Darren Jamieson, Senior Creative Developer at Just Search www.justsearch.co.uk
With the huge rise in user-generated content and freedom of the web, Internet users have much more control and power than ever before. This means that all the hard work that goes into search engine optimisation, PR and marketing activities can be undone with a single negative forum thread or blog post. With online reputation management, there are several easy ways that marketers and businesses can ensure Google and the other search engines display positive content.
Make the most of social networking
Many companies will not see the value in using social networking in the business environment, however these sites can be a useful marketing tool. Creating a profile on sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook can help reach a wider audience and increase visibility. Niche social networking sites are often overlooked. Find sites that are relevant to your industry or community as this will help build up relevant relationships and increase the number of links coming into the site.
Boost positive pages through SEO
By optimising positive reviews, posting media coverage on a website and having a well-optimised blog you can help ensure that Google displays the content that you want people to see. These practices should be adhered to regularly, not just as a reactive measure to negative online content.
Monitor forums and review sites
Google Alerts are an excellent way of monitoring what is being written about on the web. These will flag up any instances of specified keywords (such as your company name), ensuring that anything negative can be counteracted and positive stories or postings can be optimised. By making sure that any positive pages are well optimised, these will appear higher up in the search engine rankings, therefore pushing anything that is negative further down the listings.
Embrace social media
Aside from social networking sites, there are a number of other social media that can be used to help boost your web profile. Social bookmarking is a way to store and share web pages, so links to these sites are saved on the public Internet, meaning web crawlers can find them easily. Use sites like del.ici.ous, StumbleUpon and Digg.com.
Write a blog and keep it updated
Blogging provides a channel for reaching a wider audience. Blogs that are regularly updated with interesting and relevant content will be placed higher in the rankings. Search engine spiders place more importance on blogs with fresh content, which helps to manage online reputation by ensuring that a blog is ranked highly over any other potentially negative content. Blogging also provides the opportunity to increase incoming links and build relationships with other key bloggers.
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