By the staff of Work Media
On the Internet, information never dies. That’s why it is so easy for your firm’s reputation to be tarnished by someone with a grudge. Web pages indexed by search engines that contain negative information about your firm, true or not, may appear high in search engine rankings. It could cost you clients.
But there is a strategy you can employ to salvage the situation. It’s called search engine reputation management. For law firms, it can be a critical component of a broader reputation management campaign.
There are many elements to an overall reputation management campaign, but search engine reputation management deals strictly with the process of pushing certain web pages down in search engine rankings by replacing them with pages that are more favorable to your business.
Now, the first step in any reputation management campaign is to address the things that are causing the negative feedback from your clients. We’re not going to deal with that here. We advise you to provide an honest service. However, some people still just can’t be satisfied, so this strategy allows you to mask those opinions so that they are less visible.
The strategy is to create web pages that the search engines will position above the pages that contain the negative content. Most of the traffic for any particular keyword goes to the top five search results, and certainly to the results on the first page. If you can push the negative content to the second page of results or beyond, far fewer people will see them.
So now the question is how do you go about creating content that ranks higher than web pages that contain negative reviews of your firm? Here are the basic steps:
1. First you need to have a good idea how people are finding the pages that portray your firm negatively. Check your web site stats regularly and perform searches for your firm to see if you find negative results. You should also use Google’s Alerts service to be notified whenever a web page is indexed that contains your domain name.
2. The second step is to build web pages specifically optimized for those keywords. The first place to build those pages is on your own site. Create pages that are named using the exact keywords, that contain the keywords in the title, and that use the keywords liberally in the copy.
3. Now build pages on social networking sites that are optimized for your keywords. These pages will likely appear in the rankings quicker than pages on your own site because they are part of what Google considers authority sites.
4. Now give some link juice to your pages with articles, directory submissions, social bookmarking, and various other strategies. This will help those pages rank faster and higher.
That is the basic process, although we have left out many details. Yes, this is certainly a time-consuming process. That’s why you might want to consider hiring a company to do this work for you. Companies like Work Media have the tools and strategies in place to accomplish the tasks necessary for search engine reputation management much quicker (and possibly much more effectively) than someone trying to figure their way through it. However, if you are determined to do it yourself, you can certainly get it done. You just have to roll up your shirt sleeves and get to work. Your firm’s reputation could depend on it.