Highlighting the Positive: Using SEO to Clean Up Your Online Reputation

Highlighting the Positive: Using SEO to Clean Up Your Online Reputation

For consumers that make decisions online, credibility is everything. According to a recent study, 72% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more. Additionally, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. With the many ways customers can report negative reviews online, online reputation management is imperative for businesses today.

Angry customers are inevitable and the hope for any company is to fix that problem directly with the customer quickly and the satisfaction of both. But when you are unaware of the issue or it isn’t resolved, the customer may want to warn others or vent about the incident publicly. The internet allows them to do this with a never-ending, always-watching audience.

One bad review can put a huge damper on your brand. While a reputation can be damaged overnight, it can take much longer to repair. Brand trust and reputation repair seems to go hand in hand with great SEO, so here are our basic tips for improving and managing your online reputation:

Online Reputation Management Key #1: The Simple SEO Fix

In order to improve your online reputation, one of the first steps should be some basic SEO. Optimizing the search results by improving the rankings of positive content while displacing the rankings of the negative content, is a good place to start. A searcher may not always click on a bad review link, but simply seeing the headline can turn away potential customers. SEO can help to prevent this.

A good start for increasing the ranking of positive content is to add your name to any and all of it. Make sure your name is in the title tag and URL of positive pages. When it comes to search engine algorithms, these steps are important for local SEO optimization, and allow for search engines to easily find that content when your company name is searched.

Online Reputation Management Key #2: Responding to Negativity

There is a lot of advice floating around on how to deal with negative comments. It is important to know when to respond and when to keep quiet. Although, not everyone agrees, many professionals advise not to respond publicly because the response can expand the distribution of the negative comments. On the other hand, just as many professionals sit on the opposite side of the fence and state that  replying publicly is best, as you can use the situation to create a positive outcome publicly.

If the comments are on your own blog or social sites, deleting them is common — but not, in our opinion, always the best choice. If a user discovers you’ve deleted their complaint, it will very likely create a tidal wave of backlash. For some platforms, such as fast-paced social sites like Facebook and Twitter, the negative comment will bury itself simply as more posts and updates push it off the page.

The same can apply to blogs. Posting more content will push the negative comments down and out of view. However, these results will forever live on Google, but new, fresh content will be what the majority of viewers see.

In our opinion, we side with the team that says public conflict resolution is often the best route. If other users see that you are actively trying to fix someones issue or resolve their complaint, we believe that this will actually increase your brand trust. But then, of course, we are just one side of the fence — both strategies have legitimacy.

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Online Reputation Management Key #3: Be Proactive

When it comes to online reputation management, it is essential that you are on top of what people are saying about your business — the good, the bad, the neutral. Start by setting up a Google Alert for your business name. There are also online reputation management tools that are available for a monthly fee, but really the most important thing is that you are actively tracking your company.

One thing to remember, however, is that the more you search for these negative results the more reinforcement you may be giving it, expanding its ranking power. If you need to keep track of content on a negative page, copy the URL and navigate directly to the site rather than using Google to search it.  Also, avoid searching for your company name and negative sounding terms together, as searching these too often can create an autocomplete term or related search term on Google. This is definitely NOT what you want.

Online Reputation Management Key #4: Promote

Promoting your business with a successful SEO strategy on your website, social media, blog, etc. can help you stay high in the SERPs and help keep you fresh in peoples minds. People love to be engaged. Whatever the medium that best fits your buyer persona, use it and use it frequently. This steady deluge of postive, interesting, engagement will not only push negative interactions quickly out of view, but it will also help you rank better in Google, generate more leads and customers, and ultimately, rule your industry in the SERPS.

Another vital aspect of promotion is positive reviews. It is a great idea to ask current or past customers that were happy with your product or service to give your business an honest review. When these customers do leave positive reviews or comments, reply to it with a thank you post. This will make your customers feel important and engaged, can increase the credibility of the review and ultimately, the credibility of your company.

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Online Reputation Management Key #5: Monitor progress

A great and super simple way to monitor your progress is to start by taking screenshots of your currents search results in Google and Bing. Then as you monitor your new results, you can compare them with the originals. (Or if you have a software that tracks your rankings, use that instead.)

Be aware that search engines often personalize your results based on what they believe you want to see, as well as your location and search history. Because of this, you may not see the same results as others. Most web browsers have a private browsing or “incognito” option. Use these private windows to check your progress without your personalization altering the results.

Overall, a continued SEO plan and proactive reputation management should keep you from any major fallouts. This isn’t a one-time project and should be continually improved upon. If you feel your business isn’t up to the task or needs more help, consider hiring an SEO firm like ours to take over this important task.

