What is Search Engine Online Reputation Management?

One of the questions that current and past clients ask me the most is “What is Search Engine Online Reputation Management?” and what are the online reputation management strategies that you can help with.  The reason they bring it up is because during my site audit to see if they are ready for an Affiliate Program, they usually have issues with their search engine online reputation management; or they haven’t begun any campaigns to take control over it.  So what is it and how can you implement online reputation management strategies for the search engines? (For this post we are ignoring review sites like Yelp, because this is about company controlled and not third party controlled.)

Search Engine Online Reputation Management can be looked at in three main ways.

  1. What shows up for your trademark and domain name in the search engines
  2. What turns up with the Google autofill or recommendations
  3. What turns up with modifiers like sucks, reviews, coupons, etc…

1.  What shows up for your trademark and domain name in the search engines.

The most basic type of Search Engine Online Reputation Management campaign that you need to have is to have your own sites, social profiles, etc… show up for the top ten results of your trademarks and your domain name.  If anyone else optimizes for them, they are getting exposure in front of your current customers or people who have heard about you.  If Affiliate sites or other paid channel sites like comparison shopping engines or Amazon show up for these, then they are going to try and entice your current customers to click their links with discounts or coupons or reviews and charge you for them with an Affiliate commission, on a cpc basis or a store fee, and also a network fee if you are on any of the major Affiliate networks.  Not only is it important to have all ten results for your trademark and domain, but you should start doing this before you move into any channel you have to pay for like Affiliate, Comparison Shopping Engines, Marketplaces, etc…  The worst thing you can do is have your customers look for your site, get distracted and have to pay for them again.

2.  What turns up with the Google autofill or recommendations.

When you are typing your company name, trademark or url into Google, you’ll see it start to give recommendations.  That is the autofill (This is what I call it, not the real term.).  After you type your trademark, domain name or company name into Google or most other major engines you’ll see recommended variations at the bottom of the results for more targeted searches.  Not only is it important to know what shows up in the top ten results for all of those terms, especially ones like review, scam, etc…, but if they are negative reviews or sites like Yelp, you need to work hard at knocking them out and securing the top ten so that you can have control over your name online in the search engines for all autfill and recommendations searches.

3.  What turns up with modifiers like sucks, reviews, coupons, etc…

Many people when researching a service, especially expensive ones, will look for your company name plus a modifier like reviews or scam, even if Google doesn’t recommend it.  People just naturally want to know who they are about to deal with and what they could end up with.  It is a very smart thing to do.  What is even smarter is to make sure you have the top ten listings for all of these types of main modifiers.  Not only will it help to make your potential clients and customers feel more comfortable about working with you, but you’ll also look great when they cannot find anything bad about you.  Sometimes this can be a bad thing too, but may also mean you are just very good at SEO or the people complaining are very bad at SEO.

So now that you know what Search Engine Online Reputation Management is, what are some ways to get started with a Search Engine Online Reputation Management Strategy. Although I’m not going to go into a ton of details about them, here are a few ways that you can get started with your own Search Engine Online Reputation Management Strategy.

1.  Secure your name and trademark across every major social media outlet.  A fast and easy way to do this is to use this service.  I not only love them, but I highly recommend them and use them myself.  And just to please the FTC, that is an Affiliate Link and I will be compensated if you shop through it.

2.  Buy all of the variations of the Google autofill.  If scam, reviews, sucks, etc… is showing up, make sure you buy yourdomainsucks.com, yourdomainreviews.com and the .net, .org, .biz, etc… versions.  They’ll be easier to optimize and work with.

3.  If you want to get rid of an autofill or recommendation, run a branded campaign that involves your trademark or domain.  Not only can the increased volume of searches and talk on social networks help to influence what shows up in the autofill, but you can also help to get more customers coming to your site virally via hashtags, etc…  This is extremely hard to do and can cost a lot of money, but if you are creative enough or have the money to do it, then it can work seriously well.

There are a ton of other things you can do for your Online Search Engine Reputation Management strategies like run a PPC campaign against the terms you don’t have the rankings for, etc… but the best thing to do is to make sure you have the top ten or at least 5 rankings for each of the most common variations and negative searches for your company.  Search Engine Online Reputation Management strategies can be tricky because you are taking on listings instead of keywords, but they are important to have before you move into any paid channels that show up in the search engines.

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