At this very moment, a consumer is possibly looking up your brand on a search engine. Can you guarantee that what they’d find on page one of the search results reflects positively on your brand’s reputation?
If your answer is “no,” now is as good a time as any to adopt SEO reputation management. This article explains what it is, the benefits it provides, and how it’s done. Contact Romain Berg for your SEO and digital marketing needs when you’re through.
What Is SEO Reputation Management?
SEO reputation management is the process of using search engine optimization techniques to manage a brand’s reputation online. It involves activities like content creation and social media customer relationship management and aims to maintain a brand’s image in cyberspace, manage crises, or both.
It’s impossible to control how the general public always perceives your business. Eventually, your brand may get caught up in one scandal or the other, whether of your making or due to factors outside your control.
In an increasingly connected world, negative press can spread like wildfire and persist online if you take no action. Hence, SEO reputation management helps you suppress or reorient damaging information that can affect your brand’s value.
How It Works
Typically, SEO reputation management involves outranking negative content on the search engine results pages and conversing with third parties.
In the former case, you’ll use SEO techniques like link-building and content optimization so that search engines place your content higher on the page. In the latter, you’ll talk to disgruntled customers, reviewers, and similar people in the comments sections of blogs, social media, and so on.
Naturally, you need to do extensive keyword research to discover the content people are creating and the discussions they’re having about your brand. Your searches will predominantly revolve around your branded keywords, i.e., those keywords that contain your brand’s name.
Why Is SEO Reputation Management Important?
It’s important to use SEO to manage your brand’s reputation online for several reasons, including:
It Helps to Manage Negative Press
No matter how solid your product or service is, it’s impossible to please everyone. Some objective third parties will inevitably form a negative impression of your brand or compare it unfavorably to your competitors.
When they put their thoughts about your company online and optimize what they publish for search engines, this negative press can make it to the top of a search engine results page (SERP). If you fail to monitor and intercept such negative content, it’ll be among the first results your potential customers see when they type your branded keywords into a search bar.
You Can Control the Narrative
No one knows your brand as you do, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be in control of the narrative surrounding it.
When you use SEO to rank quality content related to your brand high on SERPs, it affords you the opportunity to speak directly to your target customers and gain their trust. Earning your customers’ trust will be invaluable in the future because they’ll be more inclined to hear your side of the story when your brand faces a reputational crisis.
A Poor Reputation Will Lead to a Loss of Customers
If your customers see negative reviews about your brand in the search results, they’ll lose interest quickly. Once that happens, it’s unlikely they’ll ever look you up again.
In a worst-case scenario, some customers might read the reviews and spread the word to their friends and family. This negative word of mouth will result in even more lost customers, and it could prove fatal to your business’s chances of success.
It Can Be Profitable
SEO reputation management can be profitable. When you ensure that potential customers always see your brand in a favorable light, it can help your bottom line. Your customers will trust your brand enough to patronize it, ensuring you earn revenue for the foreseeable future.
How to Manage Your Brand’s Online Reputation With SEO
Here are a few tips for using SEO to manage your brand’s online reputation.
1. Dominate Page One of Search Engine Results Pages
It can’t be stressed enough: when a customer types in your branded keywords into a search engine and hits “enter,” the first five or so results they see should be content you created.
Admittedly, this feat is easier said than done, considering that SEO takes time to produce results. However, you must aim to dominate the first page of SERPs related to your branded keywords at all costs.
Dominating page one of the SERPs requires a multi-pronged approach to content creation. Search engines like Google don’t just display website links when they return with the results of a search query. They also show YouTube videos, social media posts, answer snippets, business details (opening and closing times, addresses, etc.), and more.
You’ll need to take cognizance of all of the above-mentioned search result types (leading us to the next tip).
2. Participate on Social Media and Review Websites
It’s likely that you have branded social media accounts on the most popular platforms. There’s also a high chance that you run your content marketing campaigns through these channels.
However, if you’re going to successfully manage your brand’s reputation on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and the like, more is needed to post interesting and valuable content. You need to participate in the comments section of your posts actively.
Yes, helpful content will garner positive comments from your target audience. But it’s unlikely that every single comment will be favorable.
Therefore, make sure to respond to any negative comments you find. Your responses will show your followers that your brand cares about its customers’ happiness. They’ll also let you address existing grievances and repair unfavorable impressions.
The above notwithstanding, don’t neglect to participate in the comments sections of review sites. Such spaces also attract commenters who harbor grievances about your site. And if you find that a review of your brand is biased or inaccurate, you can set the record straight with a comment.
3. Create Content That Answers Negative Questions About Your Brand
Google’s SERPs have a “People Also Ask” section that you must not overlook when doing SEO for reputation management.
This portion of the page may contain questions related to your brand that might not paint it in a favorable light. For example, it’s common for customers to wonder whether a brand is trustworthy (e.g., “Is BRAND legit?”).
You don’t want your customers to see these questions for one key reason: they sow seeds of doubt in their minds. If a potential customer stumbles on a result that questions your brand’s legitimacy, it could cause them to take their business elsewhere.
Therefore, it’s essential that you keep Google’s People Also Ask section in mind when creating brand-related content.
Fortunately, SERP rankings aren’t permanent, so you can make your content appear in the People Also Ask section. If you create and rank enough content, it could push down or squeeze out the questions with the potential to make your curious leads hesitate.
4. Stay Informed With Google Alerts
Another cost-effective method for online SEO reputation management is using Google Alerts.
This tool is a free web application that tracks new content as it’s indexed in Google’s database. You specify the keyword you want to track, and it’ll send you an email any time it happens on content that includes the word.
Feeding Google Alerts your brand keyword provides one major benefit: you can monitor what your customers, competitors, reviewers, and other third parties say about your brand around the clock.
Thus, when you’re alerted to inaccurate or malicious content, you can respond swiftly before it’s more widely circulated.
5. Use Link-Building
When you search your branded keyword, you might see trusted sources like Bloomberg and Wikipedia on the SERP. Rather than viewing these sources as competition, you can use link-building techniques to boost their rankings and push negative content lower down the page.
Alternatively, you can seek out guest posting opportunities from other websites that operate in the same industry. When you guest post, the website that hosts your content will allow you to “link back” or place a link that leads back to your site.
Backlinks like that are incredibly essential in SEO because search engines view them as a vote of confidence for your content. They’re among the many ranking signals search engines like Google rely on when showing their customers search results.
When your site amasses backlinks, it’ll have a higher domain authority than other websites that use your branded keyword in their content. The results will be that you’ll always rank higher on SERPs.
6. Set Up Google My Business
If you haven’t already, make sure to set up your Google My Business listing. These snippets of information about your business can take up page real estate on a SERP in several ways.
For example, a search of your brand name may show customers different locations, opening and closing times, products you offer, etc. All the above visual elements will help to push down negative reviews and social media comments that would otherwise rank on Google’s page one.
SEO reputation management can help you weather a crisis and maintain your brand’s integrity. When you use the SEO techniques discussed in the article, you’ll be better positioned to control and shape the narratives about your business that occur online. You can also contact us for your result-driven digital marketing needs.