The online reputation of a brand is just as important as its reputation offline. In this digital age, it is nearly impossible for a business that lacks a good online image to be popular offline. Therefore, it is an aspect that cannot be waved away.
Online reputation goes a long way in keeping your business active as 97% of consumers read online reviews to find a local business.
For maintaining a good online reputation, many Search Engine Optimisation techniques come in handy. Why? SEO is about the ranking of pages in search engines. The top-ranking items on Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other such search engines usually make it there by way of relevance, as determined by algorithms.
Therefore, ranking high in searches is a good measure of relevance. And the more relevant your business is, the better its reputation. See why SEO is important?
So what tips do the experts use to stay on top? Let’s go!
Prior to applying the other actionable tips here, running some analytics to know the true state of your brand reputation online is important. Run multiple searches of your brand/product(s) online and see what comes up.
Also, run searches of keywords associated with your business to see if your brand comes out tops. Following that, you could also set up search alerts that notify you by email when your brand name comes up in a search.
Battling Negative SEO
If what you find topping searches are negative ideas and reviews that represent your company, then you need to fight them. Google’s URL removal tool is a place to start to expunge negative reviews and information about your brand from the top positions in searches.
Another way to fight negative SEO is to use what’s called ‘reverse SEO’. By this, I mean posting positive information about your company regularly in order to shift the negative ones further down, or even to the next page in search rankings, making them unable to influence public perception.
Content Marketing is a key SEO strategy that is selling fast. Hire writers, or yourself, to write articles filled with keywords (not spammy though, else you play yourself). Optimizing articles with SEO strategies and keywords placement works like magic.
SEO experts understand the importance of ‘authority’. Getting influential people in your niche to write about your brand or product improves your reputation. For example, a tech business will gain a lot if it hired a top-ranking tech journalist or editor to write about their products.
Reviews are important, because when people look up your brand, what other people say would sway their opinions of you. Having plenty of positive reviews push the few negative ones into oblivion. With bad reviews, Google found out brands might be losing 55% of millennials online. Always encourage your customers to leave positive reviews, and address their complaints promptly.
By this, I mean to write (or get someone else to do so) for other sites and add backlinks that lead to your own site. This also lends you more authority. It is like a vote of confidence. Many reputable sites allow it though with a clause that it shouldn’t be with advertising intent. Advertising intent or not, it works!
SEO specialists sometimes underrate the influence of social media like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. in search engine rankings. But that’s wrong! Don’t be left out of the 76% of marketers actively mining social media SEO strategies.
A stronger social media presence will lead to higher rankings. Posting backlinks to your business’s site also helps drive traffic to your site and improve your reputation.
SEO strategies are not a one-off thing. They are strategies to constantly be in use. Search engines favor updated, recent content and if your site is not updated with recent information regularly, you’ll fall quickly in rankings. You need to maintain a consistent pace of activity to be recognized. Really, that’s what separates the big brands from others.
Brand Name and Keywords
Not too funnily, your brand name could be why it’s not as reputable as it should be. But you can do something about it. If you’ve not done that yet, ensure that your brand name is something catchy and easy to remember.
Also, always associate your brand name with keywords with which you want to be remembered by the public. In your social media posts, blog content, metatags, headlines, etc., use the keywords.
Targeted ads on-site engines send your brand’s page directly to the top of the list. This exposes more people to your brand and website. PPC campaigns and affiliate marketing are strategies that work. You’ll spend money, surely, but not so much that you need to break the bank.
Site speed wouldn’t rank as one of the top SEO strategies, but it still works. How site speed affects SEO is explained simply by Urs Hoelzle who said: “when you speed up service, people become more engaged – and when people become more engaged, they click and buy more.”
Yes, you read that right. The design of your site, pictures, logos and overall branding all impact SEO. For example, adding too many keywords might seem good advice but doesn’t work, since search engines don’t read images.
The best thing to do is to surround images where they are used with relevant keywords. There is a lot of advice to make your site SEO friendly on Google Webmasters.
Optimizing your site for mobile is not exactly an SEO strategy. But it can help drive traffic to your site, and consequently increase search engine rankings.
In a world where mobile phones are most people’s major access to the Internet, you need to focus on it. Ease of use will make people want to come back. Google has a mobile-friendly test tool to determine if sites are optimized for mobile.
Perhaps the most important SEO lesson I’ve learned till date is to focus on the people themselves. A good SEO strategy is one that targets search engines.
The best SEO strategies have the people, (potential) customers in mind. The most relevant articles on search engines are ones that people actually want to read. The search engine algorithms are just a way to determine that. To build an impressive reputation, count on people to spread your gospel.
Search Engine Reputation Management is a growing niche for brands looking to improve their image and public perception. Apart from the tips above, you can also make use of a reputational management tool. Strange? Yes, we have those now. Some you can check out include Reputology, BrandYourself, SocialMention, Trackur, etc. not to mention Google’s own array of Webmasters tools.