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Managing Your Google Reputation - SES San Francisco

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We are almost at the finish line, but there are still a few more sessions to go so hang in there with me.

Next up we have Trackur's Andy Beal (Trackur) going solo.

I follow Andy on Twitter. Andy is the Indiana Jones of reputation management. He also has great teeth and quite possibly, the best accent ever (he's originally from England, and now lives in North Carolina).

Tip of the day from Andy is to focus on using reputation management techniques now rather than wait for a crisis to hit.

5 Keys to Search Engine Reputation Management (SERM)

1. Rethink Keywords

Give thought about what people will type in when searchers are looking to find out about you and your reputation. Don't just think about your main brand keyword, also consider acronyms and misspellings. What you want is for lots of your pages to be ranking for your brand.

2. Spider Friendly

Make sure your name is in the page URL.

3. Me, Myself, and Irene

Whenever you create an About You page, keep mentioning your company brand so it ranks well in Google. Remember to talk about yourself in the third person [also, Andy doesn't recommend watching this film with your parents].

4. Anchor's Away

The anchor text is critical, so pay attention to it. Make sure you include your company name within your anchor text copy.

5. SuperBrand to the Rescue!

Your company name typed into Google will result in you showing up in the Number 1 spot. This is because you are the SuperBrand. This means that you lend your authority and credibility over to other pages you link to (ideally pages under your control or influence).

Now that we know the basics, here are some reputation management tips:

Sentiment Audit

The first step is to conduct a Google Sentiment Audit by auditing the first 30 results for your keyword. In a spreadsheet, simply record: rank URL, page title, status (is the page owned, controlled, influenced, or third party?), and sentiment (positive, neutral, or negative).

Time and effort should be allocated as follows:

  • Spend 80% on content you fully own
  • Spend 10% on content you control
  • Spend 10% on content you influence

The Indented Number 2 Spot

If you are Number 1 for your company brand, and you have a second page in a Top 10 rank, Google will move that second page to the Number 2 spot (indented). So if you can move that second page within your site into the Top 10, you will earn that Number 2 spot.

Branded Domains and Sub-Domains

You can also drown the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) by acquiring other company branded domains and sub-domains. Microsoft is a great example of building out other sites, linking between them and insulating themselves against Microsoft-hater sites.

Blogs

Set up a company blog in WordPress.com and Blogger.com. These can rank really well in the SERP.

Other Social Networks

Facebook Pages work really well. The key is to get the Facebook vanity URL to include your company name. To get the vanity URL, you only need to have 25 fans.

LinkedIn ranks well. Remember to speak in the third person and work in your keyword density. Also remember to get your vanity URL.

Twitter is good for getting the page into the Google SERP. Again, make sure you talk about yourself in the third person in the bio. When someone mentions something good about your company name, always retweet it (using the traditional RT).

Flickr works remarkably well. Mention your company name in every photo. But a word of caution: Don't use it to sell anything as Flickr will terminate you. Remember to link into your Flickr photos from other pages.

Don't forget about YouTube for those video rankings.

Wikis - Don't set up a Wikipedia profile if you think that you will come under attack or if you have a bad reputation. Instead, Andy advises using Wetpaint.com. This is also a wiki, but only you have full control over what is said in it.

GetSatisfaction.com is a great way to get into the SERPs. Andy had one link going from his company site to this, and it went Top 10.

Business Partners

Get your partners to set up a page that is focused on content about you, also with an optimized URL. Don't forget to cross link.

Sponsorships

Consider sponsoring events as these are also a good way to rank well in the SERPs.

Things to be Careful of:

  • Linking to others' content (will it always remain positive?)
  • Wikipedia (for its unbiased nature)
  • Paid posts (but do it now, rather than when you face a reputation attack)
  • Paid search doesn't always work well for reputation search

Tips for Sanitizing Google

  • Get an early alert so you are aware of anything negative (e.g., Google Alerts)
  • Look beyond the first 10 results
  • Don't panic!
  • If something negative is written, you can ask for it to be removed (particularly if it's untrue)
  • Be benevolent
  • Look for legal loopholes (e.g., trademark or copyright infringements)

Andy says, if all else fails, sue them!


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