What is SEO reputation management?

10 minute read

What is SEO reputation management?

SEO reputation management uses search engine optimization and other techniques to improve the way brands (companies, people, products, services, political entities) are seen online. 

Article highlights

  • 63% of your company value is based on your reputation
  • SEO is a powerful tool for online reputation management, protection, and repair
  • Every company should have a reputation crisis management plan, but only about one-half of companies do
  • Smart SEO reputation management tactics can help get negative content off the front page of search results

You probably know that your corporate brand reputation is important, but do you know how important? As much as 63% of your company value is based on your reputation. According to a 2005 Economist Intelligence Unit report, reputation is the greatest risk facing global companies. 

Protecting, managing, and recovering your brand reputation comes down to focusing on what you can control. It starts with being aware of what people are saying about your brand, taking responsibility and corrective action to solve any problems, then working to recover from the damage by addressing your SEO reputation management. 

Article sections

How does reputation management work? 

You can’t control everything that’s said about your company. Inevitably, there will be a consumer or employee or partner who says or does something that makes you look bad or even causes a company crisis. Or maybe you’ll even make some company decisions that come back to haunt you. 

The embarrassment will be bad enough on its own, but what’s more hurtful is the damage to your brand value and brand equity, the loss of customers, the loss of ROI, loss of stock value, and increased expenses. Reputation management can help you avoid reputation crises and remedy them if they occur.

Online reputation management

How does online reputation management affect search engine results?

Online reputation management (ORM) is the practice of managing the information about your brand that is available and most prominent to internet users. ORM functions as several marketing tools at once. 

It’s a proactive measure to protect against potential PR crises, which are much more likely than many business leaders think. While almost 60% of companies have experienced a corporate PR crisis, only 54% of them have a plan in place to handle such disastrous events. 

ORM is also a marketing tactic that boosts brand awareness, visibility, and reputation. After a crisis, ORM is a damage control and recovery tool. 

It is a multifaceted process that involves:

  • Monitoring mentions and addressing negative conversation
  • Building a strong and positive image in the SERPs (search engine results pages)
  • Working to repair any reputation damage

What is SEO and how does it work?

Search engine optimization is the process of optimizing elements of your website to improve its ranking in the SERPs. Getting Google or another search engine (but mainly Google) to list pages of your website at the top of the first page for keywords that are relevant to your business will dramatically increase your traffic and ultimately your revenue. 

The process involves structuring your site and its pages for clarity for the search engines. It also entails refining the technical aspects of your site to feature certain keywords throughout the content, titles, tags, etc. for your content (and site overall) to be considered by the search engines as a valuable resource and authority in your industry. 

Google continually works to achieve organic search results that are based on the quality and relevance of the information, while SEO experts continue to follow Google’s updates and work out what works best for the newest algorithms. 

Google’s efforts to combat synthetic or manipulative SEO has led some to believe that SEO is no longer a viable marketing tactic, but that is far, far from the truth. More than $80 billion will be spent on SEO in 2020 as more and more businesses take their online presence seriously.

What is SEO

Source: Lyfe Marketing  

Using SEO for reputation management 

SEO is one of the most critical components of reputation management. SEO for ORM focuses on the SERPs – that is to say, search engine optimization for your reputation management strategy focuses on the first page of search results. 

By ensuring that the first page is full of positive, accurate information, you can reduce the risk of having existing or future negative content make its way to the front page. There are several ways you can protect page one from negative content:

  • Increase the ranking of positive search results 
  • Address all content types 
  • Suppress negative search results
  • Hire someone

Increase the ranking of positive search results 

Address all SEO aspects for every website page and any other properties you inhabit online, including your social media presence, content marketing outlets, directories, etc. Ensure all profiles are up to date with accurate and complete information. 

Optimizing your Google My Business listing with as much information as possible will help take up a large portion of the front page. By increasing the rank of your positive search results, you can take up more real estate on the first page and create a more positive, professional, and visible image for consumers searching online. 

