How To Start Selling Online Reputation Management Services For Clients

With the growing popularity of consumer review websites like RipOffReport.com that allow any disgruntled customer (or web-savvy competitor) to publish indexable content, there’s an entire industry being built around the removal of negative search-engine results.

But don’t let the hype men fool you, you don’t need proprietary reputation management skills to provide reputation defense that gets results.

If you know the basics of SEO, it’s just a matter of applying your skills in a new way. You might even discover that reputation management is easier than doing SEO.

What is Online Reputation Management?

At the most basic level, you’re removing sludge from the top search engine results, usually for a client’s brand or product name search. There’s a good encyclopedia-style explanation of it at good ol’ Wikipedia. reputation management

Typically, a reputation management company or SEO agency is hired to push down negative product reviews or complaints about particularly bad customer experiences.

In more difficult cases, a client might have been involved in some type of legal dispute where news stories about the trial end up ranking high in the SERPs for their brand name. Results from these sources can be a harder to push off page one since the listings will be coming from news sources with a lot of authority.

Other reasons a client might want to outsource their reputation management are competitive. Like when affiliates are able to leverage a companies brand name to score easy affiliate sales with free bonus offers.

But no matter the reasons your client wants to defend their online rep the strategy to push down these negative listings is pretty simple. Better yet, follow this simple strategy and you’ll be elbow dropping the negative results of 90% of the reputation management campaigns you come across.

5 Ways to Hammer Web Sludge and Get Started with Reputation Defense

Leverage Social Media: Taking advantage of social media profiles is one of easiest and most effective tools you have to influence search results for brand name reputation defense. It also provides the added benefit of sending more link juice to your website.

It’s a real win-win for SEO and reputation defense.

Register with the behemoths of social media first: MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. Be as comprehensive filling out the profiles as possible. Complete the company description, photos, interest categories and stuff as much content into these pages as possible.

Even in hyper-competitive spaces, you will be able to leverage the authority of sites like Twitter and LinkedIn to power your way to page one.

If you’ve got a little budget, I recommend outsourcing the registration of social media profiles to KnowEm.com. They’ll take care of registering your social profiles for a few hundred bucks and take most of the grunt work out of adding descriptions, photos, and profile links while they’re at it.

But if you don’t want to spend money to register to free social networks, you can still use their free service to find out which websites you don’t have a profile created with.

Press Release / Article Submissions: Sometimes you can hammer a few results out off page one with nothing more than a press release or article submission keyword focused on your client’s brand name.

This strategy can work particularly well if the client’s been getting smeared in the media. In this case, publish press releases positioning your client in a positive light in hopes of getting your side of the story picked up by media outlets.

If you’ve got a budget to work with another crafty strategy is to submit press releases to paid PR syndication sites like PRWeb.com. You’ll have a much better chance of getting your press release picked up by news sites when you submit here as opposed to a free press release site.

Arguably, there’s less spam that comes from paid press release syndication than free websites and you can usually get some easy links from sources like the Yahoo! News and Reuters wire as a result.

Sub Domains: That’s right. Creating sub domains on your flagship URL is an incredibly easy way to get multiple listings for a branded search.

The funny thing is most of the big reputation management companies don’t take advantage of this.

Here’s why I recommend creating multiple sub domains for your website as a monster reputation management strategy:

Conduct a Google search for the branded search phrase ebay.

ebay sub domain results in Google

Three out of the first four organic results are sub domains for eBay.com. The reason this happens is that Google treats sub domains kind of like separate websites. Create a few additional sub domains for your client and viola, you might be banishing bad results with an on-site update.

And you thought online reputation management would be tough?

Register Exact Match URLs: If you’re managing the reputation management campaign for a client’s name (i.e. John Smith) you’ll want to snap up his exact match URLs immediately.

Register the .com, .net, .org, .info and anything else you can get. Next build out a small page informational website about your client. Typically, you can fill this with resume type information.

Registering URLs for your client’s name is another easy way to fill-up a slot on page one with little effort. So register those domains, before your competition gets a hold of them.

Publish Content like Crazy: Like SEO, sometimes it’s just a numbers game to get your content to the top of the content heap for reputation management.

If you write more guest posts, build more links to your content, and submit to more social media profiles, some of your content will find it’s way to the top of the heap eventually.

