Reputation management involves improving your brand-driven search result pages, i.e. making sure people searching for your (or your business) name see positive results that talk about your expertise, trustworthiness, and accomplishments.
This process is also referred to as SEO reputation management.
In a world where everyone is searching for everyone else's name online, organic search reputation management is one the most important investments businesses and entrepreneurs could make.
As branded search results are of such huge importance to managing reputation, it is pretty obvious that reputation experts need to have a clear understanding of what search engine optimization is and how it works.
The good news is the type of SEO expertise required to become good at reputation management is not technical. Chances are, you won’t need to figure out website architecture or fix performance.
This means that you can pretty easily self-learn SEO to the level allowing you to be good at reputation management.
How are SEO and reputation related?
Fundamentally, Search Engine Optimization makes your website findable, crawlable, and indexable by Google. In other words, SEO makes it easier for a search crawler to understand your site. In the context of reputation management, SEO is about controlling as many search results as possible using SEO as one of the tools:
As one site can hold a single position (out of ten on page 1) of search results, SEO reputation management also involves creating third-party assets outside of the primary domain. These involve:
- Social media profiles
- Press releases
- Video and audio channels (Youtube, Soundcloud, etc.), etc.
However, creating profiles is only the first step to controlling your brand-driven search results. You need to rank those on page one, which is where SEO comes into play.
For a third-party asset to rank for your name, you need:
- Research brand-driven search queries and identify search intent behind each one
- Optimize each page for the brand name (make sure there’s a lot of content about that business or personal name for Google to understand why that page needs to rank for that page)
- Build links to those pages because without backlinks there are no rankings.
Fundamentally, that’s all reputation management experts should be doing to ensure nice-looking SERPs for a brand name.
While it sounds simple, the process involves a lot of work and effort, as well as monitoring results. Here’s how reputation experts can improve their SEO knowledge without spending hours a day.
Best SEO resources to start with
Google’s SEO Guide
Google is kind enough to provide a very detailed yet easy-to-understand SEO guide for beginners. While it is not too actionable, it is a good way to understand the fundamental principles of what Google considers manipulation. Blatant manipulation should be avoided as it could negatively affect search results. So reading the Google SEO Guide is a fine start.
Erik Emanuelli does a great job describing on-page SEO elements and how to structure content on the page to make the most of those. There’s a handy on-page SEO checklist included, which will make your life much easier.
Actionable SEO Tips
Finally, now that you are familiar with the theory, this SEO newsletter by Victor Karpenkowill inspire action. Every month you will receive an SEO tip you can implement right now to improve your positions or simply to get yourself motivated.
Best SEO tools to use
I am a big advocate of learning SEO by playing with SEO tools. Nothing gives you so much insight and inspiration as using innovative SEO software.
Besides, tools make the SEO process easier by allowing you to automate some tasks while helping other tasks be more informed and productive.
Luckily there’s no shortage of ingenious SEO tools to try when working on reputation management projects.
You often need to set up more (mini-)sites on new domains or subdomains when trying to rank more brand-owned assets for those brand-driven search queries. Namify is a great tool for that because it makes the process insanely productive: You register your domain while making sure that name is available on social media profiles:
SEO reputation management is unique because your goal is to control all top 10 results as well as special organic search elements, like images and visual carousels. In other words, you are trying to optimize for the whole first page of search results rather than optimizing one page for one position.
Choosing a proper rank monitoring solution is key for the task because it will capture all the dynamics of your target branded SERPs and allow you to better understand your further steps. SE Ranking offers an advanced position tracking solution that saves a snapshot of your target search results page on a daily basis and visualizes its dynamics via a graph:
To better analyze visual and interactive elements of your branded SERPs (like related Top Stories, your Knowledge Panel, image, and visual carousels, etc.) Visualping allows you a solution that you can use to monitor your page as well as monitor your SEO competitors. It is a very smart idea to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing to generate more attractive brand-driven SERPs:
Link building is a big part of organic search reputation management because links improve the rankings of your assets and push them to page one of the search results. But yet again, reputation managers deal with more than one website, and tracking links to multiple sites and pages will inevitably become an issue.
SE Ranking, mentioned above, provides a very robust link monitoring solution allowing you to check the indexation status and get alerted when any of the links is removed or "nofollowed".
There are quite a few link-monitoring and link-building tools for you to research competitors’ links and build your own.
Regardless of what you’ve heard from experts that want to make it sound very complicated, SEO is really not rocket science. You can self-learn it by reading and implementing it within a couple of months and then gradually improve your knowledge as you come across more projects. Good luck!