The Beginner’s Guide To Reputation Management (Part 5 of 34): Keyword Analysis and Strategy

by JunLoayza on April 8, 2013

keywords

So far in the series, we’ve talked about how important Google search results are to reputation management. You understand the importance of ranking well for specific keywords, but you might be wondering how to find the right keywords in the first place. In this lesson, we’ll cover exactly how to find the right keywords for your company and how to know which are the most important to rank well for. We will also cover keyword analysis and strategy for reputation management vs. for SEO and share a case study of one of our clients who created an additional 5 figures in revenue with just one strategically designed piece of content! Let’s dig in.

Keyword Analysis for Reputation Management

There are a number of ways to come up with a list of keywords that you want to use in your reputation management campaign. We are going to talk about five below, and we’re confident that by the end of this lesson you’ll have a long list of phrases that you should begin to focus your efforts on.

Also, we always recommend to our clients that they organize their keyword phrases in an Excel or Google spreadsheet because eventually we are going to show you how to prioritize these keywords to get the fastest results. Make sure you leave an extra column for this in your spreadsheet, because the second step is the most valuable one, and we’ll be sharing it with you in this lesson. Here are the five categories of keywords you’ll want to brainstorm:

#1 – Your Company Name

First, you want to see what results come up in Google for your company name. In this category, you simply want to focus on the top 20 results. What you’re looking for is anything negative, such as a ripoff report, a complaint, or a bad review. You’ll want to list any keyword phrases that are associated with any negative results that you find in your top 20 results on your spreadsheet.

You can come up with keyword phrases by looking at the title, the link structure, and the description of the search result. If needed, you may want to review the lesson on search engine optimization, because we are essentially reverse-engineering Google search results to come up with keyword phrases that the content is ranking highly for.

#2 – Your Company Name + Common Search Phrases

The second thing you want to do when looking for keywords that are relevant to your reputation management campaign is to come up with a list of things that people might type into Google search when looking for negative posts about your company. We always start with a short list that combines the company name with the keywords listed below:

  • Reviews
  • Scam
  • Rip-off
  • Complaint

#3 – Your Company Name + Google Autocomplete Phrases

Third, we recommend that you check your company name and look at any terms that Google AutoComplete uses. What you want to look for are any negative terms that are associated when you type in your company name. Sometimes we see Google AutoComplete adding the word “scam” or “complaints” to the end of your company name. This is one of the highest priorities you want to focus on because those key phrases are the ones that people who aren’t even looking for anything negative about you online will end up using in their search. That means that customers who may already like you or may be ready to purchase are getting sidetracked by bad reviews and complaints that might sway their decision.

#4 – Your Company Name + Locale-Specific Keywords

Next, look at your company name + additional keyword phrases that are specific to the company. For example, if you’re a real estate agent in Denver, we would add your company name + Denver.

For one of our clients, we checked their company name plus their city and looked at the top 20 search results. We found that this was one of the highest volume search terms that the company had, and when we dug through the Google results, there was a negative review within the top five results. Because the term has a lot of traffic, and because one of the top search results was a negative review, we made this term one of our priorities. It became very important for us to rank high in search results for this term because the company would gain a ton of additional business simply by making a strong first impression in this keyword search and pushing the negative review on to the fourth or fifth page of Google search results.

#5 – Your Google Analytics Account

Lastly, you’ll want to check the keyword phrases that are showing up in your Google Analytics account. If you don’t have a Google Analytics account, you’ll want to get one, because this will help you ferret out any negative keyword phrases that you are already ranking highly for. These are some of the best keyword phrases to find because you will be able to change the content to something more positive, since you already own a high ranking in the search results for that term.

Keyword Strategy For Reputation Management

If you compile the list from the five categories above, you should have at least 40 to 50 keyword phrases in your spreadsheet. From here, we need to sort and prioritize the different keyword phrases because we can only focus on so many. We want to look for the keyword phrases that are going to give us the largest gains in terms of traffic. We also want to prioritize the keyword phrases that have the most negative search results, because we’ll gain a lot by ranking highly for these terms.

Separate Dominate vs Remove

The first step is to separate what you need to dominate versus what you need to remove from Google Autocomplete. The terms that you’ll most likely need to focus on first are the ones showing up in Google Autocomplete. The next priorities are likely going to be your company name + city and your company name + “reviews.” You’re going to use these terms in a later lesson about online asset creation, where we’re going to use these key terms to create social profiles and accounts.

Let’s talk a bit about Google AutoComplete. Now, you probably don’t necessarily need to dominate the keyword phrases that you found with Google AutoComplete—you just want to hold a ranking for them. The reason we don’t want to spend a lot of time on these keyword phrases is because if people are Googling them, it will be very hard for us to be in the #1 or #2 spot.

We may be able to break into the top 10, but as we talked about in an earlier lesson, the majority of the traffic goes to the top 3-4 spots in Google search. This is really important to remember about Google’s search algorithm: it is essentially a zero-sum game. What that means is that we can only get significant gains if we can dominate the search results for a specific keyword phrase. If we can’t dominate the search results, which we’ll define as owning the top 1 to 3 spots, then we are not going to get a ton of benefit from our efforts.

Instead of trying to dominate the search results for these terms, we want to use the negative results to our advantage, which we’ll talk about more in the case study.

Later in this guide, we will also talk about how to influence Google AutoComplete so that it stops showing these keyword phrases and instead shows the keyword phrases we want people to search for.