But before you run off to publish a reputation management page on your website remember that you’ll need a way to report your efforts to clients and establish goals for the campaign. Removing all sludge from page one and two of the SERPs seems like a good place to start. But, alas, that will have to be the topic of another post.

Until then, sound off on the ninja strategies you use to manage client’s (or your own) online reputation in the comments!

Gmail Hack to Help Manage Multiple Business E-mail Accounts

If you’ve got multiple e-mail accounts setup for your business (i.e. support or sales), you understand logging in and out of different email accounts a few times a day can be a pain, not to mention a huge waste of your time.

To be fair, Microsoft Outlook has a feature that lets you to send and receive emails from different e-mail accounts in one spot. But if you’re like me, you’d prefer an easier and more convenient way to respond to e-mails than Outlook provides. Enter Gmail.

Gmail Rocks.

Let face it: Gmail is a superior e-mail experience. It organizes conversations better, the search feature actually works, and you can access it from any computer without the need to install software.

And if the above list wasn’t reason enough to harness the liberating power of Gmail, here’s a little hack that will make it really easy to manage multiple business e-mail accounts to boot.

No more remembering passwords or logging in and out of email accounts to communicate professionally.

Before I show you how to set this up in Gmail, I want to give a shout out to the LifeStyleBusinessPodcast.com where I picked up this hot Gmail tip. Check these guys out if you’re starting any type of online business. They rock.

How To Manage Multiple Business E-mail Accounts from Gmail:

Prefer a Circa 1998 explanation of this process? Here are the six steps to start managing multiple e-mail accounts out of the same Gmail account:

1.) Log in to Gmail
2.) At the top right hand of your Gmail account, click “Settings”
3.) The “Settings” page will pop up. Next, click the “Accounts” tab.
4.) At the bottom of the page there will be an “Add Another E-mail Address” setting. Type in the name and e-mail address you want to manage out of Gmail and click the “Save Changes” button below.
5.) A confirmation e-mail will be sent to the e-mail address you specified. Open that email and click the confirmation link in the e-mail.
6.) Next, log back into Gmail and return to the “Settings” then “Account” page. You will now see the details of your newly added email address. You can select to set-up the new address as the default or auto reply as the email address the original message was sent to.

This is the same system I use to manage my business e-mail accounts day to day. I’m sure you’ll dig it as well.

How To Create SEOMoz Promoted Main Blog Content and Get a High-Five From Rand Fishkin

In this the second interview with Ed Fry, he shares the secret sauce for getting your content from YouMoz to being published on the SEOMoz main blog, earning the respect of your industry peers, and getting a real life high-five from Rand Fishkin in the process.

Ed Fry

Ed, can you give us a quick run down of the blog posts you’ve had promoted from YouMoz to the main SEOMoz blog? What were they about?

I’ve been following the main SEOmoz blog for almost two years (testament to how good it is!) – I’ve rarely missed a post. The ideas on their are generally new, interesting and engaging for advanced SEOs.

I think part of the mission with the moz blog is to teach the pro’s something new – that’s perhaps why it’s so successful; SEOmoz, along with their associates and YOUmoz contributions are constantly thinking, researching and talking about SEO. The blogs are where the community’s ideas are shared.

I’ve noticed however that SEOmoz has generally skipped around the topic of awesome content. Yes, they’ve defined the need for good content, suggested where good content would be good – even suggested what content is not… but never what it is, and how to make it.

This is the area I had interest in before. Having started my own website entirely because it was impressed into me that with awesome content that was ranking, you could win. This has generally always been my favourite part of SEO.

I’ve been taught using Site Build It, I follow CopyBlogger avidly and keep an eye on ProBlogger too…

Gradually, I noted down a series of thoughts and ideas about the process of creating awesome content. Then over the course of about two weeks, I figured how to “join-the-dots” and make a remarkable article.

And so I published the Definitive Guide to Awesome Web Content.

I’ve got about a dozen other posts in various draft forms that I’ll tidy up and submit one day as well…

What sort of benefits did you receive as a result of being featured on the main SEOMoz blog? (I.e. Adoring fans, consulting offers, industry cred, traffic to your Twitter profile or a virtual high-five from Rand Fishkin?

I’ve never really got what Twitter was originally intended for – who really cares what you had for breakfast?

Originally, I signed up just to follow people in search (worthwhile, just for the interesting stuff people share) and then later the Distilled folks before my internship there.