Address all content types 

The first page of Google’s search results contains multiple types of content and listings. If you look across the page you will find paid advertising, videos, social media profiles, Google My Business profiles, images, featured snippets, and more. 

To fill the page and push negative search results out of view, you will have to get multiple pieces of content to the front page. Google allows a maximum of two pages from your website on the first page’s main organic listings. To show up for a branded search, this means you need to optimize your Home page and a secondary page (the About page is a popular choice). 

Utilize all social media profiles including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube. These sites have high domain authority and will almost always rank for a brand search. Fill the image section with positive images by using alt text and image titles with keywords for every image you post on your site or social media. Partner with a popular YouTuber to publish a marketing-quality video (or multiple) that represents your brand. 

Wells fargo SERP

In the event of a crisis, put out new PR content to leverage news and high-traffic blog sites. Get a PR firm or reputation management firm involved. Control the discussion by getting out in the open and ahead of the negative publicity. Respond to interview requests and issue press releases. Do damage control. If corrective and positive action is taken quickly and proactively, negative content may never have a chance to gain traction on the front page. 

Suppress negative search results

There are several tactics for pushing down negative content. It can be an involved process, though, and having experience implementing such tactics properly increases your chances of success. This is another instance you should consider the professional assistance of an SEO or online reputation management firm

In-depth keyword research can show you where high-volume searches are yielding negative results for your brand. The goal is to uncover medium- and long-tail keywords related to the main branded term that bring up unflattering content. However, this level of incisive keyword research is typically not something that can be perfected overnight. 

Get backlinks on all of your positive content to push that content higher on the SERPs. Be sure to use a white-hat approach to secure backlinks from high authority sites and avoid backlink sellers and shifty deals. These can backfire in your SEO. 

Hire someone

An experienced agency can take good care of your SEO reputation management and be your sherpa through the challenges of managing crises, accelerating the recovery timeline, and returning your brand to good public standing quickly. A management company may also be able to tend to high-level issues like media interviews and other PR. 

SEO reputation management checklist 

  • In-depth keyword research for medium and longtail keywords
  • Primary and secondary brand name focus pages from your website
  • Continually create new content – and maintain and update all existing content – to stay fresh and engage your audience
  • Authoritative backlink building
  • Optimize Google My Business listing
  • Respond courteously and genuinely to reviews, comments, and messages
  • Run Google sponsored (pay per click) ads (only if negative content is below the fold)
  • Optimize social media profiles
  • Create and tag professional-quality videos and images 
  • Check Wikipedia and other directories for opportunities for improvement 

SEO reputation management FAQs

Is SEO still relevant in 2021?

SEO is still a major factor in the amount of traffic fed to websites through organic search engine results. SEO is always evolving (some SEO techniques lose effectiveness while others grow in importance), so implementing SEO strategies is one of the best ways to boost your revenue and grow your business. As a part of reputation management, SEO is indispensable, so it’s a good idea to keep it in the marketing budget. 

What are the different types of SEO?

Too often people only concern themselves with on-page and off-page SEO, but several types of SEO should be addressed. Three types of SEO are mission-critical:  on-page, off-page, and technical SEO. 

On-page SEO affects what is visible on the page. Putting keywords in headings, subheadings, content, internal links, image alt tags, etc., are some main on-page SEO practices. 

Off-page SEO is what is done outside of your site. One of the most popular types of off-page SEO is the backlink. Content marketing, brand building, review management, and social media are but a few of the major off-page SEO strategies that are hugely important.

Technical SEO is neither on-page nor off, but it significantly affects every page and the site as a whole. It’s the technical coding stuff that’s inside the page, like sitemaps and meta tags, and it matters a lot. 

On page v off page SEO

What are the best SEO techniques?

Optimize your site for all users, including mobile and voice search. Create an impeccable user experience across the entire site. Instead of working towards a single keyword per page, focus on topic clusters. Generally, you will want to write longer content on all pages you want to rank and maintain an average word count per page of more than 300 words. One of the most important and difficult steps is to create a diverse backlink portfolio. Finally, make sure to optimize the technical and on-page SEO for each page. These are just as important as off-page SEO.