One of the most important things that social networking has allowed us to do is to find out what other people are saying about us. If the feedback we’re hearing is negative, we can do a lot of damage control. If it’s positive, we can find out what our customers think we’re doing right and build on those strengths. But one of the other important aspects of reputation management to remember is that we can use search engine optimization techniques to control what people see when they Google our business name or our own personal name.
For example, you may find that a search for your company name results in some disparaging feedback in the form of forum posts or blog comments. While there’s no way to wave a magic wand and make those go away, there are some ways to make sure that more positive information related to your and/or your business shows up in the search engine results in a higher place than the not-so-good stuff. Here are 5 tips to managing what people see when they search for us.
1. Blog. Use your blog frequently and refer to yourself in the third person. If you don’t already have an About Me page, create one. Also take the opportunity to write a few blog posts about yourself. Like always, you don’t want to make gratuitous references to yourself, but at least mention your name once or twice.
2. Name Your Domain. If you haven’t already done so, make your own name your domain name. While you may be tempted to simply point your domain name to your blog, also consider creating some content to put at http://yourname.com.
3. Profiles. You can make your blogger profiles work for you. If you need more information about how to create profiles that work to your advantage, consult an internet marketing expert or SEO professional.
4. Use Social Networking. Your profiles on MySpace and other sites can help you increase your search engine results that reflect positively on your and your business. These tools help you build a good reputation right off the bat.
5. Inbound Links. As always, the best way to increase the positive and decrease the negative is to increase your search engine ranking. And the best way to do that is to work, work, work on increasing your inbound links. Figure out which pages of your website you want to focus on most and set out to get quality inbound links to those pages.
If you follow these steps, you’ll notice in time that some of your social networking and blogging profiles will show up higher in the search engine rankings. If you’re putting the right kind of effort into creating and publishing new, quality blog posts, you’ll note that your blog is showing up in the results as well. You’ll also see http://yourname.com show up with an increased ranking in the search results if you’re creating good content and optimizing for a few keywords that you think are most important.
One of the most amazing aspects of creating an online business is that anyone, anywhere can find you, use your product or service, and provide feedback about you and your company. That’s also one of the most frightening aspects of creating an online business. The fact that anyone, anywhere can say anything they want, and that what they say can potentially make or break your business, is the chance you take when you put yourself out there on the internet. If you discover that unflattering information is showing up in the search results when you Google your name or the name of your business, your best bet is to consult an SEO expert or internet marketing professional that offers online reputation management. Those folks can help you determine how good SEO techniques can help win back your reputation, and bury that not-so-helpful feedback way back in the nether regions of the search engine results.
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