It has become standard operating procedure for people to Google companies and executives they are considering doing business with. For this reason alone, it's important to make sure your online reputation is as solid and positive as possible. In the face of new social media technologies that give a huge voice to virtually anyone, more than ever it's imperative that you're prepared.
How do you ensure that the results that come up positively reflect your company? Turns out there is no magic formula but there are a few key steps necessary to cement positive mentions of your company at the top of your search results.
1. Company website.
Your company’s website is invariably the first place potential clients will go to check you out and is ultimately a brochure available for you to put the best possible face on your business. The website should include:
- Impressive Executive Bios
- Case Studies
- Charity work (if any)
- Executive Bios
- Case StudiesTestimonials
2. Micro sites.
Create satellite websites that are specific to the work your company does. This will create more opportunities for you to show up on the first page of a Google result and will also help users quickly get to the exact content they're looking for.
3. Your company blog.
Use a blog to tell your story in the most positive way. Your blog is the "face" of your company and users will turn to it to find out the latest information about your company and provides a terrific forum to:
- Talk about new products
- Tout success stories
- Announce special deals
- Talk about recent company developments
4. Social media accounts.
Social media accounts (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) tend to rank very highly in Google results. These are great places to publish positive news about your company. Use these accounts wisely. Effective use of social media sites can enhance your brand, attract leads, and even lead to direct sales. Misuse of these accounts can severely injure your brand and your brand’s credibility and reputation.
If your employees have personal social media accounts, then you should have policies about what is posted on them.
5. Establish yourself as an expert.
You almost certainly have expertise and experience that you can share with others. Establish yourself as an expert in your field. You can spread positive mentions of your company through guest posts on other blogs and websites.
- Blogging (and then seeking out industry websites that might link to your blog)
- Commenting (Find blogs that cover areas of your expertise. Add your comments, your wisdom, your knowledge)
- Become an expert on an industry website (websites are always hungry for meaningful content)
6. Online press releases.
When there is positive news about your company, get the word out there. Online press releases get quickly picked up by search engines and news aggregators (e.g. Yahoo! News, Google News, and many smaller outlets).
Whether your company is online, offline, or both, your online reputation will have a huge impact on how potential clients and customers feel about you and your brand. It's important to make sure your online reputation is as positive as it can be. This works proactively from the moment you start posting content and also acts to limit potential public relations damage in the future, should someone post something negative about you.
A version of this article originally appeared on YoungEntrepreneur.