Online reputation management is a hot topic at the moment, and rightfully so. Never before have brands been as vulnerable as they find themselves today.
That said, the following are answers to some online reputation management questions that we get asked often:
Q: How can we focus on SEO for crisis management BEFORE a crisis strikes – and what the advantages are of doing so?
A: First and foremost, proper Search Engine Optimization takes time, it’s not instantaneous. Even more so, your SEO efforts need to be maintained. Once you’re in a crisis, it’s simply too late to start thinking about SEO. This doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you can do at this point, but you will come out of a crisis much stronger if you’re prepared in advance with a solid SEO strategy. The main advantage here is that, by being prepared, you’re not only able to have peace of mind, but you’re also able to position your organization to better overtake negative search engine results.
Q: How do you know if a company’s corporate website is “ready for online reputation management” or not? What are the tell-tale signs that you look for, and how do you inform the company?
A: The first step is in determining where your Search Engine Optimization currently stands – how and where you’re currently positioned within the search results. In order to determine this, we perform a full analysis. Some of the things we look at first are: on-page SEO elements such as page titles, H1 headers, URLs, content, ALT tags, meta tags, etc. Not only do we need to make sure that these elements exist on your website but, more importantly, that they’re properly optimized. Our initial analysis usually consists of five sections, including current search engine rankings, on-page SEO, social media accounts and activity, directory listings and backlinks, as well as a technical section.
Q: What are three essential tips for helping companies prepare their online presence in terms of SEO for crisis management?
1. You need to know which keywords to target. Your targeted keywords play a major role when it comes to optimizing your website for desired search engine rankings. Your keywords aren’t just your brand name, but also industry keywords relative to your niche – basically the keywords and phrases that your audience may google that you want to come up for in the search engines.
2. If you want to be able to publish your own content and overtake negative search engine results, having a blog strategy in place will be very beneficial for your brand. Make sure your posts are properly optimized and contain sharing capabilities.
3. To have even better visibility and a greater reach, we suggest combining your blogging efforts with Social Media. Having a Facebook account and/or a Twitter account (or whatever social media platform is relevant to your organization) in order to give your brand a much wider audience – not to mention that shares and tweets are highly regarded by search engines.
Q: What do you do to help brands strengthen their SEO for crisis management and online reputation management?
A: As stated in above, the first thing that needs to be done is a full analysis of your online presence. As an example, we analyze all of your page titles (if present) and if they aren’t optimized, we determine what would be an optimal page title for each unique page. These unique page titles are determined largely by your targeted keywords. The same procedure is taken for the other on-page SEO elements that we analyze. After the initial analysis is done, our recommendations need to be implemented and a maintenance strategy needs to be determined in order to ensure that all future updates, blog post, etc. follow suit.
Additional advice / insight we’d like to share
A: We’ve said it many times and we’d like to stress it again: preparation is so important! Being prepared before a crisis hits not only reduces the amount of headaches you have to deal with but it also has a positive impact on your bottom line. If you were to be hit with a crisis and you weren’t prepared, you’d be left vulnerable and defenceless, unable to get your voice, side or opinions heard. Being properly optimized gives you the capability to take on and overcome any negativity surrounding your brand. With that said, our advice is to prepare for the worst in order to be ready for anything.
As always, if you need any help or guidance on the subject of your organization’s online reputation management, please don’t hesitate to contact Agnes + Day.
Author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, Melissa Agnes is a leading authority on crisis preparedness, reputation management, and brand protection. Agnes is a coveted keynote speaker, commentator, and advisor to some of today’s leading organizations faced with the greatest risks. Learn more about Melissa and her work here.