There may be times when someone says something bad about your business or – worse – when someone Tweets, blogs or otherwise posts negative comments about your brand online.
The way to overcome negative comments on SERPs is by “aggressively producing positive content” that internet users will find useful, according to experts at the recent ad:tech San Francisco conference. During the conference’s session on modern SEO, the value of search engine optimization in putting your brand’s best foot forward (read: higher in rankings) on the web was clear.
Here are some takeaways discussed at the session, as well as insight from Brafton.
1. Don’t forget to use your business as a keyword.
Brand searches can account for large shares of the organic traffic coming to your site – especially among consumers who are late in the buying cycle. For instance, the company Tecmark found that nearly one-quarter of its annual traffic came from brand-related searches. Some estimates suggest that brand searches can account for more than 40 percent of organic traffic.
You want to be sure that your site comes out on top of searches for your brand. And by putting your name on various content pages whenever appropriate, you might be able to succeed in getting multiple pages at the top of results for brand searches.
2. Spread the good word with frequently updated, keyword-rich content.
Even if you’ve got using your brand name across your site down pat, you need to impress people once they click. The ad:tech panelists agreed that investing in site content that is useful to readers and search engine-friendly is the core strategy to getting high search rankings that will really enhance your brand’s reputation.
Having a high-quality content marketing strategy in place should be your first line of defense against negative comments on SERPs. Producing high volumes of quality, industry-related content is an opportunity to show that your brand is competent. Plus, attracting search crawlers to your site with frequent content is key to getting your site indexed and ranking above the naysayers.
3. Become a social butterfly.
If you haven’t already, create branded social channels that you fuel with social content. (And if you haven’t already, what’s stopping you from embracing social media marketing? Brafton has reported that three-quarters of marketers are using social media – your brand shouldn’t get left behind.)
By generating branded social content, you’ll increase your chances that content you create dominates SERPs for your company.
You should also use social engagement as a way to gather recommendations for your brand from fans and followers. Encourage people to post or @reply to you, and then take charge of social conversations to give them the positive impressions that will fuel positive brand mentions. (See our post on boosting Facebook engagement for more.)
4. Cross-promote positive brand representations.
It seems we all pay attention to the negative things people say(/blog/Tweet/post) about us, but don’t forget to seek out your positive reviews. When you find a glowing recommendation on Yelp or a blog that advocates your services, link to it. Give it your vote in the algorithmic sense.
Also, be sure to link from your site to your social pages. This is something the ad:tech attendees really emphasized – and with good reason. You want to give as much link juice as you can to the brand pages you control to help ensure that you take up as many of the organic results for your brand as possible.
5. Own the bad terms.
If someone says your brand stinks, put “stinks” in your branded content. Some of the ad:tech attendees suggested even taking it as far as throwing the phrases “worst experience ever,” “sucks” and “horrible service” onto your site for good measure.
The idea is that you can control the context of these phrases and help push people who are literally searching for trouble about your brand to your site. For instance, if you search for “Bruce Clay stinks,” Bruce.Clay.com dominates the top three web results (and, as Brafton has reported, these top organic listings are proven to get the largest share of clicks). By playfully using negative terms in blog headlines, he is able to pull traffic to his branded pages and show off his search-savvy via useful content.
These tips should help you use SEO to ward off negative comments in SERPs, and investing in custom content marketing and social media content is a better approach than fighting the negative buzz. Spammy approaches to seeding review sites with comments such as “X is great company – the product really works,” will be transparent, and then consumers will likely start to think your brand has a bad rep for a reason.