We get a lot of requests at SEO.com for reputation management services. Truth be told, they aren’t the most fun projects in the world, and often times it takes a few years to really clean up any negative results and keep them away from the first page.
I am a huge believer in starting a reputation management campaign in the initial phases of launching your business, or even launching a simple website selling an affiliate product.
The purpose behind this strategy is twofold: One, it provides you an opportunity to fill the search engine results pages with relevant content about your business, your website, or even your executives, before anyone else can come in and dirty them up. Second, it allows you to take that content and strengthen it via backlinks and other methods so that if you do screw up or have a disgruntled customer posting negative online content, yours is aged, more authoritative, and is harder to outrank.
So, this sounds good right? Sure it does!
But how do you get started?
You need to identify certain properties you would like showing up in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for the names you want to protect. Obviously, I want to make sure my website is ranked #1 for the search query. I will also set myself up to capture positions 2 and possibly 3 in the SERPs by having a blog and other authoritative pages on my site.
Identify the basic Web properties you know that you can have full control over. These are sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Squidoo, and HubPages. You might also look at building a Wikipedia page, although it’s a bit more risky since you don’t have full control over the content of the page. I will then take the time to build out an optimized profile on each of these sites and begin interlinking them and building some external backlinks to them as well. For your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn profiles, you might also link to them from the footer of your website to help pass your site’s authority to those properties.
After you have the properties set up and optimized, you definitely aren’t done. The sole purpose of these is to keep any negative content from creeping up to page one of the results. To better your chances of success, you will continually need to strengthen them through different methods.
Building external backlinks will help, but often times they only get you so far. One way I like to strengthen these properties is by finding ways to build internal links. With just a few internal links from pages with a lot of authority, your company’s profile pages will quickly start to rise in the SERPs, and have staying power.
There are other methods and strategies you can execute to strengthen these pages, but this should help you get off on the right foot. The most important things to remember are that one: you need to be proactive and not reactive when it comes to reputation management. Start early and push hard to protect your what’s rightfully yours. And two: pick properties that you can control. Nothing is worse than putting out some content to assist in the reputation management process and finding out that you aren’t able to moderate comments and you just shot yourself in the foot.