But seeing my post flying around the Twittersphere does give a warm fuzzy feeling inside…

Beyond the standard ‘headline + link’ tweet there have been some people who have really taken what I’ve said onboard, or its hit them in a particularly profound way. Those were the people I was really writing for, and I’m glad they chirped up.

The timing of the promotion of the post was pretty good – a week before Distilled’s PRO SEO Seminar.

Meeting people ‘from the internet’ who had seen my post was pretty cool. Having Will Critchlow introduce me to some of the SEOmoz team as the guy who wrote a post ‘this long’ (stretching his arms as wide as far as they go – and he plays basketball so a long way!) was even cooler.

But an ACTUAL high-five from Rand Fishkin was the coolest :-]

Being ‘published on SEOmoz’ is definitely a credibility-builder when talking to people about SEO, especially if the objective is to win over work. It’s also handy just to point clients to the post – I’ve found educating clients really helps.

Do you think it’s worthwhile from a personal benefit standpoint to put in upfront time and effort that’s necessary to create the type of high-quality blog post that has the potential to be SEOMoz main-blog worthy content?

As I put in the post, the world doesn’t need more content. It needs quality content. Remarkable, awesome, white-paper-worthy content.

Always create high-quality content, because then you don’t play the quantity game. As Seth Godin says, we’ve had the race to the bottom (you can ‘buy articles’ with Mechanical Turk now for next to nothing. So is the article worth next to nothing?); now it’s about the race to the top.

From a search and social marketing perspective, what factors will determine whether your the one that gets linked to, gets tweeted about, gets traffic and what SEOs really care about – getting ranked – is it the quantity of content you produce (increasing your odds?) or the quality (going for the win).

I say, if you’re trying to make mediocre content rank, or even if you’re just posting mediocre content then shame on you!

My post took me to write as long as it took me write. That’s the key point about Definitive Content – it’s as long as it needs to be.

My argument is this – if you’re a stranger in a foreign city and you ask someone for directions, you’re not going to stop listening until you’ve got directions to where you need to go, and why should they stop telling you directions? Why should it be any different online?

As someone whose work has been promoted to the main blog before, what sort of content creation advice to you have for others hoping to be recognized there?

There’s three points here:

1.) Write Definitive Content (Remarkable + Awesome + White-Paper-Worthy)

2.) Write about something you know about inside out. Introduce something new, or put a new perspective on something (you’ve read about content before; I joined the dots and added an analogy. You can do that too.). If you know something well, you can write as yourself much easier. More natural posts appear more fluent, more confident and are more likely to be posted.

3.) Write about SEO! There’s a handful of posts on the YOUmoz blog which haven’t had such a great response. Either they weren’t as well written, or didn’t say anything new – or they weren’t writing about SEO or something that is directly related to SEO. Recently there have been a couple of articles about Facebook, but as search and social becomes ever closer together there’s enough relevance for it to be received well by SEOmoz readers. Think of a cornerstone of SEO and hone in on it. Actionable posts go far too, I think.

In your promoted YouMoz post titled “The Definitive Guide to Awesome Web Content” you leverage a number of graphs and photos to articulate your message. How are you able to find or create the type of imagery that helps explain difficult SEO concepts? Do believe including this imagery improves the odds your content is promoted?

For starters, images help to break up a lengthy post. I knew I couldn’t just slap a huge text “essay” on a blog because no one would read it.

Breaking up a post with images, sub-headings, lists and bullet-points is important, especially if your posts are of any length. Images also help emphasize key points. Be this in a humourous way, or with a diagram or something similar, it saves having to type out an explanation which may not even be as clear.

Usually, I first try looking for stock images to add to posts, and failing that I use Google Image Search to find something to swipe (of course they get a reference link). Finding images isn’t the hard part, it’s putting them effectively into the context of a piece.

The key analogy I used of a jet engine to represent the four types of content and how they’re used meant I had to produce a diagram of some sort. I actually ended up using Microsoft Word and then print-screening it into some graphics editing software (Paint.net) where I then adjusted the size and colour before uploading it. Anyone can do that, right? (Credit: Ed Fry’s Sweet Microsoft Paint Jet Engine Below.)

jet engine

Diagrams, graphs, humourous images and other pictures definitely help your posts hold up reader’s attention and make the post look interesting and shareable.

I also embedded a YouTube video of a Seth Godin talk to explain one of my points. You could use other multi-media too (slide decks, prezzis, videos – even embeddable games!) to help reduce the need for text and retain readers interest.