As the years pass, the number of people who use the internet continues to grow. In fact, it has reached a point where people have become attached to their smartphone or tablet computer, becoming dependent on Google and other search engines for answers to anything under the sun. While the mobile devices have made it possible for people to access information right in the palm of their hand, they have also made it possible for people to easily tarnish the online reputation of an individual or business.
As a result, online reputation management has evolved into its own industry. A simple search on Google would return hundreds of companies that offer this type of service. While this may seem complicated to some, the goal is actually simple: Bury negative content down into the latter pages of search engine results. As Lori Randall Stradtman joked, “Where do you hide a dead body? Answer: On the third page of Google results.”
Because of the importance put on search results, people and businesses needing online reputation management must focus on optimizing their online presence, which can be done through search marketing.
Basics and Strategies
Search marketing comprises several strategies that can help push a person’s or a business’ website up to the first page of search engine results. Among the common strategies are search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.
With SEO, users must generate content that will be picked up by web crawlers so that it has a chance to be included in the top results. The simplest way to do this is by using relevant keywords and placing them in the title, subheadings, and body of the webpage. Keywords must be directly related to the page’s content for search engines to consider them relevant and authoritative.
Another SEO strategy is to create accounts on high-ranking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Susan Adams of Forbes notes that signing up on Google-owned sites, like Google+ and YouTube, can make optimization easy, since Google, of course, favors their own sites over others.
Meanwhile, unlike the organic results from SEO, PPC returns sponsored results – advertisements or links usually displayed above the organic results on search engines. With this strategy, Google gets paid by the website whenever their ads are clicked. While PPC is advantageous for online businesses since their ads appear immediately, it is also prone to click fraud, where a user (read: competitor) or program clicks on the ad for the sole purpose of costing you money.
When combined, these strategies can surely drive a website to the top of search engine results. However, it is also important to take note of future changes in the search industry to ensure the campaign stays relevant and effective.