Do a search on your favorite search engine for your company name. Look at the results. Hopefully your company web site is at the top of the pile. But what about the other 9 results in the top 10? What do they say about you?
People searching for your company name will often look at all of these results – not just those relating to your homepage. When their eyes skim down the results page what does this say about your company? Is it all good, relevant, up-to-date information? Are there any flame (bad) sites saying bad things about you or your company? Is there old information listed? What are people saying about you on forums and blogs? All this information can be scanned by people looking for your company.
Many people think of their website as their online presence. However they forget about the ‘search engine results pages’ (SERP.) The SERP for your company name or your product name can be viewed on as you ‘front page.’ It is often the first impression that people get of your company. You would like it to be a good impression. Therefore it is important that you manage your search engine space.
But how can you manage the results that are related to your site within the SERPs if you do not control what they say? You do not control what they say, but you can influence what they say and where they rank in the results.
Your search engine space is dynamic and constantly changing as new sites are added to the mix and as search engines alter their algorithms. You need to develop an understanding of your environment and of your competition.
First of all undertake an analysis of your search engine space. Look at the sites around you. Figure out which ones you may want to move. Look at their content, their page rank, and the amount of sites linking to the page. This will give you an idea of the scale of work involved. If high ranking of favorable publicity is your goal then you will want to push negative publicity down the list and out of consumers’ sight. The good news is that consumers rarely view more than one page of search engine results for any search.
Here are some of the things you can do to influence the results.
• You will want to make sure that your corporate site is fully optimized and is the top of the list for your name and your brand. If your organization has more than one site the same attention should be given to all of your sites.
• Consider the opportunities of developing a corporate Blog. This Blog can be aimed at supporting a specific business function such as marketing or customer service.
• Publish all your corporate communications on your website. Companies produce a large amount of written content such as press releases, articles, testimonials, case studies, white papers, etc. Often, this information is not published on a company’s website nor optimized in a search friendly way. Therefore it is not indexed or listed by the search engines.
• Make sure that all content relating to your company on other highly ranked sites is accurate and current. Communicate with these sites regularly and provide them with updates.
• If you are outsourcing your SEO have your SEO provider add a page about you company to their clients pages.
• Look for 3rd party opportunities to include information about your company. This may include retailers of your products, suppliers of your parts, distributors etc. Develop relationships with any types of organizations that you partner with and set a goal of getting information about your business on their site.
• Release regular press releases that are newsworthy and submit them to the online wire services. Optimize these press releases for your name or brand.
• Submit articles about your business to online industry publications.
• Become a regular contributor to Blogs within your industry
• Consider a paid listing for your company name or brand. Although this does not affect the ‘natural’ listings it helps to add to your total domination of your search engine space.
The above ideas are all directed at getting as many listing as possible related to your company or brand at the top of the SERPs. This is of course not an overnight task but rather should be viewed as a sustained on persistent campaign. However, once you begin to see results, you are effectively managing you search engine space. This gives you the control over how people perceive you company or brand. From a public relations viewpoint this helps develop favorable publicity for your company. From a business viewpoint it helps give consumers confidence in your company and brand. The end result is an increase in your overall web presence for your company and its products and services.
About the Author:
James Peggie is the marketing manager for Elixir Systems – a search engine optimization company located in Scottsdale, Arizona. www.elixirsystems.com