How Search and Online Reputation Management Impacts your Brand

Appearing on the first page of a Google search can be the difference between the success or the failure of your business.How Search and Online Reputation Management Impacts your Business Brand

The smart business owners and the savvy operators of eCommerce stores know that the free traffic delivered by search engines is worth gold to a business.

Research shows that ranking first on Google produces over 40 percent of all clicks to websites. Listing on the first page of a search, results in over 90 percent of all clicks. Now that is important in a digital economy!

Also a Google search can produce a negative or positive impression about a brand depending on what content and links appear in the search results. So online reputation management is also an important activity.

For a long time, Search Engine Optimization and Online Reputation Management have been looked upon as two parallel services. Google recently has changed how it performs its search. These updates to the search engine algorithms were titled “Panda” and the most recent changes were called “Penguin“.

So with these changes where does the future of both these services lie?

Let’s breakdown each of the services.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

When SEO started, it was easy to do. There were guaranteed success methods and approaches such as the following produced great results.

  • Keyword density
  • Meta tags
  • Content

There were sites which went up overnight by acquiring links from questionable sources. Spamming an important keyword on the page was a very likely affair. People posted articles on blog networks, with each topic as unrelated as chalk and cheese!

The creation of low-quality, thin content was an easy option for a lot of people who were trying to gain success overnight! This list can go on and on!

Anything that is abused over time is likely to burn out. And so did these practices!

Google Wants Quality Content

Google’s Panda update was aimed at providing more relevant and quality content to users. This update was rolled out in the USA in February 2011, with various refreshes and updates over the course of the next 16 months. Panda 3.8 was released in the end of June 2012. While webmasters were still trying to come to terms with the Panda update (about 11.8% of all searches were affected with the first update.)

Google recently rolled out the Penguin update (about 3.1% of all search queries were affected). This update was aimed at keeping a check on

  • Link schemes
  • Exact anchor text linking
  • Blog networks
  • Duplicate content etc

Here is a great infographic comparing Google’s Panda and Penguin updates and how they affect your Brand’s visibility to the Google search engine.

The difference between Google Panda & Penguin Infographic

Infographic  by Reload Media – Difference between Google Penguin & Panda

Content Marketing is Vital to SEO

Post these two updates, the SEO world has started viewing the terms ‘content’ and ‘links’ differently. For an SEO guy, content started focusing more on pieces that were not only unique and engaging but also something that a user could associate with!

Content Marketing became a term that every SEO expert started relating with more closely!

SEO agencies have started rolling out extensive content marketing plans for their clients, focusing on the creation of detailed content plans including the following

  • Blogs
  • PDF documents
  • Whitepapers,
  • eBooks,
  • Presentations,
  • Image syndication

You name a medium, and they have targeted it! SEO started focusing strongly on content marketing, wherein content marketing has become the crux of any SEO campaign.

Online Reputation Management (ORM)

ORM is one of the most dynamic activities online and one of the most difficult too. It is the only activity where you have little or no control over different situations and/or circumstances which can completely turn around all the hard work invested into a campaign!

An outsider speaking about your brand, the brand’s offline activities, and the actions of an important entity associated with the brand, all these can completely change the statistics of your campaign overnight! Positive mentions, neutral mentions and negative mentions! These more or less rule the life of that person who is trying to protect your online reputation.

Let’s run through the aim of any ORM campaign:

  • Ensure that the client get as much positive exposure as possible. Try and get as many positive mentions up in the top 10/20/30 results!
  • If it isn’t positive, ensure that you have neutral content about your brand!
  • Neutralize the NEGATIVE content pieces!!!!

The easiest way to go about doing this is to ensure that you have positive/neutral content online talking about your brand. (Not that it is easy to do that!)

Also, since you work closely with the brand, you become the official channel of sorts, responsible for creating content and syndication across mediums and platforms! The content creation involves having an exhaustive content plan in place and using various mediums including videos, blogs, articles, etc.

Does this Sound Similar to SEO?

