As of this writing, Google owns 66.2% of search market share. So reputation management should be 66.2% of your effort. But Bing and Yahoo are significant players as well and should not be dismissed.
It doesn’t take much to tarnish your online reputation in today’s world. Even if you have gone through years without receiving any negative complaints or product reviews from customers, it could only take a few hits to your reputation to cause your company to suffer. When those issues arise, you need to engage in online reputation repair. But that’s like buying insurance after the fact.
Consider how people look for you or your company on the web. Over 66% use Google. 15% use Bing, and about 14% use Yahoo. Most of the time, they are going to go into a search engine and type in a search phrase with your name or your company’s name either as a navigational search (because they already know your name but not your website address), or as they comparison shop. They are going to see the results of their search seconds later, and if you have a host of negative information popping up on the first few pages of search engine results it is going to color their opinion of you. It’s an easy way to lose business before you even get it, and that’s the last thing businesses need in todays tough economic environment.
Cleaning Your Online Reputation
Online reputation protection is vital if you are going to do well with your business in this increasingly technological world. One of the best ways to combat the problem of negative information on the web is through managing your reputation with a combination of different types of online content augmented by search engine optimization, or SEO.
In 2007, Google began to mix in other kinds of web content into search results in something called ‘universal’ or blended search. This means that search results got a mixture of press releases, blogs, web pages, and other things. You can take advantage of this by creating a lot of good, relevant content and publishing it with your key phrases strewn liberally throughout.
It’s increasing clear that to own the first pages of Google search results, you’ll need great relevant content. An excellent resource for content creation that discusses various stages in the content creation lifecycle is this Wikipedia page.
One of the first things that you will want to do is look at the keywords that people are using to find your company. You may want to start using different keywords on your site and in your content so that the links visitors see on their search engine results aren’t the negative items. You can also take steps to increase the amount of quality links that you have and good, positive information on the web.
Create as much good press as you possibly can, and make sure that you are using the new keywords that you want people to associate with your company when they are searching. You should also start to build more links, as this will help your search engine results even more.
Advanced Google Reputation Management
Beyond just creating content and using search engine optimization to effect Google, you can create what we call an ‘online mythology’. An online trail of breadcrumbs that leads a researcher down one or many paths, often arriving at the destination of your choice. This kind of search result sculpting is beyond the scope of this article, but you can imagine how art and science can blend together to create an online mythology that would be beneficial to any company’s bottom line.