The wild web is growing and getting wilder. And with that comes the fact that we cannot always control what is being said – good or bad – about our organizations, businesses and our personal brands.
Here at Web Marketing Therapy we sometimes have clients and friends ask us what they can do to help mitigate certain unwanted search results about them or their organization from popping up on the web. Unfortunately, you can’t control what others are posting, but you can make an effort to get your positive messaging to the top of the search rankings.
Step One: Google Yourself
Take survey of what the internet is saying about your personal brand or organization. Regardless of what you think, people are searching for you on the web, so you should take the time every once in a while to see what is circulating.
If you aren’t popping up on the top of list try to be more specific in your search:
- To help narrow your search try using quotation marks around your name: “Aiden Anderson”. This technique makes Google search the exact words in your search and helps to keep irrelevant web content from popping up.
- If you or your organization shares a name with someone or something you can narrow your search down further by eliminating those other possible search results. Example: “Aiden Anderson – author” will eliminate any use of the term author with my name.
Step Two: Practice Patience
If you do find negative web results, such as a crappy Yelp review, don’t panic. If you don’t find any results for your company, don’t panic. While we all want 5 stars and a perfect online reputation, you must keep in mind that the web is a constantly evolving entity. The key to getting positive internet news, reviews and search results up is to make sure they are being putting out there in the first place, this is where step three comes in.
(Note: If you do find negative search results, don’t click on them! This boosts a link’s search ratings!)
Step Three: Content Makeover
- Check your organizations current content. If your only web presence is your personal, public Facebook profile of you doing a keg stand or someone else’s mean spirited review of your company then you need a) follow some social media netiquette and remove any web stuff that is off brand that you can control (ie. make your personal Facebook private, or remove inappropriate pictures from Twitter) and b) make an effort to increase your web presence in a positive way
- Create On-Brand and On-Purpose Content. By creating on brand messaging on your company website, blog or social media accounts you are ensuring that content you control will be more likely to come up in searches. Always remember that content is key. The more quality content you put out there the more likely it is to pop up in searches and this can help to push negative content down in the search rankings.
- Encourage Positive Reviews. If you have clients and customers that voice their love for your organization then take advantage of that by requesting they post a review. However, you must be sure to make it as easy as possible for them do so: Create an email template or print a card with step by step instructions and the exact url they can visit to post their positive review.
And if it makes you feel better, don’t be discouraged by negative reviews. People who voluntarily post reviews tend to be extremists in their opinions of a service or organization, so it helps to encourage those who normally wouldn’t do a review to actually get posting.
Your online reputation is important, but a few negative search results don’t have to be the “be all, end all” of your company web presence. You can influence search results by getting content out there, getting higher in the rankings and pushing the negativity deep, down, below the good stuff.