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Online Reputation Management

Online Reputation Management

Saturday, July 15, 2006 12:53

The growth of blogs, forums and community websites like MySpace and Bebo allow individuals’ opinions about your business to become highly visible in the results of the main search engines. Here we summarise some simple steps you can take to monitor what people are saying, action you can take, and what to avoid!

 

When it comes to checking what people may be saying about you, or your business, here’s a rundown of the most useful research methods:

1) Searching Google and other search engines for your brand name is the simplest way of monitoring the most visible content – to make sure you don’t miss any changes, setup automated Google Alerts to notify any changes by email.

2) To dig further, try searching news, blog search tools, and popular communities – here are some useful links for this:

3) Use RSS feeds to make monitoring simpler – tools such as RSS Mix allow you to merge several feeds into one – so you can have a single feed monitoring a range of sources for items containing your company name, or another phrase of interest.

If you do come across negative comments about your business or actions online, here are some steps you can take:

Saturating a search for your brand – Issuing regular, optimised press releases or writing articles on other websites is a great way to ‘saturate’ search engine results for your brand name. This makes it difficult for negative content to achieve a good ranking. Press releases can also be used for other purposes such as improving your credibility, or targeting time sensitive searches generated by news coverage, or a product launch – we provided an introduction to online press releases in our June 2005 newsletter.

Stopping negative comments advertised with PPC advertising – If someone is using Google AdWords or another pay per click network to advertising negative comments about you, it is possible to make registered trademark a ‘reserved keyword’ that advertisers cannot target with their keyword lists or advert text – we discussed this in more detail in our May 2005 newsletter.

Contacting the individual – Although this often increases discussion, there may be times when you do want to contact the individual making the comments. Whether an informal note, or a cease and desist letter, the most appropriate way to send this is through a private channel – phone, post, email. Keep your communication polite, and think about how your comments may look if taken out of context and posted online.

When attempting to counter negative comments to it is also very easy to ‘put your foot in it’, such as:

Joining the public argument – Joining a negative discussion about yourself in a forum is a great way to light its fire – with the volume and intensity of discussion likely to build following your entrance.

Pseudo posts – It can also be tempting to add some positive spin to a discussion through a make up character. This technique is used successfully by skilled PRs, but you need to carefully consider you message and character, plus many communities have user histories, without which your character may look suspicious.

If you would like to find out more about online reputation management, or have a problem you would like us to review, please contact us now for more information.

This article was written by the web search workshop, a search engine optimisation and marketing consultancy for UK business websites. Contact us today for a free assessment of your website.

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