January 20, 2015
Nothing feels worse than having some low-life post a nasty article about you online. All your friends and potential clients can read it!
Who knows how much business it can cost you.
Losing control of those listings can easily crush a business, and the worst part is that the things they said may not even be true.
That's why I decided to write an in-depth "advanced guide" to dealing with particularly sticky SEO situations. I hope it helps.
(NOTE: One of the biggest benefits of the new Link Emperor update from last week is that it makes it a whole lot easier to do reputation management. We created slots for different types of content that we believe are most effective for grabbing multiple spots on any individual keyword. If you haven't seen the changes yet, you can learn more here: http://www.linkemperor.com/post/2015-link-emperor-redesign
For anyone who's new, by reputation, I mean the listings that show up when you Google your own name or your company's name. The stuff people find when they try to research you.
So, let's get started.
The Basics: Choose Your "Weapons" &
Build Tons of Backlinks
Start With Stuff Google Already Loves
Let's say you have a couple nasty articles ranking for your name that you want to get rid of. Maybe a forum thread or two.
First you want to take a look at what Google is already ranking for your name, and see if there's anything good in there that you would be happy to have ranking on the first page. Go back a few pages, and save the URLs of the pages you like. If it's on the first 3 or 4 pages, it may not be very hard to get that up to the first page.
The stuff that Google already likes is definitely where you want to begin. Your job may be a whole lot easier if you just have to build backlinks to stuff that's on the 2nd page, rather than creating a ton of stuff and getting it all the way to the first page.
Use A Wide Variety of Content Types
The next most important thing to realize is that Google doesn't want to rank a ton of the same types of content on the first page.
For instance, we love ranking press releases and videos, because those are probably the two easiest types of content to get ranking out of everything. However, Google doesn't want to rank a page full of Yahoo! Finance articles. They would love to rank ONE page from Yahoo! Finance, but that's generally the most that they will rank from a single domain.
So you want to go down the pages you have, and make sure you have a variety of strong domains mixed in.
Don't stop at 10, either... you'll want to have at least 20 pages that you're trying to rank, because sometimes Google just won't like the same pages that you think it will.
I usually try to mix things up with the following types of content:
Yahoo! Finance Press Release
BBB (if you paid their ransom, those pages do rank well)
...and anything else Google happens to already be ranking.
Do you notice how many different types of content are mixed in there?
Particularly, I like to look at the list of "Search Tools" at the top of every SERP. They move them around occasionally, but I pay close attention to "Videos", "Maps", "Shopping", News" and "Discussions".
If you can find one type of content that fits under each of those types and backlink it, you can often take up 5 of the top 10 spots without breaking a sweat.
This is why Press Releases are so easy to rank. They fall under the News category, which is pretty rare compared to most of the other pages you generally see ranking.
Google likes to try to make every searcher happy. Not everybody prefers videos, but many do. Not everybody is shopping for something, but many are. They like to show something for everybody on the first page of results if they can.
"If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."
Build A Ton of Backlinks
The nice thing about reputation management is that you're always working with high-authority domains, so you can build literally tens or even hundreds of thousands of backlinks and the pages won't get penalized.
I don't care what Google update you want to talk about, up to this point, super-high-authority domains have not been penalized for having a massive backlink profile. That's why we love to take advantage of these types of pages.
So, the best way to get them ranking is to create them, put a ton of content on there with a solid headline that has your keyword in it, and throw it into Link Emperor to blast a massive amount of links at it.
We get great results every time. You'll start to see the pages you like floating up in the rankings over the course of a few weeks or occasionally months. Just stick with it.
Advanced Mode: Dealing with Click-Bait Headlines &
Pages That Just Won't Budge
All that said, there are sometimes cases where it's tough to get rid of a couple particularly sticky listings. It's not that the listings you like aren't moving up... it's that a couple of the listings you don't like won't seem to move down.
You may have gotten a bunch of your favorite listings from the 2nd page to push up to the bottom half of the 1st page, and you may have even won spots 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10... but you just can't seem to get that 3rd position article, the one created by the person you hate with a burning fiery passion, to budge.
Something like a page on RipoffReport.com with a title that says something like:
"John Doe Stole My Watch, Kicked My Dog
and Took My Girlfriend on an All-Expenses-Paid Vacation!
