The digital world is quickly becoming as important as the non-digital world for many business functions. Not only do a large percentage of companies conduct the majority of their transactions and marketing online, but the internet is becoming the arena for maintaining a company’s reputation. When potential clients and business partners want to check you out, your online reputation will likely be one of the first things they research.
If your online reputation is pristine, this can be a boon, but if you have had disgruntled clients or some negative publicity in the past, it can pose a significant problem. Every business has had some incident where one party was left unhappy; before the internet this could be ignored. Today, however, every unhappy customer has a digital megaphone they can use to shout how bad your company was to them.
Unhappy customers usually are isolated incidents, but a full-blown PR crisis can cripple your business. A poorly planned Tweet or an ill-conceived marketing move can sometimes create a huge backlash of negative public opinion that can ruin your quarterly—or yearly—statement.
There is a whole branch of online reputation management that is devoted to restoring your online reputation called reverse SEO. Because the majority of search results most people view are limited to the first few search engine results pages (SERP), pushing any negative publicity on to the rarely viewed pages is often a winning strategy. Thankfully, there are also a number of tools available to help analyze how effective your efforts are. Here’s how you can make this strategy work for you:
- Attach videos to positive articles. Search engines rank videos higher than purely textual articles, so inserting videos to existing sites or new articles can squeeze those unflattering posts out of the top search engine rankings.
- Post optimized press releases. Properly formatted press releases with more current dates and relevant keywords will help push positive PR about your company to the front of the line. Google searches will bring up more recent content if it is properly optimized and help bury bad publicity.
- Blog. A blog which is regularly updated can be critical to pushing off bad publicity. Because search engines prefer more current content, a blog is more likely to show up on the first few SERPs than a negative news story or a rant that is a one off.
- Build quality links. Another key to making your positive sites more search engine friendly is to build quality links to them. A site that has links to and from other high reputation sites will be favored by search engines.
- Social media popularity. The number of likes, shares and views from a social media site can dramatically improve the ranking of a site. It may take some quality social media marketing, but effective use of Facebook can help elevate your positive PR and banish the critical posts of others.
Some of these reverse SEO techniques can be implemented almost immediately, but in most cases, negative publicity needs to age before it can be buried. Time may seem like a luxury when your business is in the cross hairs of the public, but like the real world, a digital reputation takes some time to rehabilitate.