Online Reputation Management – Gaining Control of Your Brand Search Results

Thomas Powell
by Thomas Powell on December 5, 2016

Proactive online reputation management (ORM) is increasingly becoming more important than ever to a company’s success. The brand-name search engine result page (SERP) is the first thing any potential customer will learn about your company, and has become the public face of a business. As we all know, first impressions are everything. In fact, studies have shown that over 90% of Internet users never go past the first page of search results, so it’s critical that this first page present an informative, useful and ultimately positive view of your company’s brand.

In today’s Internet landscape, most businesses are subjected to a negative online attack of some form. This attack usually comes with a high-risk chance that an offending entry will reach the top of search result pages and remain in this prominent position for all to see. This risk is common because negative material is considered ‘interesting’ by many internet users. With such situations being likely, ask yourself this question – is it worth investing large amounts of time and money into SEO and PPC campaigns, when ultimately a search of your brand name could detract from a consumer enquiry or even an initial conversion due to the presence of an offending piece of media? In this article we detail how you can apply proactive online reputation management strategies to combat potentially negative entries surfacing.

Gaining Real-Estate

To present a strong set of brand search results, you’ll need to maintain an extensive presence across the web on a variety of websites and profiles. Here are a few practical steps you can take in order to help dominate your company search results:

To optimize your GMB profile to increase your chances of a Knowledge Graph and/or a Snack Pack listing, you should ensure that all business locations are claimed and accurate information is comprehensively completed for each location – including contact and address details, opening hours, etc. These details should also match those listed elsewhere online, such as on your official website/blog (use Schema to mark this up) and corporate directories (e.g. Yell, Yelp, for consistency. Also, be sure to add images of your business and be sure to verify your social media accounts with Schema markup on your official website to increase the chances of them being listed in the Knowledge Graph. 4

Google Snack Pack

It’s important to remember, a little goes a long way, even if you don’t immediately dominate the entire first page, gaining control of the first four or five results above the fold will make a huge difference in influencing how customers will perceive your brand.

In most cases and by default, only up to 4 results will be displayed in Autocomplete, this can however be increased to 10 results by manually going to Google search settings and selecting the option ‘Never show instant results’ under the Google Instant predictions section. Let’s assume that the majority of potential customers will only see 4 suggested search results – have you investigated what the organic search results look like behind each of these keywords? As well as dominating page 1 for your exact-match brand name keyword, it’s also a worthwhile strategy to aim to control the top positions in the SERPS for each of these suggested search terms as they are likely to be receiving substantial amounts of traffic.

Beyond Google

As the most popular search engine, Google is the best place to start, but don’t ignore other search engines. For a really solid reputation you’ll need a good SERP across all bases a customer could potentially use to search for your business.

This post is brought to you by ReputationDefender – one of the world’s leading ORM companies, helping brands establish an in-depth internet presence that is resilient to negative publicity. Follow ReputationDefender on Twitter for the latest news, updates and strategies in reputation management and online privacy.

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