Now I'm All Alone!"
And boy, can that be frustrating.
Not just for the guy who lost his girlfriend, (who knows if the story was true), but unfortunately that's going to be a really, really tough result to knock down in Google.
EVERYONE clicks on that article. That headline is pure gold! It belongs in the National Enquirer, it's so good.
And since its click-through rate is so high (probably 3x higher than the rest of the stuff on the page in many cases), Google thinks it is the most relevant result on the page by a long shot, whether or not it even has a single backlink pointing to it!
By the way, this is why I rant and rave about studying up on your copywriting. The better the headline, the easier your job becomes as an SEO.
So, here's what happens...
A few months after subscribing, a customer will come to us and complain that our software doesn't work because the page they're trying to get rid of hasn't budged an inch.
Even though, in the meantime we got 9 out of 10 of the other spots filled up with the pages they'd been building links to. It doesn't matter to them.
And in those cases...
It's Time to Pull Out Your Own Wild & Crazy Headlines
In my opinion, this is your best and only shot.
If you're up against a great headline, you're going to need 10 more click-worthy headlines to beat it, and they're going to all need a ton of backlinks.
I know it sounds crazy. But you may have to actually get a little crazy in order to compete here.
The good news is, if you have the ability to change the headlines of some of the pages that are already ranking high, you may not have to create all new content.
This is where you should be thankful that legendary copywriters have done a lot of the work for you in advance.
Often, the best strategy is to set up headlines that look scandalous, but really are not once the searcher clicks on the article. Stuff like:
"Is John Doe A Ripoff Artist? 5 People Speak Out" ... and those 5 people happen to be honest, positive testimonials for your product or service line.
"How Much is John Doe Really Costing You?" ... followed up by a lovely explanation of the money-saving wonders of your service.
"What John Doe Doesn't Want You To Know About Your Bill" ... followed by an itemized explanation of why your company doesn't rip off their customers with the fees that your competitors might.
... You get the idea.
I know you'd rather have a headline that just says "John is such a great guy". I would, too. But unless people are dying to click on it, it's not going to have a chance of beating a really nasty listing.
CTR is, by far, the most important factor in Google. Always think like a customer. They're going to be drawn like a moth to any negative headline when they're considering using your service, so you may have to get a little dirty if you really want that negative result to drop.
But don't forget -- the page itself still has to be interesting, otherwise the bounce rate will kill your ability to rank. So don't go "pure click-bait" on this and totally fake people out or anything. It has to be interesting once they land on the page.
Here are a couple free resources for headline ideas:
(Gary Halbert is my favorite, and his types of wild headlines often work best in this scenario.)
Lots of Content On Every Page
Here's one thing I often notice. People forget that every single page needs lots of content to be really competitive.
There may be a result ranking on the second or third page for your name that's on a really good domain, like twitter or facebook or something like that. But if you don't have a ton of content on that page, it's not likely to be able to raise up to the #1 spot. It may max out halfway up the first page.
You may be able to get a lonely, empty twitter account up to the 9th position or something like that, if Google can't find too much else to rank there, but it's not going to get any higher unless that's an active page where people don't bounce as soon as they land on it.
If you're seriously trying to make a run at a tough page ranking for your name, every single asset you're working with needs to be loaded up with content. Searchmetrics recommends at least 975 words per page.
Pay Off Journalists / Bloggers
This can definitely come in handy, too, when you're running out of ideas.
There are guys on sites like Huffington Post and other sources of questionable journalism that will accept money to write an article about you.
Obviously this isn't the type of thing where I can link you directly to someone, but if you keep your ear to the ground, they're available. Combine an article on a site like that with a really clickable headline that has your name either in it or in the first paragraph of the article, and you can do some serious damage. It may cost you a pretty penny, though.
Bloggers are always looking to get paid, too. Just make sure they have a blog with high domain authority in Majestic SEO, otherwise you're just wasting your time.
I hope this article helped some people. It's one of the toughest situations people have to deal with when it comes to marketing themselves online.
P.S. If you haven't already, I highly recommend trying out the new Link Emperor campaigns. They really make it easy to tell how you're doing with a reputation management project. Now that we're targeting specific keywords much more aggressively that we used to, Link Emperor is better for rep management than it ever was.