The lines distinguishing both these services are becoming less distinct by each passing day. The objective of both SEO and ORM now align towards the creation of good, unique and engaging content. Content marketing remains the focus of both services. Reaching out to new people, gaining greater visibility and creating a stronger brand presence are extremely important. The principle of SEO is now to ensure that not only is your brand reaching out to more people but also focus on creating a strong brand presence online.

SEO is Now Part of Brand Building

Brand building is becoming a more integral part of SEO activity! ORM has by principle always concentrated on promoting the brand!

It seems that a new service package offering Branding + SEO + ORM is the call of the hour. Anyone who has an online store, not only wants to increase their presence and standing, but also wants to ensure that their brand is being recognized by their target audience. It is essentially the first step to become a major player and stand out in a many player market! I can guarantee that this will not only be used by the big fish who are well established and will rely more on the monitoring and the reputation side of things but also by the small startups looking for a strong branding campaign to promote themselves and garner greater visibility!

Is Branding + Search Engine Optimization + Online Brand Monitoring & Online Reputation Management the next big thing? Thoughts?

Author: This post is written by Anindita Debnath, who works with Convonix as a Project Manager – SEO. She manages a big team of SEO professionals handling a substantial number of campaigns collectively. Apart from this, she takes up the responsibility of training fresh recruits and ushering them into the ever-evolving world of SEO.

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Image by PIX-JOCKEY

 

Comments

  • brad

    Jeff,
    Another great post – thanks for sharing!
    Brad

  • http://twitter.com/NickJamesGable Nick Gable

    Great overview of the current state of SEO/ORM/branding. I feel like (for businesses at least- individuals may be a bit different), all 3 are heading into the same direction. When you search for a business these days, you EXPECT to see a yelp page or a Google places review.

    So now creating a web presence includes both SEO to rank for lateral keywords, and also quality ORM to go deep on your branded keywords. And on top of all that: you need a quality brand + customer engagement to draw positive links for SEO and to build loyal followers to give you those Yelp reviews and create a solid online reputation.

    In short: just do everything, 100% of the time =P

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    SEO basically is a form of online reputation management. The purpose of SEO is to build content and links that improve your search presence. The content created for SEO purposes can also outweigh any negative content (if there is any). The first things that come up in a branded search will determine how a potential customer or client views the company.

  • Barbara Walsh

    Well written article. As a marketing consultant I don’t believe our clients understand the strategy it takes to accomplish their name ranking on Page 1, position 1 for various keywords. It take time and work!

  • professional copywriting

    Taking control of your online reputation is vital to all businesses and yet so few are actually doing anything about it. Sites like Google+ Local pages are the first place that many internet consumers will find a business and if the page offers all of the information that they are looking for, then they are likely to make their purchase there. Even though it is free, most businesses haven’t claimed their listings. The same can be said of the other free online business listings, so just taking charge of that aspect of your online presence can give many businesses the edge on the competition.

  • professional copywriting

    Taking control of your online reputation is vital to all businesses and yet so few are actually doing anything about it. Sites like Google+ Local pages are the first place that many internet consumers will find a business and if the page offers all of the information that they are looking for, then they are likely to make their purchase there. Even though it is free, most businesses haven’t claimed their listings. The same can be said of the other free online business listings, so just taking charge of that aspect of your online presence can give many businesses the edge on the competition.

  • http://twitter.com/COBSGroup C.O.B.SolutionsGroup

    Reputation has and will always be the currency which distinguishes you from your competitors a new great looking website with no brand reputation at all other than new kids on the block will more than likely get more inquiries than a great looking website where the brand has a bad reputation.

    Its almost similar to when we shop on Ebay we would rather pay for the more expensive listing where or best alternative to the one with either no feedback or considerably more negative feedback than there is positive feedback.

  • ReputationManagement

    Online reputation management is important. Great article.

  • http://www.twocentsgroup.com.au/ Simon Dell

    Great blog as always. We’ve seen a big shift into the content creation space for clients.

    Simon
    http://www.twocentsgroup.com.au