By Josh Greene, CEO, The Mather Group
If you’ve been having a bad day when it comes to your online reputation, this is the article for you. You don’t have to tear your hair out, or moan and groan at your desk that the Internet is out to get you. With some focused effort, it’s possible to not only appear online the way you want to, but also to boost your sales and leads. Here’s what you need to know.
First, you need a strategy. This isn’t the time for half-hearted schemes. This is your reputation. To fix it, you need to focus on:
- Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) and SEO for your CEO and your company
- Wikipedia pages
Taken together, these items by-and-large define what people know about your company. Knowing that and being aware of how each piece works is the starting point for building your strategy. Ready to get into the details? Here we go.
When someone Googles your company, what pops up? Your website? News articles? A Knowledge Panel? Ideally, it would be a mix of all of that – and all showing information that you believe is valuable for consumers. Here’s how to get there.
First, if you haven’t claimed your Knowledge Panel or created a Google My Business page, do so right now. These panels can dominate right-side search results, and you have some measure of control over what they share, which is a huge bonus.
Once you’ve claimed your Knowledge Panel, you can give Google authoritative feedback on what appears in the panel, keeping it accurate. As for Google My Business, you have complete control over what information is shared. It’s the perfect opportunity to not only take up more space on Google, but to make sure customers have the right website and address for your business.
Next, optimize your site links with the proper meta titles and descriptions and structured data. Structured data ensures your images and reviews appear, while meta descriptions/titles ensure entries appear as you want them. Once again, this is about controlling the narrative and making sure people see what you want them to.
Third, think about running advertising. This does two things for your reputation: it lets you take up more shelf space on search results and makes sure the first messaging people see is what you want them to see. By taking up more space, you can push down unwanted results.
Got all that? Okay, now we’re ready for the next two steps in your strategy.
Wikipedia will take up a good portion of your Knowledge Panel, has 340 million unique views per day, and almost always shows up as a top 3 search result on Google. You should take it for granted that potential customers are going to check out Wikipedia.
Now, whether we’re talking about your CEO’s page or your company’s page, there are a few things you want to keep in mind.
- Your primary goal should be to increase content regarding positive information and company initiatives
- Ensure the page is well-organized with different sections
- Think of all the categories that apply to your CEO and your company, and then tag them on the page. The more categories a page has, the more places it’ll appear throughout Wikipedia, increasing your visibility
- Expand your footprint and “legitimacy” on Wikipedia by connecting your pages to related pages such as technology pages, associations, events, etc.
- For company pages, you want a built-out infobox that includes your current logo, company stats, and stock information
If you have controversial information on your page, don’t just delete it. This needs a strategy. I recommend: checking the sources listed to see if they actually corroborate what is on the page. If they don’t, dispute the sources; reorganize how the information appears, perhaps burying it in the middle of a paragraph; and/or providing sources with a clarifying narrative. Above all, be patient. It can take time to get a page close to your ideal, but the time and effort are worth it.
And for the last piece, let’s talk about retargeting. This a great way to make sure you’re in front of the people who’ve already shown interest by coming to your website, even after they’ve left your site. With the right retargeting strategy, you can show them your message 10-40x more than what they would get from a simple website visit.
Additionally, as they travel to websites they love and see your ad, they’ll start to associate your brand with brands they already trust, making them more likely to remember you and come back.
So, there you have it. A snapshot look at three key areas that affect your online reputation. Take it one step at a time, one day at a time, and you can make a difference.