The difference between owned, earned, and paid media in ORM

Online marketers today know the value of owned, paid, and earned media in brand awareness, customer acquisition, and customer retention. But a brand’s online reputation management also depends on these three types of media.

So what are owned, earned, and paid media, and how can you use them to manage your reputation online?

Owned Media in Online Reputation Management

Owned media are channels you control. Your website and blog are the two biggest players in this type of media. However, channels you partially control, such as your social media accounts, can also be considered owned media.

Other types of owned media include:

  • microsites

  • “business card” homepages such as

  • mobile apps and notifications

  • webinars

  • press releases and news

Channels you own and control are an important part of your managing your reputation online. They often do very well in organic search results, and they promote what you want your audience to think and know about you.

Paid Media in Reputation Management Online

Paid media are channels you purchase, such as campaigns on Google AdWords or Bing Ads. Other types of paid media include:

  • Facebook ads

  • A tiktok growth service can give your account the initial kick to quickly get more organic likes.
  • promoted tweets

  • sponsorships

  • banner and other display ads

  • TV and radio spots

  • print advertising with the use of the best brochure templates

Paid media is most often used in marketing and advertising campaigns, but it can also support an online reputation management strategy in two ways.

First, purchased media drives visitors to your owned media, where you have more control over perception and conversation. Second, paid channels act as catalysts to drive more engagement with your brand, and more engagement leads to higher brand awareness and more earned media.

Paid media works best in conjunction with owned and earned media, because, as Mashable notes, many individual channels can be considered all three.

Earned Media in Reputation Management

Earned media is any channel you get by merit. You don’t own it, and you don’t pay for it. Someone else online, such as your customers or partner companies or industry thought leaders, mentions your company, shares your content, or publishes content you created just for their audience.

One major goal of owned and paid media is the opportunity to get earned media, especially by customers, who then become evangelists for your company and products.

A few examples of earned media include:

  • word of mouth

  • reviews and recommendations

  • anything that goes “viral” such as YouTube videos

  • guest blog posts

  • research published on other websites

  • your content being shared (i.e. LinkedIn groups, Facebook, Twitter)

  • your content being rated (i.e. Digg, StumbleUpon)

  • anyone talking about your company (i.e. forums, Q&A sites)

The downsides of earned media are that it can be negative, difficult to measure, and hard to scale. But even negative earned media has a benefit by showing you what processes or products you can improve.

Earned media is the most credible of the three media types, so you definitely want it to appear in search results and other places online to influence your reputation. To ensure searchers see positive earned media, follow these basic steps:

  1. Offer great products and customer experience

  2. Create unique, useful content for both owned (i.e. blog) and earned (i.e. guest blog) media

  3. Spark fresh earned media with paid media and word of mouth

Reputation Management for People Who Aren’t Good at Making Content

Content marketing is all the rage right now. Every SEO website, every marketing website, and any website that has anything to do with building a business online is filled with talk about content marketing—even reputation management websites. Partly that’s because creating great content is a surefire way to attract links and rank well in a Google search.

In terms of reputation management, if you can make great content across the web, you can get that stuff to appear in the first page of your branded search instead of malicious “scam reports” or links to malicious reviews.

But what if you are terrible at making content? What if you’re too busy running your business and you don’t have the funds to hire someone to make content for you? You can still earn a great online reputation without building a social following, blogging, or making videos. It takes a slightly different set of skills, and it’s hard work, but it can be very effective. In fact, it’s not that different from what you should be doing as a business anyway.

If you want to improve your online reputation, but you don’t want to do content marketing, here are a few things you can try:

1) Start from the inside

Some people may be using content marketing as a way to make up for their lack of a top-notch product or service. Or they may be pushing out so much content that they don’t feel they need to invest in their customer’s experience. But if you have a great product and great customer service, maybe you don’t need to be investing as much in content.

