Recently I put together an article about press release sites taking a huge hit in search rankings, presumably due to the “payday loan” algorithm which is supposed to target highly spammed keywords and sites using spammy techniques.
I spoke to an employee of a press release distribution company (who both will remain nameless) and they told me that the initial punishment occurred over the keyword “garcinia cambogia”, a keyword that gets more than 800,000 searches per month according to Semrush.
As I continued to write I decided to do a search for that keyword and see who the new results were. To my surprise I found a short YouTube video ranking near the bottom of page 1. After doing some research on the video I examined its backlink profile and came to the conclusion that the site was ranking purely on the strength of pure spam.
This discovery got me thinking that perhaps YouTube, a Google owned property might be “protected” from such actions. After all the more traffic their videos receive, the more revenue they can generate through ads.
I decided to check out some other keywords to see if my theory held true in another niche. After some consideration I decided to focus on a local seo keyword, such as “city name seo”. I wanted a term that would have value and a term that would have some good search volume.
The keyword I settled on has roughly 500 searches per month for its city name “seo” and could potentially generate a few hundred more visits by ranking for other variations of this same keyword.
Lo and behold I was able to find a YouTube video ranking in the 6th position for this keyword.
Well, if it is ranking in the top 10 and Google is attacking spammy backlinks, then this must be a squeaky clean white hat video correct?
The video has 65 views yet it has 1700 backlinks from almost 300 domains. How does that happen? How can only 65 people viewed the video yet 1700 links been created for said video? Perhaps the links are quality, so let’s take a peek!
After checking the backlink profile on Majectic SEO most of the links are coming via blog comments. Wait a minute, blog comments can be white hat right?
Of course they can but when the anchor text is either exact match or some variation of the main keyword then it screams spam. Don’t take my word for it, take a look yourself!
Notice that this page has been spammed to death and has some unsavory keywords on the same page as the “seo” keyword. I have marked out most information since I just want to point out the facts but do not want to “out” the video in question.
I think it is pretty clear that the site is simply using YouTube as a “host” to spam and rank.
In light of how Google has handled some news sites and the press release distribution sites I find it rather interesting that they are punishing these domains in the name of “search quality” yet their very own property can be used to rank for some of these keywords using the shadiest of tactics with no ill effects?
What are your thoughts?
There are a number of factors that are important to consider when trying to solidify your branding recognition and overall PR. But when it comes to your presence on the internet, nothing is quite as important as managing your online reputation. It is more crucial than visibility, social media engagement, or even online sales.
Your image online and how people perceive and so speak about your brand can make or break your brand. If you have a positive online reputation, you will find things like social media campaigning, direct B2C advertising and even overall visibility to be significantly more positive.
How You Maintain Your Online Reputation
A number of avenues exist for managing your reputation on the web. For the most part, the process is straight forward. You can have an active reputation management campaign running within a few hours. A few easy methods include:
- Use a wide variety of tracking tools. The most basic you should be using is Google Alerts. You can sign up to have reports regularly sent to your email every time your brand is mentioned. Other helpful trackers include Brandseye, Rankur, and SocialMention.
- Have a dedicated social media team. If you have an established business, you want to keep up with social media as much as possible. Not just to post regular updates, but to monitor what people are saying about you. If there is a problem you will want to have it taken care of as quickly as possible. But you want to react to praise, as well. If you don’t have employees you can put on this, you might want to hire a freelancer or two that can take care of your profiles.
- Buy your domain name (and similar domains). It is worth it to buy up your closest domain matches to your brand. This is important for reputation management because others can use a similar domain for unsavory things. Even if they use it for legitimate business reasons, you will not have any control over the actions of their company, and it takes away from visibility for your real brand.
- Start better targeting your social media interactions. Not all social media platforms are going to be the right ones for you. Track your data and how much use you have gotten from each. Then narrow down a more specific strategy for not just monitoring, but also find tuning your online presence. Your main beats to choose from will be Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram. Each provides something different, and knowing which work best for you will help solidify a more impressive strategy.
- Start working that PR. Is there an event going on in your industry that is taking sponsors? A charity that you especially believe in? A scholarship program your community is taking donations for? These are all opportunities. The adage that all publicity is good publicity isn’t true on the web. You want to seek out chances for good PR that you can share socially.
Taking It To a Higher Level (Tools!)
The above tactics are the more basic methods that should start you off. But once you get those underway, you should be turning to more advanced tools and tips for your online reputation management.
- Website security verification is something to start with. It’s not a one-time task, since you need to keep an eye on user security ratings as well.
- Make sure your brand is registered as trusted. People should be able to check you out quickly, and know you are trustworthy and legitimate. There are lots of sites that provide that service (example). A database like LicenseDirect will let you register your company, so people can search out details like verifying credentials, seeing that your professionals are properly licensed, and see a full profile for you or your company that is more official than LinkedIn.
- Social media verification is another step towards higher-quality trust signals.
Do you have any tips for managing your online reputation? Let us know in the comments.
Featured image: approved
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