When I want to learn about a business, the first thing I do is open Google and do an online search. I review the results on the first page and form an opinion about them. This decision will ultimately decide if I move forward and do business with that company.

While you may not have Googled your business lately, it’s certain that someone else has. As media outlets and individuals increasingly share their stories online, good and bad, we’re finding we have little control over what can be found on the internet. Therefore, reputation management has become an important way to influence a business’s reputation in the digital space.

Listed below are guidelines on how a company can improve their reputation through a combination of online and public relations tactics. By integrating these techniques, an organization can promote content that supports their brand. It will also help reduce the visibility of negative stories that can appear in search results.

1. Identify key words for SEO

SEO plays a pivotal role in reputation management, as it allows us to target the most visible keywords and phrases that are generating negative content in search. It is important that your organization develop an SEO strategy and identify keywords. By incorporating targeted keywords into content, you can drive brand-friendly website hits up, while pushing negative stores down in search results.

Begin by doing an initial test search and identify the keywords that are searched for most often. Take the top 5 keywords and start integrating them into press releases, blogs, social media post and any other content your company is producing.

2. Create positive stories

Search engines like fresh content that is posted often. By creating more good press, incorporating selected keywords and embedding links into future press releases, your organization can improve their organic ranking for these targeted terms.

If your company does not have a public relations strategy, it’s ok. If you write and distribute one press release a month, you’re ahead of the game.

To get started, identify positive stories within your organization including new hires, employee achievements, company milestones, and community relations activities. Create a calendar and map out a story for each month of the year. Before you know it, you’ll have a steady stream of content to share.

3. Create a news page

Another way to push positive stories further up in search results is to create a hub that links to all of your content. Consider building a news page on your company’s website and post all press releases to this page.

4. Promote/share stories often

Profiles on social networks are influential tools. Facebook and Twitter often carry more SEO power than a single post on a company’s website or blog. Therefore, make sure you are also sharing content on these channels.

Ultimately, it is a company’s responsibility to manage their own online reputation. By following these steps, you’ll improve your organization’s overall search presence. In addition, you’ll impact the type of content consumers see and reinforce the value of your organization’s brand.

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