A bad online reputation usually starts with an unsatisfied customer. Whether they are unhappy that your product or service didn’t live up to their expectations or they simply had a bad experience dealing with your company, customers today will take to the web to vent their frustrations. They’ll write bad reviews, rant about your company in a blog post, or even contribute to those so-called “scam report” websites.

The best way to avoid unhappy customers is not to have any in the first place. Listen to your customers’ feedback and criticisms and use that feedback to improve your product and your service. When you have happy customers, you don’t have to worry about a bad online reputation.

2) Ask for positive reviews

If you don’t want to create content, ask your customers to do it for you. If you’re running a successful business, it is likely you already know who your best customers are. If you want more positive reviews online, simply ask your best customers to write reviews for you.

Most customers won’t write reviews unless they have an extremely bad experience or they have an extremely good one. But what about all those people in between? Most customers won’t write reviews simply because they haven’t thought about it. So just open your mouth, ask them to review you, and watch your online reputation start to improve.

3) Build partnerships

This is a bit more on the marketing side, but if you want to build a positive online reputation, you need to get people on the web saying positive things about you and your company. So build some partnerships. For example, if you own a coffee shop, build a relationship with the local bookstore and tell them that anyone who comes in with a receipt from that bookstore will get fifty cents off their next coffee. Ask the bookstore to put that offer on their website and link to you.

Not only will you build your customer base, but you’ll also get a local business to mention you on their website—which could now appear in the search results for your company name. And you didn’t have to make any content to do it.

Essentially, building a positive online reputation should go hand-in-hand with being a good business and building real-world relationships with your customers, other businesses, and more—which is what you should be doing anyway. When you can build a positive reputation for yourself in the real world, your online reputation will follow. So, if you don’t want to focus on making content to combat a negative online reputation, take a step back and build a good reputation for your business in the real world, and the online world will reflect your real world reputation.

Best Outreach Strategies for Reputation Management

Optimizing your SERP today isn’t the same as it was just a few years ago. Not too long ago you could simply keyword stuff your site or do the same to off-site blogs and other web properties and, voila, you could make a positive-looking SERP pretty easily. Today, Google demands much more from websites than just a handful of keywords. Today, Google says, it’s all about providing value to the internet. To get a good SERP today, you have to employ several different strategies, like creating social profiles, guest blogging, making videos, and more.

As a result, reputation management is much more varied today, and you have to be more creative. One of the ways you can be more creative is by building out some cool content that gets links from a variety of authoritative websites. Things like infographics, e-books, videos, downloadable posters, and more can be a great way to fill up a SERP with positive mentions of your name, but they will only work if you can get people to link to them. Although many reputation management professionals may complain about how hard it is to get something to “go viral” (and not everything will), there is a strategy you can follow to at least ensure that your content—whatever it might be—gets the best chance it can get at widespread links and exposure, ensuring a place in your SERP.

1) Define your audience

First of all, you need to define your audience. Let’s say you’re doing reputation management for a company that build e-learning tools, and you want to get their latest e-book to rank in the SERPs for their name. Identify who that e-book might be useful to. Is it teachers? Is it corporate trainers? Is it parents? It is CEOs? Once you know who you need to reach out to, the next step is a no-brainer.

2) Identify the leaders

Today there is an online community for just about everything. Whether you’re targeting lifestyle management coaches, alligator enthusiasts, or harmonica players, you’ll find a community on the internet for it. All you have to do it identify who are the movers and shakers in that community, and the people that follow those leaders. Once you have identified that the e-book is targeted at corporate trainers, it’s time to step up your game and get social. Through this Book First blog you will get the e-book related all information.

3) Establish relationships

Making friends on the web can be a bit tricky, but all it really boils down to it contacting someone and telling them you like what they’re doing. For example, once you have identified the top five blogs about corporate training, send the personality behind the blog an email, comment on a recent post, follow them on social profiles, or share their content with your followers. This step has nothing to do with asking them to read your e-book or even mentioning that you have anything to do with an e-book, it’s simply about getting their attention and showing them that you are truly interested in what they are doing. Don´t forget to provide a solid communication platform and a reliable email hosting uk provider for this relationship.

