online marketing program holds a lot of value, especially since it’s free to join and a small advertising budget can go a long way. With so many thousands of people engaging on all the various social media platforms out there, being active on your own business profiles can generate a reach you won’t get anywhere else. Social media not only allows you to share information about your brand and products or services through posts, Tweets, images and video, but it also gives you the opportunity to develop a genuine bond with consumers. This leaves them feeling good about purchasing from you, as opposed to a competitor they have no connection with.
4. PPC/Banner Advertising
Gone are the days when it was sufficient enough to run a few commercials on TV and advertise in the local newspaper. The majority of the world’s population uses the Internet to get news, shop and even stream their favorite shows, ditching cable. This is where pay-per-click and banner advertising come into play. Having your company name and offerings pop up on search engines and a wide array of websites repeatedly helps you gain brand recognition and get in front of consumers who are actually looking to purchase your type of product or service, leading to a higher conversion rate.
Google may be synonymous with web traffic to many people, but Facebook refers more traffic to news sites, according to recent data from traffic analytics firm Parse.ly.
In its quarterly Authority Report, Parse.ly looked at referral traffic to the 100 top news sites, as ranked by comScore and Alexa. From May through July, 43 percent of the referral traffic came from social and 38 percent from search. Google sites – including Google.ca and Google News – and Facebook accounted for nearly three-quarters of that. By comparison, Yahoo and Twitter, numbers three and four, made up a combined total of 9.3 percent of the referral traffic.
Though Google traditionally made up the lion’s share of the referral traffic, the search giant peaked in the fall of 2013, when Facebook steadily started to increase. Other than a brief dip around October, Google has always been dominant, until last quarter. Facebook’s referral traffic share is stronger than it’s ever been, making up 38.3 percent, to Google’s 35.8 percent.
“Google is not a slouch of a referrer. It’s still very close to Facebook as a proprietor of traffic and as you can see, the next referrers are miles away from Facebook and Google as a pair, so it’s not like this is a huge tectonic shift for Facebook,” says Andrew Montalenti, co-founder and chief technology officer at Parse.ly. “Facebook overtaking Google may not be a huge surprise on its own, but I think I’m surprised to see the degree to which Google plateaued.”
Montalenti refers to a trend he’s seeing of news finding you, rather than you searching for news. With that in mind, he thinks publishers have been focused on social content more than SEO, and Facebook was there to capitalize on that and work with publishers, rather than just treat it like any other website.
In October, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt said the company’s biggest competition is Amazon, not fellow search engines Yahoo and Bing. But recent research points out that the search giant’s most fierce competitor is actually Facebook.
Last month, cloud-based marketing solution IgnitionOne found that Facebook’s display growth is up 48 percent year-over-year, while Google’s is down 9 percent. Facebook is also a formidable opponent to YouTube; not even a year after making its algorithm more video-friendly, the social media powerhouse reached 4 billion daily video views.
“I think [Facebook] executed Google’s playbook in its own vertical-focused way, in social. We sort of saw, pre-[initial public offering], it was all about user growth and acquisition. Post IPO, it was about turning on the revenue engine and paid traffic,” Montalenti says. “For a long time, Google had a moat built around search and built up its position around its strength in search. Search is this very powerful thing, but I think its realizing that social is also a really powerful thing that has something search doesn’t.”
Because search is one of the biggest drivers of app installs in the Play Store, Google is launching Search Ads on Google Play to its advertisers.
This move aims to capture people’s attention as they download new apps in what Google refer to as “I want-to-know,” “I want-to-go,” “I want-to-do,” and “I want-to-buy” moments. For example, someone getting ready to run a marathon may search for a mileage tracker app or a foodie may look for cooking apps. The update will start rolling out today to everyone who runs Search app install campaigns on AdWords.
Nordeus, a Serbian company that develops games for social networking sites, was one of the Search Ads’ early testers. According to Tomisalv Mihajlović, Nordeus’ chief marketing officer, Google Play inventory is already helping the company see significantly more app installs for Top Eleven, its top-selling football game.
“Search has already been a key component of our app promotion strategy,” says Mihajlović. “We now have an even bigger opportunity to connect with people in the moment they’re looking for new apps to download.”
To complement this move, Google is also introducing Android First App Opens, which will help advertisers better track their conversions in terms of when consumers are installing apps, opening them for the first time and taking actions within them. The tool, which works cross-channel, allows users to use advanced strategies for automated bidding, such as target CPA. In addition, advertisers can better align their AdWords conversion volume with the data they see from third-party solutions.
Universal App Campaigns, which was announced back in May, will start rolling out in the next few weeks. According to Google, this product will make it easier for marketers to promote their apps on Google Play, as well as its other properties such as YouTube and the Google Display Network.
“As the apps ecosystem continues to grow, we’re dedicated to creating products that help developers get their apps to the users who will love them,” wrote Surojit Chatterjee, director of product management for Google’s Mobile Search Adds, in a blog post.
In the sea of digital world, you need to take the right actions to stand out and shine. We know how to do that for you!