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Reputation Management Using SEO

  Reputation management is of grave concern to many online businesses. Fairly or not anyone can put up a free website or blog and post something negative about anyone else. Many times these negative postings are anonymous so the credibility of the poster cannot be determined.

Most of the time, these negative postings don't even make it onto the reputation management radar. They are buried deep within the search engine rankings and very few people ever see them.

However, there is another method that has empowered people to achieve high rankings for negative posts in recent years and that is on websites that have achieved trust and authority within the search engines. Some sites allow consumers to rate products and services from online vendors.

They try to offer a balance view and rating system. But, what happens when a Web business lands upon a consumer advocacy website like the Ripoff Report and has been trashed in the public eye? This is where reputation management and SEO kicks in.

The overall idea of reputation management is both proactive and reactive. Proactive reputation management means establishing a well-known and liked brand with positive reviews. Reactive reputation management means reacting to untoward publicity from unhappy customers (or even competitors).

While both proactive and reactive reputation management can be covered under the guidelines of public relations, such as addressing the claims on message boards, blogs and websites, a search engine optimization expert is most often called in when one of these unfavorable opinions gains high rankings.

The most common method of managing a firm's reputation through SEO involves trying to push down the unfavorable posting within the search engine rankings. This is also a hotly debated topic since some will consider this manipulation of the rankings.

Those who undertake SEO reputation management will try to elevate the positive posts that are currently below the unfavorable post to being above this post. Another method of SEO reputation management involves getting new favorable posts above the questionable post. Most often SEO reputation management involves both methods.

If a post is downright defamatory, then legal action can be taken and the search engines alerted. But, most of the time, these negative posts either have an element of truth in them (such as an unfavorable news story) or are someone's biased opinion.

In either case, the business owner must decide whether is it's wiser from a business sense to contact the website posting the objectionable content and asking them to take it down. Or, if by contacting the website, this may unleash more controversy and unfavorable comments to follow.

In this case, reputation management and SEO work together to devalue the unfavorable opinion at least in regard to the rankings. Since having a bad reputation in the search engine rankings can cost a company thousands of dollars, hiring an SEO to help do some damage control is usually a cost that is well worth it.


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