If you could have your website shoot to the number one spot in search results for every keyword in your industry right now, would you?
Of course, you would. I know a lot of business owners who would give up their left hand (and maybe a couple of toes) to have that happen overnight.
The reality is, however, that even as we manage to climb up in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for our branded content, we likely won’t be the only results on those first pages. And in some cases, our sites might not even rank first.
Sometimes, a negative review about your brand from a publication with a higher domain authority will rank higher than your actual website. Or maybe you’ll see content from your competitor instead of yours, and you just can’t quite get past them.
If you want to be at the top of the SERPs and be represented well there, you need to take reputation management into consideration at all stages of marketing your business. In this post, we’re going to take a look at how to get on the first page of Google and look good doing it with reputation management strategies.
Reputation Management & SERPs: What’s the Connection
Believe it or not, I’ve had three different new clients coming to me nearly desperate because a single negative review from some blogger who was clearly paid by their competition was showing up in the top SERP slot when you searched for their products.
That directly impacted customers’ perception of the business, and it ended up keeping customers from navigating to their site or purchasing.
Reputation management should be a consideration for all brands when they’re monitoring how they’re doing in the SERPs. Timely, negative reviews can easily skyrocket to the top result, even if it’s for just one or two keywords that your audience is searching for. Trust me when I say that those one or two keywords can be enough to do their damage.
If you’ve got a negative article about your business online, there’s really not much you can do if you don’t own it (which you most certainly do not). Google likely won’t take it down, after all, so you can’t get it removed. It’s your job to find ways to elevate other, more positive content up above the other content (whether it’s outright negative or praising a competitor over you). We’ll look at a few ways to do that next.
It’s also important to note that reputation management is important for all businesses, even if there isn’t a single bad word about you out there. As you’re able to position your brand and your site as an authority, both real people and Google alike will start to recognize that over time, improving your SERPs organically.
How to Get on the First Page of Google
Wondering how to get your business on Google in a way that will actually benefit you? There are a lot of diverse options, whether you’re trying to drown out a negative review or just improve brand awareness and build on your reputation. Let’s take a look at them.
Get Those Reviews
Getting Google reviews will help your business. Simple as that. It improves your credibility with searchers, and Google likes to see it, too. Highly ranked businesses can get a boost in the SERPs– particularly in local SERPs–, which can help your business get on the first page of Google results.
In order to get more reviews, reach out to customers who you know have been happy after their experience with you, and use automated software like Yotpo to collect reviews regularly.
Write Great Content
Your best chance at improving your brand’s reputation while trying to grab a spot on the first page of Google will be content marketing. Blogging regularly gives you a chance to demonstrate expertise, establish authority, and build relationships with your readers all while you get an ever-growing list of keywords to try to rank for.
Content is a long-term strategy, but if you want to get on as many first pages of Google search results as you can, this is the best way to do it.
On that note, writing some guest posts for other sites can help, too. Use this to send relevant traffic to your site and gain those valuable backlinks that will give you a boost in the SERPs.
Drown Out Negative Content
If you’ve noticed that there’s some sort of negative content showing up at the top of the SERPs you’re trying to rank for (even if it just focuses on selling a competitor over you), here’s what you need to do:
- Figure out which keywords they’re ranking for. It may be showing up for multiple keywords. I like Moz’s tool for this, which is pictured below; you can see what keywords a specific page or subdomain is ranking for.
- Try to write content that’s more valuable and informative and targeting the same keywords to try to displace it.
There’s another great strategy you can use in this instance, too. If you notice that a search result that harms you is immediately followed by one that doesn’t (even if it doesn’t help you directly), you can do what you can to help that second listing gain more visibility. Send that post some backlinks if you can from however many sites you’re writing for to try to give them some extra SEO juice to snag that top spot.
Go Beyond Text
If you really want to give yourself an edge in the SERPs, you should be optimizing for multiple types of SERPs. That’s right, Google’s general search isn’t the only one to focus on.
You can make sure that you have quality images and videos about your brand that will show up in dedicated searches for either one. In some cases, your video can even show up on the first place of results even in regular searches.
Incorporate SEO Technical Best Practices
This post is all about reputation management as it pertains to search results, but if you really want to make the biggest impact and get onto Google’s first SERP page, you need to be implementing SEO best practices, too.
Here’s a few key ones that you need to be hitting:
- Fast site loading speeds (ideally two seconds or less)
- Keyword optimization best practices, including using alt image tags
- Improve the crawlability of your site; use a tool like SEMrush (pictured above) to look for errors here
Online reputation management should be an important consideration alongside SEO. You need to know how your brand is being represented in the SERPs, and be conscious about doing everything you can to make sure your brand is reflected well. Long-term consistent efforts to provide high-quality content that will do well in search in conjunction with careful monitoring of brand mentions online will help you to best decide what steps you need to take to control the narrative as much as possible.
Do you need help improving your SERPs and ranking on the first page in Google? We can help. Get in touch with us here to learn more.
What do you think? How do you approach reputation management and Google search results?