4) Don’t ask for a link

Once you’ve spent some time building a relationship with your target, don’t ask for a link to your e-book. Asking for a link is one of the sure-fire ways to not get a link. Rather, approach your target with an idea or ask them for an opinion. Send them an email and ask them if they can give you feedback on an e-book you’ve written about corporate training, then simply send them the e-book. If you’ve already established a relationship of trust, and you ask sincerely, they’ll probably say yes. The key is to bring your target into the content creation process, make them feel like they are a valuable part of the process and that their input will help make your content better.

5) Follow up

Give them some time to look over the content you’ve sent them and then follow up to see what they might have to say about it. Don’t be pushy, just ask if they’ve had a chance to look over it and if they have any suggestions or opinions about it. Again, if you have a relationship with your target, they’ll probably make some time to get back to you—usually with some great feedback.

6) Thank them

Once they’ve given you feedback, thank them for their time and tell them how appreciative you are for their expertise and guidance. Then—finally—you can ask them if this is the type of e-book they’d want to share with their audience. They might say, no. But if they had favorable things to say about your e-book, then they’ll probably say yes. But, even at this point, you’re not asking for a link—you’re simply asking for them to share content that they already like with their audience. Which could be though a link on their blog, through a tweet, a Facebook share, or more.

Any one of theses outcomes is a win. If they link to it, that’s great. If they share it with their followers (and their follow base is sizable), many people will RT it or share it through social networks—creating many mentions of your e-book on the web.

And if you can duplicate this process with 5-10 leaders in the industry, you’ll get a huge response to your e-book. Not only will you see an uptick in downloads, but you’ll get a mess of links and it’ll probably start to rank in the SERPs for your brand or company name—which is exactly what you wanted in the first place.


The Dos and Don’ts of Online Reviews in Your Reputation Management Strategy

User-generated content is one of the biggest movements in the online world since the beginning of the new century. Social networks, reviews sites, and more, depend almost entirely on their user base to create content for their website. All this user-generated content is great for users, especially those who are looking to get an opinion about a new product or service before they buy. But this deluge of user-reviews and comments can also be extremely harmful to businesses when users feel they need to bad-mouth a particular establishment or complain about a small detail of service when the vast majority of their experience was positive.

If your business has generally positive reviews, this can be a great boon to your reputation management campaign. But it’s not such a great thing when you have a handful of reviews floating around the internet that are damaging or outright false. And all these reviews are now showing up in branded SERPs on a regular basis. That means, for example, when an individual searches for your business, they may see 3-4 links to different review websites where your business is mentioned—both good and bad.

As a result, these online reviews are one of the biggest concerns for any business that wants to maintain a pristine online reputation. So, here are a few dos and don’ts for dealing with online reviews to help you can build the most positive online reputation possible.

DO: Seek out Reviews

The best way to keep an eye on the reviews that you’re getting is by seeking them out. Primarily, search for your business name online and see what reviews appear. But once you’ve discovered what’s already out there, stay on top of what is being published about your company online by setting up a notification system like Google Alerts—so you’ll be informed immediately when a new review is published or a blogger decides to write about you. And when you know what is being published and where it’s coming from, you can start to deal with bad reviews.

DO: Open a Dialogue

Once you’ve identified a negative review, the best thing to do is try and contact the reviewer. Your ultimate goal is to get the reviewer to take down the review or change it, but that should not be your immediate petition upon first contact. Start by apologizing for any misunderstanding or mistreatment the customer may have experienced and offer your apologies. And NEVER try and argue with the customer about what happened or call into question their judgment. Next, ask if there is anything you can do to make it up to them or offer them a special deal on their next purchase or service. If the reviewer responds favorably, ask them if they might consider taking down or changing the review once they have a more pleasant experience the second time around. If they are reasonable human beings—and you are sincere and authentic in your communication—they’ll probably agree. If they don’t respond, or they respond with another angry message, it’s probably best to leave the situation alone and do your best with other reputation management strategies to bury the review as low as possible in the SERPs.