Reputation Management Keyword Analysis vs. SEO Keyword Analysis

So how is reputation management keyword analysis different from SEO keyword analysis? With search engine optimization, the goal is to come up with keywords that are related to your industry. For example, if you were the owner of a surf shop ecommerce store, you might have keyword phrases like “long board,” “surfboard,” “scuba diving,” or “wetsuit.” You would go to Google AdWords and use their tools to check the competition and the traffic volume you might gain by ranking highly for the term. This means the keyword phrases that you would try to dominate would probably need to be very specific and might include phrases such as “classic nine-foot long board” or “classic white nine-foot long board.”

However, you wouldn’t necessarily use your company name or your city because those keyword phrases are only relevant to reputation management. The overarching goal of search engine optimization is to target people who don’t necessarily know who you are but are searching for relevant keyword phrases that may lead them to your company. With reputation management, you are targeting people who already know you and your company and who are simply researching you and your company to make a purchasing decision.

Here’s another way to think about it:

Search engine optimization is primarily for gaining leads who might turn into customers while reputation management is primarily for not losing customers who might be close to making a purchase.

We strongly encourage you to look at search engine optimization and how you can get more traffic with specific keywords using the lesson on search engine optimization as well as several lessons we’ll be posting in the future. For the purpose of this lesson, we are simply focusing on keywords that relate to your company name, your company city, and a small set of common words associated with negative search results.

Case Study: The CEO Video That Earned An Extra 5-Figures Per Month

One of our clients had a major issue when people Googled the company name. The top 10 results were filled with links to rip-off reports on various sites. Through our analysis, we were able to pinpoint that most of these sites were ranking highly for the keyword “reviews” along with a number of variations of keywords that included the city name.

Because we notice this pattern in our analysis, we were able to strategically respond to the various rip-off reports that were showing up in the search results. We decided to do this by featuring the CEO of the company in a video, directly responding to the bad reviews. This helped the company do three very important things that are crucial to utilizing our reputation management framework:

  1. The CEO was able to establish credibility, show personality, and build trust because he was openly addressing something that one of his attractors had written online about him
  2. Once a potential customer saw him on video, they instantly felt a rapport with him and saw that he was a good person who was genuinely trying to help people with his company
  3. This helped the CEO earned these people’s trust while also discrediting the ripoff reports

The keywords we wanted to rank for were ones that included “rip-off,” “complaint,” the city where the CEO had his company, and the CEO’s name. By matching the content to these keywords, we were able to incorporate these keywords into the title, the description, and the alt tags without causing any confusion to the people who viewed it.

The Results

Three months ago, if you typed in the company name and looked at the Google AutoComplete keywords for that search term, people might see something that said the company name + “reviews” or “rip-off.” People would click on that keyword phrase and see all the bad reviews of the company.

Now, the first result they see is the video we made that ranks well for these keywords. They may still see the rip-off reports, because those are really difficult to get rid of especially when the term “rip-off” is in the domain name (for example, ripoffreport.com), but now those results work in our favor rather than to our detriment. We were able to turn a negative impression into a positive impression, even without dominating the Google Autocomplete phrase.

This has been extremely helpful in retaining potential customers. We were able to prove this when we started receiving feedback from the sales team. The sales team was getting emails and calls where the customer would say that they were hesitant to make the purchase, but once they saw the CEO’s video they felt more comfortable and went ahead and made the purchase right away. We continue to hear from 3-5 people per month who say that the video help them decide to purchase. And that’s just the people who said something; there are likely many other people who would not be as forthcoming with that information even though they ended up purchasing the service.

This is why it’s so important to run a keyword analysis and go through the keyword strategy steps to understand where you can make the most impact in search engine results. By doing a little research, you’ll be able to hone in on the keyword terms that will get you the fastest and largest results. The video we created with the CEO was able to rank very quickly because of the type of content it was and because of the keywords we had unconvered, and the company was able to immediately save sales that they would have otherwise lost. When we quantified what this one video was worth, the amount ended up being five figures per month. How’s that for return on investment?

Thanks for reading this part of the guide and if you have any questions, you can email me at Jun [at] ReputationHacks.com.

About the author

JunLoayza Jun Loayza is the President of Reputation Hacks. In his entrepreneurial experience, Jun has sold 2 internet companies, raised over $1,000,000 in Angel funding, and lead social media technology campaigns for Sephora, Whole Foods Market, Levi's, LG, and Activision. Find Jun on Google or Twitter

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Ryan April 9, 2013 at 12:06 am

Hi Jun, I’m a little confused on what to “remove” from Google Autocomplete. What are we taking from Google Autocomplete if we are not spending much time on keyword phrases from there?

Reply

JunLoayza April 9, 2013 at 9:32 am

Google Autocomplete are the keywords generated when you start to type something in Google.

Check out this image here: http://screencast.com/t/2PbI0iIUlCg

You’ll see that’s the autocomplete when you type “Jun Loayza” into Google.

In a future post, we’ll talk about how to alter Google Autocomplete to your advantage.

The reason you would want to change google autocomplete is if “rip off” is the result when you type in your company name.

Reply

Rachel April 9, 2013 at 12:30 am

Wow! I’m learning more and more with each new post! Do you think more time should be spent in reputation management or SEO?

Reply

JunLoayza April 9, 2013 at 9:36 am

I truly believe that Reputation Marketing is the new SEO. Reputation Management is a part of Reputation Marketing.

In addition, Reputation Marketing is comprised of personal branding, thought leadership, and content marketing. Reputation Marketing is a way to position yourself for longterm success.

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