Reputation management SEO: how to maintain a top Google ranking




Reputation management SEO: how to maintain a top Google ranking

They say you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. When it comes to online, users make the first impression about your products or services according to your site's rankings on search engines. Therefore, when you search your brand on Google, it is preferable to find only results that put your business in a good light. Your efforts to build and maintain a positive brand image represent the foundation of reputation management SEO.

One thing is certain: the first impression that users make when they find you on Google influences a whole bunch of key indicators for your site, from the click-through rate and the conversion rate to your brand's reputation and your clients' satisfaction. In this article, we will offer a few important tips on how to obtain a positive brand image in the Google organic search, using reputation management SEO tactics.

What are the potential reasons why your site is not listed higher in Google?

Naturally, every entrepreneur wants users to find his site on top of the Google ranking when they search for the products or services that he offers. However, it's not easy at all to reach the top, considering the number and complexity of Google's algorithms, but also the evergrowing number of online competitors. There are many reasons for which your website will not be found in the first positions in SERP (Search Engine Rank Positioning). Here are just a few of them:

1. Your site is restricted from indexing in Google

One of the first things you have to check when you find out that your site isn't indexed in Google is if there are any pages restricted from indexing. Fortunately, there are many website auditor tools that can offer you concrete information about this. Another method is to search "site:<name of the site>" on Google. Use the site's name with or without www, according to how the domain is set.

2. Your site doesn't have enough quality content, optimized on the specific keywords of your business domain

There is no news that, in order to reach top positions in Google, your site's content must be unique, of top quality and correctly optimized according to the keywords that your business targets. Besides all that, the content of your site must also be relevant for users since Google focuses on user experience indicators and the time spent by visitors on your website. To summarize, if you want your site to maintain top positions in Google, you have to make sure it has an attractive and useful content for visitors, as well as an important density of keywords so that Google's bots consider it relevant for users' queries.

3. A weak link architecture and backlink profile

Whether we like it or not, backlinks are still one of the most important aspects Google takes into consideration in his ranking algorithms. Therefore, a weak backlink profile, as well as a faulty link architecture could be potential reasons for your site not to occupy a higher ranking in Google.

A well-built link architecture, such as category / subcategory / product page, will contribute to a pleasant and smooth browsing experience. Moreover, it's important to make sure that your site has no broken links, which you can check by using a website auditor tool. Find out more about how to build a correct link architecture here.

Regarding the backlink profile, it must consist of external links on sites with a high domain authority, supported by high-quality content, such as blogs, press releases or advertorials. Also, the frequency in building backlinks is very important. Therefore, it is recommended that their number will grow constantly, over a long period of time. A solid backlink profile can't be built overnight. Actually, Google can easily detect a rapid increase in the number of external links, which could attract a manual penalty (for the moment) and could be the reason why your site is overturned in SERP.

There are enough tools which could help you analyze your website's backlink profile and check their number, their distribution over web domains, the sites' domain authority and many other relevant indicators.

Use social media to dominate the first page in Google rankings

A lot of those who own an online business focus only on the homepage and a few landing pages  and tend to completely forget about their social media accounts. If you already listed on Google's first page of results with your homepage and a few category pages, why not take advantage of your social media accounts in order to dominate the first page and occupy as many top positions as possible. This way, you can effectively integrate your social media marketing campaigns with reputation management SEO. In order for this to take place, it is important to observe two conditions: the accounts should be official, and your social media activity has to be constant.

Because it is well-known that backlinks are of great importance in Google's algorithms, the most effective ways to use your social media accounts in order to rank as high as possible in SERP are:

- linking them in your own website (most sites use a sitewide link to their social media accounts in the footer);

- promoting them on other sites where you have an account (forums, directories etc).

How to list with positive reviews as high as possible and with negative reviews as low as possible

The truth is that there isn't any brand out there that has only positive reviews. When you sell products and services, no matter their quality, negative reviews are inevitable. The important thing is how you manage them and how you react so that they don't affect your brand's reputation and Google ranking. If a review on your website can be deleted, those found on other sites need a different approach. Therefore, if you find yourself in this situation, you have two possibilities:

1. If a review is not objective and it's completely unjustified, you should directly contact the website's administrator and ask him, as politely as possible, to delete that review. On the other hand, if the user's complaint is justified and he was not happy with your products or services, the best thing you can do for your brand's reputation is to answer directly, thanking him for the feedback and ensuring him that you will fix the problem as soon as possible. Read more about CGM here.

2. If you didn't reach an agreement with the site's administrator or the unhappy user and the negative review was unjustified, the only thing you can do is use SEO to "push" the negative review as far away from the top ranking as possible. Most of the times, a single negative review can destroy your reputation in Google, especially if, through the "snowball effect", it becomes viral and gets a lot of backlinks, ending up high enough in SERP when searching for your brand. Therefore, if this is the case, you should build backlinks to the other positive reviews, which in time will overturn the negative one.

Use SERP features in order to rank higher in Google

Everybody knows that Google lists approximately 10 organic results on each page, at each query. Why "approximately"? Because, in some cases, Google results include SERP features, such as snippets, images or video content. Making the most out of the features that Google offers on the first results page, you will further contribute to building a better reputation for your brand. Moreover, you will offer users relevant and easy to access information.

Here are the most important Google features you should take into consideration as organic results:

1. Image Pack

The Image Pack refers to a series of horizontal images which list as organic results on Google's first page, when you make a query. This feature is especially useful when you have high-quality product images because, as they say, an image is worth 1.000 words. Having a visibility of around 55%, Image Pack is the second most popular SERP feature offered by Google.

In order to list in Image Pack, it's crucial that the images are correctly optimized SEO-wise. Here are a few important tips:

a) The image name must be descriptive and must contain the keyword

It is recommended that the image name is as short as possible, containing around 2 to 4 words separated by "-" or "_". Obviously, they must include the keyword you want to list on in Image Pack.

Example of wrongly named image: Dkfgh27_99.jpg

Example of correctly named image: black_men_sports_shoes.jpg

b) The image URL must be correctly optimized, it must contain the keyword, it must not be longer than 100 characters and it must not contain alpha-numerical characters

c) Use descriptive, high-quality images, but make sure they are compressed in order to be easily downloaded by mobile devices

d) It's important for the image to contain a title and a descriptive Alt Tag, which should include the keyword.

2. Videos

Like images, videos appear on the first page of Google results, in a horizontal series. Around 90% of video results come from YouTube. Therefore, here is what you should do in order for your videos to reach the first page of Google results, using this feature:

a) Create a YouTube account for your brand

b) Upload relevant videos for users, with the titles, descriptions, and tags according to SEO rules. Precisely, they should be informative, easy to read and include keywords.

3. Rich snippets

Rich snippets are text boxes that include relevant information for users, which he could check before entering your website (ratings, prices, relevant data etc). Rich snippets could make your site more attractive and more informative, which has a significant influence on the click-through rate.