A Guide to SEO for Reputation Management

While search engine optimisation is traditionally known to be something that helps you rank for terms that drive traffic (and ultimately revenue) to your site, it is also becoming an increasingly effective way of managing your brand’s reputation.

With Google adhering more and more to their own E-E-A-T guidelines (standing for Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trust), the need to ensure that you’re a brand that displays trust is becoming increasingly important. Luckily, SEO can help you do that.

By using SEO tactics you can control the search engine results pages (SERP) for branded terms and stop other relevant queries from portraying your brand negatively.

Here, we’ll show you how to use SEO for reputation management, including some tactics that can ensure you’re seen as the positive brand you are.

What is reputation management?

Broadly, reputation management sort of speaks for itself, it’s a term that describes the methods a business or individual uses to ensure their reputation is truthful. This applies to real life and online and ensuring you’re seen as a brand with a worthy reputation not only affects the audience’s views of you but also Google’s, as its algorithms become more nuanced.

A three-step guide to using search engine optimisation to manage your reputation (including one important tip!)

1. How to start: Find the areas of concern

You can’t manage a reputation without first understanding what your current reputation is. So, the first step to ensuring a positive, truthful reputation is looking at how the land currently lies.

Through the lens of organic SEO, the best way to do that is to start searching for branded queries and branded queries plus any terms that could be perceived as negative.

For instance, you could search for your company name on its own (example: ‘Embryo’) to see how a pure brand keyword search page looks. Then, start adding terms such as ‘reviews’, ‘opening hours’, or ‘news’.

You can also use third-party keyword research tools that will supply you with the necessary data.

Doing this for as many relevant terms as possible will allow you to assess the state of each SERP, and allow you to go on step two.

2. See how you stack up for each SERP of concern

Now you have your list of SERPs it’s time to examine the overall sentiment of them and see how your website ranks within them.

Ideally, you want to be number one in the organic position for your company’s name, for instance.

For each query’s SERP that you examine, ask yourself if the URLs that appear are controlled by you or not, this will further allow you to prioritise which terms you need to manage reputationally.

3. Deploy content to rank for those branded queries

Now you have your list of queries and SERPs, it’s time for action!

Create content that targets these branded queries and the intent behind the search. Find the gaps in those branded queries and work to create content that fills them. This can be done in a variety of ways such as:

  • Expanding on articles
  • Optimising portions of the website
  • Create brand new pages

The good thing about ranking for branded keywords is that it’s often not too difficult as Google will be able to understand the context of your business and rank it accordingly. It is also a great white hat technique that Google will more than likely reward.

Top tip: Be aware of SERP features!

One of many things to be aware of is the ever-evolving search engine results page (SERP). Years ago, SERPs contained 10 blue links that were ranked accordingly. Not anymore. Google anything these days and you’ll come across Featured Snippets, YouTube videos, People Also Ask sections, images, and local listings, the list could go on and on.

The key to ranking for any term, especially your own branded terms, is to ensure your content reflects the types of content that are already there. So if video is required for term X then be prepared to create one.

Five ways you can use SEO to succeed at reputation management

So you’ve identified the terms and taken action to rectify whatever issues appear on those SERPs

Looking long term though, here are three sustainable ways you can ensure your reputation online remains a positive one.

1. Invest in PR!

Going back to E-E-A-T, the four trust signals we mentioned in the introduction, investing in digital PR can help you hit those authority and trust signals that lead to a positive reputation.

Digital PR campaigns that show your business in a positive light, be it to do with raising money for a charity, contributing to an article as an expert, or advertising the launch of a new product through a press release all help to create content which sends signals to Google that you’re a company that has a good reputation.

When people Google your company name, they’ll be hit with a flood of positive stories about your business.

Digital PR can help you control what is said about your company online.

2. Create a Google My Business profile

If you haven’t got a Google My Business (GMB) profile, get one.

A GMB is essentially your opportunity to create a business profile on Google into which you can include your business’s name, opening hours, phone numbers, websites, pictures, answers to FAQs, as well as much more.

GMBs are a great signal to Google that your brand is ‘living and breathing’ and an ideal place for users to find important information about your business (such as your address, essential when it comes to local SEO) when they search for your brand’s name.

Another key feature of GMB profiles is the ability for customers to leave reviews. Obviously, we all want positive reviews but even with negative ones, GMB gives owners the opportunity to respond to them.

3. Set up a brand alert

Want to stay on top of what people are saying about your brand online?

Set up a brand alert.

Doing so ensures you’ll be one of the first to know when your brand is mentioned – for good or bad – by reviewers, journalists, or any internet user.

Brand alerts allow you to spot things quickly, and nip them in the bud straight away.

4. Counter negative keywords with content

Searching for your brand will often lead to a number of People Also Ask (PAA) sections.

These could include snippets such as:

  • Is [your company] legit?
  • Is [your company] a scam?
  • Should I buy from [your company]?
  • Is [your company] a good place to work?

These PAA snippets are a rich seam of information for your reputational analysis.

By viewing these PAAs and finding the negative ones, you can (and should) create helpful content that means you rank for that featured snippet.

Failing to target these questions with content could lead to customers avoiding your business after reading a PAA they never even thought to search for.

5. Have an active social media presence

One of the best ways of owning your brand’s reputation is by making sure you have a presence across all relevant social media channels. Not only so that you can benefit from running campaigns but also to prevent bad actors from imitating your business.

Being on social media doesn’t mean you’re immune to disgruntled customers or former employees, but it does give you more visibility and at least allows you to have a say in whatever negative comment comes your way.

Keep on top of your reputation with SEO

Your reputation is one of, if not the most important things about your brand. Without a good reputation, consumers aren’t going to have the confidence to buy from you. And in today’s SEO world, algorithms value these reputational signals more than ever.

If you’re interested in how SEO campaigns can help solidify your reputation, get in touch with us today.

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