Link Diversity and Your Online Reputation Management

Google is smart. Too smart for it’s own good sometimes. The Google algorithm that determines page rank on a search engine results page uses over 200 different factors to determine what comes up in the top ten. That’s a lot of data to consider. It’s not like the old days when you simply had to keyword stuff your site to get to the top. Today, Google looks at the number of backlinks to a site, the content of the sites, the diversity of the sites that link to it, how it compares in tone to similar pages, and on and on. And the Google search engineers are always trying to improve their results. One of the things they’ve found is that users prefer to see a diversity of links in their search results instead of the same kind of content 10 times on the first page.

That means that an average search will generally have links to a variety of different kinds of sites, like a YouTube video, a blog, Wikipedia, a twitter account, informational sites, corporate websites, and more. And this is where it can get tricky for reputation management. If your company owns 20 different blogs that all say positive things about your company, Google may be classifying them all as the same types of sites. And in an environment that likes diversity, your 20 blogs may get shoved down the list, and one bad review of your product on an anonymous scam or rip-off site will float to the top.

What does this all mean for your reputation management? It means that your online reputation management is about more than a few positive backlinks to your corporate website. Maybe you have 20 blogs, but if they all have basically the same content, then they might not be as effective as they could be.

Try looking at your different properties in terms of how you can make them different from one another, not simply how you can use them to say nice things about your company. For example, instead of creating review sites, try looking at ways you can fill your different online properties with niche information targeted at a specific audience. Useful information on the web is more valuable and more shared than simple reviews, can garner you more SEO, and looks less like corporate cheerleading and more like a company that wants to become a resource and get involved in the online community. When websites that discuss your company are diverse, they have a better chance of ranking on Google.

Another way to approach the problem is to look at capitalizing on a number of different types of sites. If all your properties are blogs, try leveraging different kinds of internet communication tools, like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, informational sites, discussion boards, YouTube videos, and more.

When a user searches your company name on Google, you need to be prepared to give Google a diversity of content and formats to fill up the top ten results. If not, scam and rip-off sites that are fundamentally different from your sites will keep showing up in the top ten results.