DON’T: Trash Competitors

If you respond to a review in an open forum, never trash a competitor. Trashing competitors can have two negative effects on your online reputation. 1) You will simply come off as petty and unpleasant. And anyone who sees that review will view your company as one who would rather bad-mouth others than improve the level of your own service or product in order to get ahead. 2) If you competitors see the comment, they could take legal action against you. And that’s not pleasant at all. It’s best to stay away from mentioning competitors at all and focus on your business’ positive points and products.

DON’T: Post Fake Reviews

This is, perhaps, the worst thing you can do when it comes to reputation management through online reviews. You may get away with it for a little while, but when it is found out that you are manufacturing reviews—and it usually is—you’ll suffer an even more embarrassing blow to your reputation management. When you fake reviews, you risk alienating any and all good trust that you have built with your current customers and any future customers you might have. The best policy is simply to give good service and sell great products, then you’ll greatly reduce the chance that you’ll have to deal with negative reviews online at all.

Expert Advice as an Online Reputation Management Strategy

Over the last year, the online search world has been pretty drastically shaken up, and Google has changed a lot of its policies to weed out what it has determined are low-quality linkbuilding practices. As such, reputation management used to be a pretty simple game to play, but it has become harder and harder to shape a perfect SERP, and it is taking more effort to do so effectively over the long term.

But the war can still be won. Just because Google has changed its policies doesn’t mean that it is impossible to create a great SERP for your brand. It just means you have to change your strategy. And Google is continually leaning more toward “quality” as the biggest ranking factor. In other words, Google is moving in a direction where they are trying to determine the highest quality websites—not based solely on the number of links that point to them, but rather their overall quality as a website. This means that the best strategy from here on out is simply to have a really awesome website. And if you can have a really awesome website, Google will rank you higher and more people will link to you and publish favorable content about you, creating the great SERP you always wanted to build with your reputation management strategy.

So what does that mean for your strategy? Well, one way to build an awesome website is to become an expert and set yourself apart as a leader in your field. Although that sounds hard, it’s actually much easier than you may think. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

1) Blog

Putting a blog on your site is a great way to bolster your online reputation. If you run a business, you are an expert in some sort of field. And there are people out there who want to know about that business and what advice you have to give them. So publish posts about what your company does, tips and advice on best practices, lessons you’ve learned over the years (or months) that you’ve been in business. If you can become a hub of knowledge for people in your industry, you’ll get people quoting your blog, linking to your content, and writing about you in other online publications—all giving you great fodder for your reputation management campaign.

2) Give away your knowledge

People love free stuff, especially if they find it useful and valuable to their lives or professions. Whatever field you are in, you have the opportunity to take your knowledge and turn it into tangible pieces of content that can be shared and posted throughout the internet—excellent for your reputation management. For example, you can create downloadable guides to your industry or publish embeddable infographics or slideshare presentations that give useful advice to people in your industry. As these useful resources are promulgated through the web, your devotees will build links to your website and push your content all over the place, building a great online reputation for you.

3) Guest blog

Its easy to publish resources on your own website, but in order to really create a great reputation online, you’ll need to reach out and start building relationships. One way to do that is through guest blogging. Find blogs that have to do with your industry or profession and offer to write a blog post for them about your experiences. For example, there may not be a lot of websites out there devoted to the cosmetics industry, but you can seek out a number of blogs about professional leadership and management and blog about your experience as a manager or your list of top leadership skills. Then you can mention your company in the post and link that blog post back to your professional profile on your company website. People will then see you as a reliable source and your company as a positive influence.