Don’t take any risks, stay on top of your online presence — we promise it will be worth it.

Content Marketing and SEO: Winning the Battle Against Page Rank

There’s a big misconception about how SEO works in the business world today. Many business owners think that SEO is the “unseen magic” that happens behind the scenes. If you’re a marketing manager or a business owner and you’re thinking of hiring a company to take care of your SEO, then you need to understand how content plays a huge role in your SEO journey.

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Is Content Marketing Important?

Sure, content marketing is an important thing. It’s huge! However, if you’re not using the right type of content then you’re not going to be able to rank the right keywords. While I see SEO as a healthy methodology (we call this method Inbound Marketing) at its basic core, SEO is the manipulation of Page Rank. 

You might be wondering if manipulation is a bad thing? Doesn’t that go against the Google Webmaster Guidelines? Well, the short answer is, it could. However, I see this as an issue of, “With power, comes great responsibility”.

The responsibility is to provide the end user with high quality content. If you’re failing at this responsibility, then you’re really not a marketer, you’re just a hacker of Page Rank.

Hey, being a hacker can be good. Even Neil Patel has branded himself as a “growth hacker” — but this is different.

Is SEO Really That Valuable, or is It Dead?

I like this handy-dandy pie chart that shows the irony of how SEO’s spend their time.

how seo really works

Ok, So Let Me Do My Job and Try to Teach and Convince You of SEO’s Value : )

Previously, I said that SEO is a methodology. I call this methodology, “Inbound Marketing”.

Inbound methods take conversion rate optimization, paid search, marketing automation software, e-mail marketing, press release etc… into one approach that fixes the three main problems our clients deal with:

  1. Increasing traffic
  2. Converting traffic to leads
  3. Converting leads to sales

You could say that the perfect marriage for increasing organic rankings for your Seattle area company is a strong technical search engine optimization and content marketing team. The two go hand in hand. Yes, Google algorithmic changes do have a large part of the search engine optimization world “throwing their hands up in confusion” over what really works for search rankings but the fact is, the same thing that affected rankings in 1999 still affects rankings today.

However, high page rank back-links are not the only part of SEO that makes a website more relevant to humans and Google. Fresh content is imperative to rankings as well.

Fresh content is like search engine food. It’s the digital meal that you serve up to please human curiosity and needs. In return, your website looks more relevant to search engines and you get higher rankings. In this case, back-links are not necessary but can be earned by consistent content marketing efforts.

Why Marketing is Often the Biggest Missed Component to Content Development

Content by itself is healthy for your website and search engines, but content that is syndicated out to other sources is 1000% more effective. There’s two ways of looking at back-link earning with fresh content.

  1. First, content that is merely developed and not syndicated will receive organic rankings that will earn back-links over time. If you have a lot of content out there then, you’ll organically earn back-links (as you provide value to human searches).
  2. Second, content that’s syndicated via social and a niche related site like business2community.com. Google + is also a great place to syndicate your content as this helps you develop your authorship with others in your niche.

Both methods are effective for earning high quality PR links to you inner pages and home page but the second method earns links much faster. Step one is a long term process that may or may not work. However, marketing to your current database of fans through e-mail, social, and Press Release will yield high quality links much faster.

Where ROI Happens With Content Marketing

ROI happens with organic search. Your content is the arrow. Your target is a demographic that converts well for you. If you’re hitting your target with your content and marketing you should be receiving high quality leads from the organic results.

Back-links are Bad??

Ok, maybe you’ve heard that back-links are bad from…somewhere. And frankly, there’s been a huge shift in our industry away from back-link development to things like content marketing and paid search campaigns. However, back-links are still the strongest ranking factor in use by Google. As long as you have a good foundation with your on-site SEO work, back-links are huge.

The Perfect Link

You need a highly relevant back-link with a high authority and trust. I use Majestic.com metrics to determine if the link I’ve attained for a client is high quality or not. trust and relevance are the biggest factors for determining if a back-link is quality or not.

The different between links today and links “pre-Penguin” are that now links are weighted by not only authority but also trust. It’s possible to have a ton of links that produce an authoritative website but, if those links are not trusted… then there’s going to be a big problem.

Here’s the difference, authority can be scaled by the number of links pointing to a page but trust is measured by the amount of healthy sites that are linking to that page. This is why you will see sits that have huge citation in Majestic but low trust. You want a lot of trust! Majestic is not able to measure all forms of trust either.

Nofollow links from quality social media sites pass a measure of trust (not authority) to websites. This is why you can rank a website purely off of nofollow links (a tactic used by many SEO’s today).

If you’d like to have a conversation with us on increasing your web traffic… contact us or download this great guide below!