Like Rob Garner, I was out at Pubcon Las Vegas last week. Some of my favorite sessions to attend are those covering online reputation management (ORM). As an SEO, I find myself being contacted more every day by those looking to clean up their reputation in search results, so I thought I’d share some of the best tips I heard during several sessions last week on how to protect and manage reputation in the search channel. Even if you don’t have a reputation management issue today, however, it’s important that you begin doing all you can to protect your brand for future attacks. As Tony Wright from Wright IMC said, “Doing reputation management during a crisis is like eating healthy during a heart attack. It’s too late.”
Build Out Your Social Media Profiles
Social media profiles, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and others, often organically rank well for brand-related searches. By building out these profiles and ranking them in search results, you then have well-ranked channels ready to help spread your message via search results in a time of crisis. Some of the social media profiles I recommend are:
The key to ranking social profiles for your brand in Google results, however, lies within your Google+ profile page. Just last week, Google announced that Google+ brand pages are now available, and you should definitely build your Google+ business profile now.
Once you create your brand page in Google+, be sure to include all of the links to your social media profiles for your brand in the “recommended link” under the About tab. This helps Google identify which social media profile pages should be associated with your brand.
Check Google Autocomplete
Rhea Drysdale of Outspoken Media brought up a great point in her session about monitoring Google autocomplete. If you know the reputation threat is appearing in Google, check the autocomplete function to see just what types of phrases are coming up. Because the terms that appear in autocomplete are shown based on web history, IP address, freshness, relative number of queries and content, this will give you a good idea of what types of terms are being queried.
One approach you could take as an SEO would be to try to game the autocomplete feature in Google. However, Google discourages this action, so instead consider optimizing for those phrases -- creating new content that perhaps addresses your message or the other side of the story.