Some of the most successful businesses online today are those that provide a platform for others to build their businesses on top of. For example, shortly after the iPhone came out, Apple created the app store, which many companies who specialized in everything from gaming to productivity to fitness were able to build profitable businesses on top of. Likewise, when Twitter first came out, companies like TweetDeck, HootSuite, and Buffer emerged to augment the Twitter experience and provide additional tools for tweeters to use. Sites like WordPress.org emerged as the forefront blogging platform that allows companies and individuals to build websites without having much technical knowledge.
In the same way, Google has become a platform for many other industries to emerge. Search engine optimization, click-through advertising, and reputation management came about solely because companies want to get the best Google search rankings possible, and were willing to spend a large amount of money to get either organic or paid placement at the top of the page.
Who is Reputation Management For?
Reputation management is for companies that want to create a strong brand online. Not only do you protect your brand by owning your Google search results, but you also funnel people to your landing pages so you can close deals, land speaking engagements, attend conferences, and get more clients.
Reputation management is also for companies that want to create a strong defense. As I mentioned in the first part of the guide, my clients in the rehabilitation industry had problems with reputation management because even if they did a great job for their clients, sometimes their clients would get kicked out of the program or relapse (which is common when dealing with a lifelong disease like alcoholism or drug addiction). When these things happen, they go on sites like Ripoff Reports and write bad reviews about the company, which hurts the company’s brand. A good company has no way to remove fraudulent reviews from Angie’s List, Yelp, and Ripoff Report, so they need reputation management to help them get those bad search results off of the front page of Google.
Lastly, reputation management is for people who want to build thought leadership opportunities. I shared my own story in the last lesson, but I’m not the only person who has used reputation management to build a brand. Online experts like Yu-kai Chou (gamifacation), Adam Baker (personal finance) and Chris Brogan (social media) have built small companies by building a strong personal brand first.
Does Every Company/Person Need Reputation Management?
Without question, YES! Reputation management is not just for companies who have bad reputations online. Here are three companies that use reputation management:
Derek Halpern of Social Triggers – He uses reputation management to teach people online marketing strategy. Because of his work, he’s gotten the opportunity to interview New York Times bestselling authors and has landed multiple speaking engagements, including the opportunity to teach a 2-day class about lead generation for creativeLIVE.
The Art of Charm – The guys at The Art of Charm teach men social dynamics, which help them interact with people in a variety of scenarios, including both social and professional situations. While they specialize in teaching men how to get more dates, they also use their thought leadership to expand into other areas. Because they rank well on Google, they get plenty of speaking opportunities, users, and clients.
A Forever Recovery – This rehabilitation facility uses reputation management to build a strong defense online. They do great things for people who are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol and use reputation management to get the success stories into the first results on Google search.
Google Search: How Does It Work?
In this guide, we’ll dive deep into social and search engine optimization to understand why it’s important and how you can use it to improve your company’s online presence. For now, it’s important to know the basics. Google has technology that allows it to crawl your site (visit all your pages and anything you’ve linked to) looking for specific keywords. By picking out these keywords, Google is able to tell what your site is about so it can use your site in relevant search results. They also give your website a ranking, based on a number of factors that we’ll cover in this guide.
If you are a real estate agent in Denver, for example, Google will rank you for the keyword “real estate” and “Denver real estate.” The more relevant content you have for those keywords, the higher your website will rank.
A second major factor in Google’s ranking algorithm is who links to your website and what their ranking is. When you have high-quality external sites linking to you, you move up in the rankings very quickly. Every link back to your site is like a vote that your website is a credible source for Google to display. Wikipedia is a great example for this; you can Google just about any celebrity and their Wikipedia page will likely be among the first three results.
The flipside of this is that every site your website links to is a vote for their website. That means you have to be careful and only link to highly reputable websites. Google’s algorithm is very good at figuring out which sites are important and worthy of the elusive top spots in their search results, so it’s important to have a professional, reputable website that is not labeled as spammy in any way.
Reputation Management: How Does It Work?
Reputation management is a complicated topic that we’ll dive into deeper in the next section, but for this section we’ll talk about this in three general parts:
Positive Search Results
Reputation management depends on having positive search results in the first 10-30 spots of Google’s results for your company’s name. This ensures that even if someone writes something bad about you online, you and your company brand are protected because you still own the search results whenever someone searches for your name. Most people will never look past the second or third page in Google search results, and even if they do, you will have had the chance to make your case before a customer sees a bad review. By pushing down the negative content, you can avoid making a bad first impression.
For example, one of my clients recently held a benefit for children called Imagination Heals. The event was held in Beverly Hills, California and we partnered with Pacha’s Pajamas to host the benefit. We took the opportunity to not only help children in need, but also to create a positive press opportunity. We sent out press releases to make sure that the world knew what kind of company my client had.
Long-Term Defense Opportunities
Reputation management also helps companies build a brand with long-term defense capability. We go beyond teaching you to get a profile up on Facebook or Twitter. Instead, we land guest blogging opportunities or weekly and monthly contributor opportunities to influential blogs in your industry. These opportunities take time to land, but that’s because they are the most worthwhile. They ensure the long-term defense against people who want to damage your brand.
Finally, reputation management means that a company looks at bad reviews as an opportunity to respond online. There are right and wrong ways to do this. How do you respond to Ripoff Report? How do you respond to Yelp reviews? How do you respond to a blog post that speaks negatively about your company? We create the perfect strategy and messaging that helps your company respond in a way that doesn’t add to the controversy or fuel an angry debate online, while still allowing you to address specific points within the bad review.
How Long Does It Take To See Results?
We’ll be discussing this in depth in our analysis in part 3 of this series, but we have found that there are two effective strategies: a quick fix strategy and a long-term defense-building strategy. We do both for our clients to get them the best results.
The quick fix strategy is to create social media profiles and use video and images to quickly rank in search results. It also includes some public relations, which we’ll be discussing later in this guide. We execute the quick fix strategy over the course of 60 days and can show results very quickly with it.
The long-term strategy is to build thought leadership and branding by owning those top Google search results. We spend at least six months executing this strategy because it requires lots of solid, thought-provoking content, which takes time to build.
This guide is a great place to start with reputation management. So far, we’ve learned what reputation management is and how search engine optimization is used to build a solid brand. We talked about the three parts of reputation management to give a broad overview of what we do, and we shared how quickly we can get results.
Next, we’ll go over the 8 core principles of reputation management—search engine optimization, blogging, reviews, social media, video and images, public relations, external links, and personal branding—using the octalysis framework. This overview of the 8 core principles will be fantastic because the framework will help you analyze your company and the kind of reputation it has online. It will also set up the next section of the guide, which will dive even deeper into each core principle with a full lesson devoted to each.
Throughout this course, I’m sure you’ll have a lot of questions, so be sure to ask using the comment section of this post. You can also reach out to me at jun [at] reputationhacks.com to get your question answered. See you in the next section!