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18 Sep 2009

Be Proactive With Your Reputation Management

September 18, 2009Social Media

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Imagine Googling your business name, and just beneath your company’s #1 ranking is another result, but this one isn’t something you want people to see.  Maybe it’s a lawsuit that was brought against your company, maybe it’s the insane rantings of a blogger who happens to hate your company.  Maybe the story being told is true, or maybe it’s not.  But it doesn’t really matter…you need

that result off the first page, and quickly.   That could be difficult, but what if you could have prevented it in the first place?  I’m gonna show you how…

Reactive Versus Proactive Reputation Management

The truth is, many businesses have heard about reputation management, but few of them are doing it proactively.  In most cases, they’re probably reacting to situations like the one I described above. This is a bad situation to be in.  If the negative result is already out there and being propagated, responding to it in a reactive way is like damage control.  The damage has already been done, and all you can hope for is to limit the amount of damage done.  And depending on who you’re battling against, it could cost you.

But what if you were to handle your reputation management proactively?  What I mean by that is actually agressively pursuing specific keywords, like your company name or the name of the owner, and dominate the search results for that particular term.  Now, please understand, you CANNOT do this for a generic search term, but you can do this for a very unique search term (again, like your company’s name).

The Reputation Management Method

The method consists of utilizing social media to create multiple opportunities for top 10 rankings from a multiplicity of websites, all for one specific keyword.  Let’s take "Vertical Measures" as an example.  If you Google our company’s name, these are the results you’ll get on the first page:

 

google_search_results

 

Now, just take that in for a minute.  You’ll see that we dominate 8 out of 10 positions for our business name, and that’s as it should be; I mean, it is OUR business name, and not someone else’s, right? But look, 6 of the results are from social media websites.  They include big players like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  But they also include a social profile on a website specific to our niche: SEOmoz.  Now, this should tell you something.  If you’re trying to be proactive about your company’s reputation management, you need to make sure you have profiles on these types of websites.

16 Opportunities to Dominate the Search Results for Your Business Name

Here’s a list of the top social media and local listing sites to join based on the research we’ve done.  Factors include obvious things like PageRank, traffic, and cost, but also how well each site ranks in search results for business name searches.  I.e. LinkedIn and Merchant Circle profiles have a tendency to rank well in the search engine results pages. This list is not exhaustive, so if you’ve got more you think should be included, post them in a comment below.

WebsitePageRankTrafficCostDescription
LinkedIn812.8M U.S.; 25.2M globalFree; Business $25/mo, Business Plus $50/mo, Pro $500/moProfessional network for individuals and businesses
Merchant Circle86.3M U.S.Free; Advanced marketing for a feeLocal business social network
Facebook994.6M U.S.Free, supports paid adsSocial networking king
Twitter927.6M U.S.FreeSocial media in 140 characters or less
Yelp67.4M U.S.Free, supports paid advertisingLocal review website
Plaxo71.1M U.S.FreeSocial network to connect to family, friends and coworkers, share photos, and create your own profile
Fast Company7941.3K U.S.; 2M globalFree, supports advertisingBusiness magazine for owners and entreprenuers
MyWikiBiz46.5K U.S.; 13.5K globalFreeWiki for business listings
Ecademy649.4K U.S.; 232.6K globalFree, $5/mo basic, $140/mo proSocial networking site for businesses
Spoke62.6M U.S.; 3.4M globalFree, $25/mo, $50/mo, $100/moBusiness networking website
123People676.0K U.S.Free; $15/mo reputation managerPeople search tool to help monitor online reputation
BxBusinessWeek7650.4K U.S.; 903.3K globalFreeNetworking website for business professionals
Fast Pitch Networking46.8K U.S.Free, $9 premium, $27 platinumA professional social network for businesses
ZoomInfo 6 3.7M U.S.; 5.8M global Free, fee for recruiters and sales prosPeople and company search; also offers products to sales people and recruiters
Google Profile 10141.7MFreeCreate a Google profile 
Naymz6 400K U.S. ; 860K global Free, $8/mo Build professional relationships with this social network for businesses

What to Include in Your Business Profile

If you are trying to dominate the company’s name in the search engines, then each profile should include as much information about your business as possible, including the following:

  1. Company name as the username whenever possible
  2. Company name used as the vanity URL whenever possible
  3. Company name within the profile page description
  4. Keywords used within the profile page description
  5. Company contact information, including address and phone number
  6. A link to your company website

If you are trying to rank for some term other than the company’s name, then just subsitute it into the information above.  For example, you could substitute a company executive’s name for the company name. 

Finding Niche Opportunities

Checking up on your competitors is an age-old strategy.  So this situation is no different. If you’re looking for niche networks and websites to create profiles for your business, simply do a search for the name of your competitor’s business and see what comes up in the top 30 search results.  If they have profiles on websites that you don’t, add them to your list!