There’s nothing worse than Googling your company or product and finding negative reviews in Google’s top 10 search results.
Managing your Google reputation is a challenge that every small business owner should embrace as more potential customers look to search engines to research companies and products.
Andy Beal from Marketing Pilgrim, a well know online marketing expert, has put together a great list of ways to manage your personal Google reputation, which applies equally to businesses and products.
Below is a business orientated version of his list, but for the original version, pop over to his Gooruze article (Own Your Google Reputation with these Ten Suggestions).
Get your own web site and domain name
Chances are if you’re reading this, you’ve already got a website, but if you haven’t yet, this is the first step in filling one of those top 10 Google listings.
Start a company or product blog
We’ve promoted the virtues of blogging a million times over, and there is no easier way to get your branding in the rankings for your company and product searches than by producing blog content.
Add a sub-domain to your website
For established websites, a way of filling another spot in the top 10 is by creating a sub-domain for particular parts of your website. Sub domains look like http://subdomain.yourwebsite.com and Google will often see the sub-domain as its own listing.
Create social networking profiles
With the immense growth in social networks, search engines like Google have started indexing them more frequently (assuming they’re open for spidering). By creating a profile with details about your brand and content, there’s a good chance it’ll fill one of the top 10 results.
Develop your own social network
While this can be a little more involved, new free community services allow you to create a social network around your brand. This not only helps to create search friendly content around your brand, but also provides a new way for customers to engage with your business.
Create a business profile
There are several profession networks around (www.linkedin.com or www.gooruze.com) where you can create specialist profiles about yourself and your businesses. By building up your network, you open your business up to increased positive content and yet another way to fill one of Google’s listings.
Create media around your business
It’s easier than ever to share photos, video and audio than ever before. With a range of communities aimed at sharing such media, create some buzz about your business through images and movies, which can help take another one of those top 10 listings.
Claim your identity
People search is growing rapidly, and there are a growing number of personal profile management tools and services available. Just like social network profiles, many allow you to outline and link to your businesses and products… another way to protect a top search listing for your company.
Create your own Wiki
Andy highlights that the once coveted Wikipedia listings which commands Google’s top spots are now harder than ever to get and providing less value. A way to harness the ranking power of wiki’s is to create your own, with you controlling the content.
Use Google’s Free Tools
Google is constantly developing new tools and services which may help your business get found in its search results. While Andy suggests creating a Google webpage, recent speculation about the impact of Google Notebook and Google Base suggest many of its tools might help to fill yet another important top 10 listing for your brand or products.
Getting top 10 rankings for common search terms and keywords can be very challenging, but it’s often easier to own the top 10 Google listings around your company, brand or product names – especially if they are relatively unique. With this simple list, there’s no excuse for not claiming them back.