Own your Brand's SERPs
When it comes to your online business, branding is everything. Your brand is your reputation, and your reputation can spell life or death for your business. Your top priority should be to always protect and defend your brand in Google's search engine results page (SERP.) There will be times when an unsatisfied customer may publish something less than positive about you and your business; these comments may show up instantly on Google's top 10 lists of results. You don't want people to read those first when they are searching your brand, keywords and reputation.
Luckily, there are several online reputation management techniques that you can implement in order to make sure that you own the search results for your particular brand name.
One very effective method you can use to protect your brand in the search results is through building strong external profile pages. These can be used for both personal branding and branding for your company. The page titles will contain your brand name, and will link back to your main website. Do this by creating accounts and optimizing your profile pages from web 2.0 sites like:
Another effective method of protecting and sheltering your SERP is to create and distribute press releases. Make sure they contain your brand name on the title. You can do this yourself, or you can pay a nominal fee and have a qualified professional write it for you. It is more likely to get picked up by the press release submission sites and other news sites if it contains a unique angle, or newsworthy content. New products, new management, interesting target markets, are all considered newsworthy items. There are also many free press release submission sites that you can submit to. Doing each one manually may take you some time, but the added exposure will help to protect your business, and that's your number one goal.
Interviews are a very effective and powerful tool for branding, because it clearly demonstrates your authority and expertise in regards to your industry and your brand. People will see this when they search for your brand. There are many websites and companies that offer online interviews. Do a query search to find one that is related to your particular industry and ask for an interview. Suggest that they use your brand/keyword when they post the interview on their site. Online radio interviews are also very effective, for the same reasons.
Last, but not least, build links to some of your other important pages on your website. This will trigger the site links that show up on your site's organic listing. This will allow your website to occupy the first 7 positions for your brand's search results. If you think they aren't relevant for your searchers, you can always demote the pages from your site links, via Google Webmaster Tools.
Let's face it - competition is tough, and you need to do whatever you can to protect your online brand and business (ethically and morally of course!) There is always going to be someone out there who has been dissatisfied with your service for whatever reason, and no matter what you try and do, they will never be satisfied. That doesn't mean they can tarnish your good reputation and try to run you out of business. Be diligent and work hard to keep your customers satisfied, of course; but also protect yourself and your brand by implementing the methods above in order to make sure your business lasts for years to come.