Although online reputation management works in a variety of ways, it often depends heavily on search engine optimization (SEO) to fill the first page of search results with positive content about your brand. Optimizing a webpage to increase its relevance and quality so it appears high in search results isn’t easy, and to top it off, search engines are constantly updating their algorithms to ensure they return the most relevant and high-quality results.
Simply having an abundance of positive content about your brand isn’t always enough. All that positive content needs to be optimized to appear in search results. Search engines use a combination of links from reputable websites and high-quality content–content that is not only positive but also well-written or professional-looking–to determine a webpage’s relevance and authority to a search query.
The more relevant the page is to the query and the more authority it has earned, the higher it will show in search results.
So how do you make the positive content about your brand more relevant, and the websites that content lives on more authoritative?
By using the right tools to give search engines what they want. The more freshness, diversification, and support you can give your positive content, the better. These are some of the biggest indicators of relevance and authority the search engines look for.
A website’s freshness means how often it is updated. The more often a site is updated, the more often search engines have to “crawl” the site in order to find and index new content.
You can teach search engines to index your site more frequently if you publish new content regularly. If your site is being indexed often enough, it will start to move up the rankings on search results pages.
Another important component of freshness is what all those regular updates tell the search engines. If the website is worth all the activity of regular updates, then it is much more likely to be a relevant, authoritative resource for searchers.
The trick to maintaining freshness on the webpages you want to appear on the first page of search results is to always be on the lookout for positive content. Your marketing and public relations teams need to keep a sharp eye for any positive content that can be used to protect your online reputation.
Diversifying is as beneficial for online reputation management as it is for investment portfolios: it reduces risks and increases the likelihood of gains.
There are two important aspects of diversifying your online reputation management.
The first is using multiple types of content. You can have all the glowing testimonials in the world, but if all you have is testimonials and no case studies or data to back up your results, that starts to look a bit suspicious. And search engines will only return so many results of one type of content, leaving plenty of room on the first page for negative content.
This means in addition to testimonials, you want to harness the power of reviews, success stories and case studies, press releases, articles about your expertise, and more.
The second important part of diversification is using multiple websites. The more websites you own and control, the more spaces on the first search results page you can potentially fill, with positive content you have complete control over.
Creating multiple websites isn’t as daunting as it sounds at first. Instead of putting all your content in one place online, simply spread it out by assigning a specific purpose and audience to each different website.
For example, a pharmaceutical online reputation management strategy might include a website for consumers and doctors, another for pharmacies and vendors, a separate blog, and another website for publishing survey results and other data.
Diversifying content in these two ways makes your content more relevant and authoritative because each website and type of content appeals to specific audiences and search queries.
Good support means earning plenty of links to your website(s) from many different reputable sources over a long period of time. Flooding your website with too many links all at once is very suspicious and you will almost certainly be penalized for it. And trying to get links from low-quality websites won’t help your rankings, either.
The trick to getting good links is to create content so valuable you could practically sell it. When your content is that unique and useful, it draws attention from the kind of websites you want to link to yours.
Earning links that way takes time, though. When you don’t have a lot of time to devote to getting that support, you can create some of it yourself through press releases, article marketing, and blogging. Just make sure this content is as helpful and valuable as possible.
Building good support for your websites is an important part of online reputation management for two reasons.
First, it improves your off-page SEO, which helps your content appear higher in search results.
Second, the webpages linking to yours can also show up on search results pages, so searchers see even more positive content about your brand.
Getting plenty of support through high-quality links tells search engines that other people online think your content is relevant and authoritative, which strongly influences how search engines rank results.
Freshness, diversification, and support are not the only SEO tools to use in your online reputation management strategy, but they are some of the most important. Implement all three and you’ll be well on your way to presenting searchers with the best information about your brand.