search engine reputation management. a how-to guide.

14 Apr

Before we dive into how to do Search Engine Reputation Management, it’s important to understand the two main types and differences between them: Passive/Defensive reputation management and Active/Defensive reputation management.  


Passive/Defensive reputation management

Passive/Defensive Search Engine Reputation Management is necessary when negative information was posted at a time in the past and has not been refreshed. Examples include negative reviews, blog comments, court documents, or journalism.

Techniques for meeting this online reputation management problem differ depending on the type of new web content created, the content update schedule, and the amount of resources required to solve the problem. This is because the passive nature of the content tends not to rise in search results as aggressively as more active problems. I’ll discuss a Passive/Defensive Case Study later on.

Active/Defensive reputation management

Active / Defensive Search Engine Reputation Management is when an entity is actively posting and refreshing negative information about a brand.

Different than Passive / Defensive Online Reputation Management, Active/Defensive reputation problems occur when an attacker continues to post negative information – the freshness of the information makes reputation problem solving more of a challenge. Active/Defensive Reputation Management normally takes the form of blog posts or editorial comments. Freshness of content can have much the same effect as engaging in search engine optimization to make a negative search result rise.



Case Study

For a hands on how-to let’s go back to Passive/Defensive Reputation Management. We’ll dive into a project that used a Passive/Defensive Reputation Management program. The program was initiated because an unknown (anonymous) reputation assailant had posted negative (and untrue) information on a site called RipOffReport is a website that anyone can use to post defamatory information about anyone else anonymously. Because of the popularity of the site, and its high Google Page Rank, postings to RipOffReport tend to rise quickly in search results.

The first step here is to find the problematic key phrases, and alternative versions of those key phrases. Use the Google keyword tools as well as any other software you have access to and locate the key phrases that are most damaging to the online reputation. If you are specific to a geographic location, use variations of the location name as well; including city and state (and various spellings and abbreviations).

Create a list of appropriate key phrases, rate the key phrases according to the number of searches made monthly for each phrase. Finally, prioritize the list from most damaging to the reputation to least damaging. Creation of new content and other aspects of Online Reputation Management need to be prioritized accordingly.

Most likely you’ll find that a large amount of information about you will already exist, most of it neutral in nature. Your objective has to be to not merely suppress the negative posts (e.g. Rip Off Report posts), but to replace them with content that is glowing in nature (and of course true).

As an example and good rule of thumb you could create five websites, ten profiles, video, press releases, articles and other types of online content based on a customized reputation content plan. The main objective is to create a lot of new and powerful content.

From a tactical perspective, content should be introduced gradually using different domain ownership and geographically diverse hosting environments. Profiles should be written and differentiated from each other. Content should then be systematically optimized for search engines and select content should be interlinked.

If all goes well you should see the negative links (e.g. post) driven off the first page and maybe a few pages into the Search Results within six months.

So effectively by following this how-to on search engine reputation management you can eliminate the loss due to the effective removal of the negative posts, e.g. Rip Off Report and enable an increase in revenues.


2 Responses to “search engine reputation management. a how-to guide.”

  1. Mark Regan April 15, 2010 at 3:13 pm #

    I have always thought about doing these “active” methods of reputation management. In particular the suffocation approach of pushing negative commentary down by getting more powerful content higher in the rankings.My apprehension has been the return on investment. To date, I personally have not experienced a situation where a negative post/page/tweet had enough traffic to warrant such a campaign. Nice article, though, distinguishing the two tactics.

  2. eric ritter April 19, 2010 at 1:07 pm #

    thanks for the comment mark. i agree that examples are few and far between, but it will only worsen as the internet develops into even more of a decision driver.i’m always happy to answer more tactical questions should they ever arise.

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