4) Discuss

Another way to build relationships for reputation management is by participating in professional online forums for your industry. For example, LinkedIn has a number of professional forums for all kinds of industries and professions. Join these groups and be active in them. When you do this, you’ll be building relationships with other professionals who are excited about your industry. And if you can give good advice, you and your company will come to be seen as a resource. When you are seen as a resource, you’ll get more links to your site, people will cite your company online, and more—all adding to the strength of your online reputation management strategy.

The secret to making your brand an online expert is simply getting out there and publishing information and building relationships. You don’t have to be the leader in your field in terms of sales—you simply have to be willing to share your insights with others. And when you can become an online expert in your field, your reputation management strategy will take care of itself.

How to Do Reputation Management for “Boring” Industries

At its essence, reputation management isn’t that hard. The basic principles sounds easy enough: Push bad and damaging search engine results off the first page of a Google search page by getting positive content on the web to rank higher. But it’s more complicated than it seems. For instance, what kind of things do you want to rank well? Do you make content yourself, or do you build links to help others’ content rank well? And how positive is too positive? At what point will your audience think they’re being fooled by overly positive search results?

If you’ re in cool industries, like technology or entertainment, you probably can think of a million ways to get positive information to rank well in your SERPs. But what if the company you are doing reputation management for is “boring,” like they make blenders or tax preparation software? How do you create good content on the web that people will want to link to so that it will rank high for your branded terms?

First of all, there is no such thing as a “boring” industry, only boring reputation management professionals. If you’re going to help a boring company clean up their SERP, you just have to get a little more creative. Think outside the box. Do something different.

In fact, here are some great examples of boring companies that have managed to build a great online reputation just by being creative with what they share on the web. So creative, in fact, that most of them have come to be seen as leaders in their industries.


BlendTec makes blenders. Not the most exciting industry in the world. But not only do they make blenders, they make industrial strength blenders. And they were a virtually unknown company until they started an online video series, called “Will it Blend?” Each video has a simple concept, they think of an object and then they throw it in one of their blenders to see if it will blend. They’ve done books, super glue, glow sticks, and even a iPhone. Now when you search for them by name, two of the top ten results are links to their videos (both on their own website and their BlendTec YouTube channel).


One of the top search engine optimization companies in the world didn’t start out as the most well known. In fact, how do you get people excited about all the technical mumbo jumbo involved in search engine optimization? Well, SEOmoz took that challenge and created an awesome online reputation with it. Instead of trying to appeal to a mass audience, they decided they were going to be a great resource for the SEO industry. So they created downloadable SEO guides, videos, blog posts, and more. Now they have over 50,000 social shares on Twitter and Facebook and a search for their name reveals videos, social media profiles, articles, pres releases, pictures and more.

Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club is a company that sells disposable razors over the internet for a dollar a month. Not exactly front page material, right? Well, to jumpstart their reputation management efforts, they created a hilarious video about their company that currently has over 4 million views on YouTube. Now when you search for them online, you see a myriad of reviews, videos, articles and more all about them.


What about tax preparation software, you ask? Certainly one of the most boring industries ever created. Well, for the 2011 tax season, TurboTax took to social media to interact with its customers and raise their online reputation. And it worked. They had thousands of responses and now their social profiles rank number 2 and 3 after their main site, showing anyone who searches for them that they are a company who cares about its customers. And that’s the kind of reputation you can’t buy.

Remember, reputation management doesn’t have to be all drudgery. If you get creative not only will you build a solid online reputation but you’ll cut down on the work you do because everyone else will be building links to your great content for you. So don’t be boring. Be creative and build a better online reputation.

Content Marketing as a Reputation Management Strategy

It’s no secret that the search marketing world has recently been rocked by Google’s algorithm updates, like Penguin and the ongoing Panda updates. Although Google has always endeavored to provide users with the most relevant results, they’re getting better at detecting when search engine experts are gaming the system. And that’s why many of the top SEO blogs are now preaching the gospel of content marketing and getting help from the best SEO Experts in Los Angeles.

Essentially, the feeling is that the days of keywords stuffing, directory submission, blogging networks, link exchange networks, and more are coming to an end, and that the best strategy moving forward is to simply make a quality site that people want to link to.

But what does this have to do with reputation management? At its core, reputation management is a field of SEO with a very narrow focus—molding the search engine results page (SERP) of one or a handful of branded keyword searches. For digital marketing services, view publisher site and learn about marketing services. So now it is time to employ content marketing as a new tactic in the fight against negative SERPs and for positive reputation management, Find a professional like Andy Defrancesco to give you more information.

Content marketing focuses on driving sales by giving your customers what they’re looking for while they’re actively searching for it. Today, we’re going to talk about the top 13 benefits of content marketing to help you understand how valuable this marketing strategy can be for your business. Google is obsessed with providing their users with the search experiences that deliver what they’re looking for. High-quality content is often the best way to provide that experience. Content marketing helps transition sales from forcing a customer to buy your product to being a valuable resource that is there when your customers are ready to buy from you. Lear more from this and related marketing technics at

Most of your customers won’t be ready to buy from you the first time that they hear about your business. People go through a buying process before committing to a purchase. With smaller products (ex. a pack of gum), this buying process is quick; with larger products (ex. a new car), this process takes much longer. Before making a purchase, people realize that they have a problem that needs solving (awareness). They take time to research and better understand their problem (consideration). Then, they make a decision on which solution is best for them (decision).

What is Content Marketing?

In 1895, John Deere released a magazine called, The Furrow. The magazine was not a product brochure for John Deere, in fact it was not sales focused at all. It was a publication about the latest technology in farming, tips about planting and harvesting, and more. The Forrow is considered the first true content marketing campaign. Click here to know about the 7-step system on how to run better Facebook ads .

The genius of it was that it wasn’t designed to get farmers to buy John Deere products. It was focused on positioning John Deere as the most knowledgeable entity for farm technology in the world. As a result, today John Deere is the leading manufacturer of farm equipment and machinery in the world. And all because they decided to stop focusing on themselves and start focusing on the needs of their customers. When they did that, customers naturally flocked to them.

At its core, that’s what content marketing is all about. It’s about creating high quality, useable information that is targeted at fulfilling the needs of the customer. This strategy builds trust and authority in the source that hands out the content and makes users more likely to become customers. And that’s one of the reasons content marketing is such a great way to learn how to sell on amazon, improve your online reputation.

Content Marketing for Reputation Management

Recently, articles found on marketing sites like have explained that, the beauty of content marketing for reputation management is that is has a two-fold result. First, if you can create and publish awesome customer-focused content on a number of websites, your SERP will improve, giving you a better reputation.

Secondly, using this respected Idaho Videography Company it simply improves your company reputation. For example, if you were deciding between two blenders (both of equal price and features), but one company offered you a 200 page cookbook along with your purchase for free, which would you choose? And which one would you tell your friends about?

Although content marketing is a fantastic tool for ranking better, it also gives your company some great exposure and builds trust with your customers. So instead of trying to create a myriad of websites to rank in your key SERP by submitting links to article directories or joining a blogging network, instead consider pouring your efforts into creating great resources, download SodaPDF, infographics, pictures, videos, and more that your customers will value. Now that’s real reputation management.

Reputation Management Through Guest Blogging

One of the best ways to build a great reputation around the web is to give stuff away. Everyone loves free stuff and webmasters are no different. And the currency that webmasters trade in is content. They’re always looking for new, unique, and valuable content they can put on their site with a minimum of hassle and effort. This is one of the reasons good infographics get passed around the web—everyone is looking for a great piece of content to put on their site.

And it’s one of the reasons guest blogging can be used as an effective reputation management strategy. With guest blogging—blogging for others and hosting guest bloggers on your site—you get a chance to build links to your site and make friends around the web, boosting your profile and name, which will result in cleaner SERPs for you or the company you work for.

Blogging for Others

There are so many blogs out there looking for content, you won’t be able to count them. There is a huge demand for great content right now, and there are a large number of webmasters who are asking for great content. Most won’t pay, but that’s okay. You can ask for a link instead—which is better if your goal is to build a better online reputation.

Part of a good reputation management strategy is to get as many mentions of your name as possible on the web (preferably with links back to your core site or blog). When you guest blog, include a short bio at the end of your article with a link to whatever web property you are trying to send link juice to, like social profiles, your blogs, or online news article that mention your name/brand. The link juice will flow to those properties and help them rank better for your name. If you looking for btc news then click here.

Also, guest blogging allows you to use Google’s new rel=”author” tag and point it at your Google+ profile. Boosting the prominence of that particular social profile in the SERPs.

Others Blogging for You

Many webmasters are afraid of giving away links from their site. But this isn’t the old days of SEO; Google has evolved. In fact, a site that has a minimal number of links pointing out is suspicious to Google and might not rank as well as a site that freely links to other great resources and websites.

You can use resources like to find people who want to give you guest posts in exchange for a link. But don’t open the floodgates. Be particular about he kinds of posts you’ll accept, the quality of those posts, and the websites that they will link to.

When you publish a guest post on your blog, the author will either share the post through social networks or put a link to you on their site as well (or maybe both).  All around, those are great ways to build ranking signals to your site.

And with a number of guest posts, you will show Google that your site is active and regularly publishing fresh content.

Reputation Management

Of course, keep in mind your goal—a better online reputation. To that end, make sure you have an author bio on your page that points to your social profiles, so that the juice your are building goes exactly where it is supposed to go. It’s great if you start ranking for other terms as well, but remember to always stay focused on the SERP that you are trying to clean up or trying to shore up against future reputation attacks.

In the end, guest blogging (both inbound and outbound) is a great way to get more mentions of your name on the web and a fairly easy way to build links to your site in order to boost its rank in the SERPs and create a better reputation management strategy.

Keys to Avoid Over-optimizing Your Reputation Management Strategy

You’ve seen the original Disney cartoon, the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, right? In it, Mickey is the apprentice to a powerful sorcerer, but he longs to do magic on his own. So when the sorcerer leaves their cave dwelling, and orders Mickey to clean up the place, Mickey decides to try a little magic himself. He enchants a broom to clean up and fill the cistern full of water, while he goes and takes a nap.

When he wakes up, the broom is doing such a good job at filling the cistern that the cave is flooding. He tries to stop it, but when he fails, he chops the broom into bits. But instead of stopping the broom, all the slivers of the broom grow into brooms themselves and continue the job they had been enchanted to do, filling the cave with water, nearly drowning Mickey in the process.

Likewise, a reputation management strategy can take on a life of its own if we’re not careful with it. And it can do such a good job that it actually starts to harm the site we were trying to get ranked. Sometimes, when Google and the other search engines look at the optimized juggernaut we have created, they see our enchanted brooms and may suppress our rank and even de-index our sites (in extreme cases).

So in order to avoid these penalties, there are a few things we need to keep in mind so that the optimizing we are doing in the name of reputation management doesn’t get out of hand and end up hurting us.

1) Diversify anchor text

In online reputation management, we have the inclination to ensure that all the links we build to the sites and content we want to rank are branded terms—our company name, product name, and other company-specific terms. In a natural link profile, any given site will have a high number of branded anchor texts linking to it. But there will also be a lot of “link noise.” Link noise is the term for anchor text that doesn’t have any specific relation to the site it links to. For example, phrases like “click here,” “this link,” or “source” are common link noise. So make sure that you diversity your anchor text so that it appears to be natural to search engines, and you’ll avoid any trouble.

2) Forget about keyword density

The search engines have gotten pretty good at detecting when certain websites are keyword-stuffing in order to rank better. Although, in the past, reputation management managers have tried to put their branded term in the website text at a 2-4% density (2-4 keywords for every100 words on the site), today it’s better to simply use text that sounds like a normal person wrote it—and not a search engine optimizer.

It’s still important to use your company name and other branded terms in the text, just don’t overdo it. If your text starts to sound like it was written for search engines and not real people, back off a bit, and let your prose flow more naturally.

The Sorcerer Returns

When Mickey finally realizes he is in over his head (literally) and begins to drown, the sorcerer returns, dries up all the water, and puts Mickey back to work cleaning up the even bigger mess he has created. What we’re trying to avoid, as online reputation managers, is making a big mess in the first place. If we can stick to natural link building practices and not let our efforts get away from us—in the end—we won’t have to clean up an even bigger mess after the search engines come back and see what we’ve done.

Tips for Using Non-Branded Content in Your Reputation Management Strategy

As today’s consumer becomes more web savvy, they are increasingly searching for non-branded, or neutral, information when they want to find out more about your company online. That is, if a potential customer searches for your company name online, and all they see are a number of links that clearly point to content that you control, the potential customer may feel like they are not getting a holistic view of your company.

As a result, they may either move to the second page of the results, or they’ll try a new search for something like “ACME reviews” or “information about ACME.” But that’s not what you want them to do.

When managing online reputation for a company, you want to control what potential customers see and keep them from looking elsewhere for more information. But the only way you can keep them on the 1st page of results for your company name is to make them feel that the information they are seeing is natural and unbiased. And the best way to do that is to promote non-branded content as part of the reputation strategy.

Positive and Neutral

Potential customers will only believe they are seeing non-biased information when they see a mix of positive and neutral content on the 1st page of the results. So search for information about your company that already exists online. Here are some places to look:

1) News Articles

News articles are some of the best content to optimize and promote to the 1st page of the search results. They’re written by a 3rd party and they generally carry a good amount of authority with them. In other words, people find it very easy to believe news stories. And when looking for a story about your company, you don’t even have to find one that focuses on your company—one that simply mentions your company name is fine (as long as the mention is in either a positive or neutral light). In fact, it may even be worth it to pitch a story about your company to a local news agency. If they write about you—instant content!

2) Wikipedia

Wikipedia has pretty high domain authority on the web, which is one of the reasons it comes up so often in search results. If you company is of any decent size, it may be worth asking someone to write a short Wikipedia article about it. Although Wikipedia articles are taken with a grain of salt by most people, having a Wikipedia article show up in your search results give the impression that your company is important enough to have an article written about them. Which is never a bad thing.

3) Reviews

One of the great things about the modern internet is that absolute deluge of user-generated content, in the form of reviews, videos, pictures and more. There are dozens of review sites on the web, and it is definitely worth it to search these websites for reviews of your company. If you find a handful of positive or neutral reviews, build links to those pages and get them to rank for your branded search term. What appears most un-biased to a potential customer than 3rd party reviews of your products and services?

4) Video

Video is a little trickier. Unless you already have a very large customer base, there probably aren’t a lot of videos made by third parties about your company. However, they may exist. If you can find one that mentions your company, build links to it to get it to rank better in the results. Videos have an incredibly high click-through rate and carry a good amount of authority with them. If you find a video that mentions your company by name, it’s probably worth it to contact the person who made it, ask them to put your company name in the description and meta tags of the video and tell them you want to promote it. Chances are they’d like increased views of their video (especially if they’re part of the YouTube advertising partner program), giving them an incentive to help you out.

There are other types of 3rd party, neutral content on the web as well, like business listings, BBB pages, blog posts, and more. But these four types of content above may give your reputation management strategy a stronger boost, so it is definitely worth it to give them a try so you can build a more natural looking results page for your company.

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