Creating web content to take control of your Google reputation
This is Day 20 of our new series: 30 days to a better online reputation. Be sure to subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss a single important lesson![divider]
“We want Google to be the third half of your brain.” Sergey Brin
Using your Superbrand powers will only get you so far in your efforts to push positive web content higher up in Google’s search results. To maximize the benefits of your optimized anchor text, you need to consider the quality and relevance of the web page to which you are linking. Link to a page that uses pronouns in lieu of your name, or doesn’t have your brand in the URL, and you’re going to make your Google reputation management efforts more difficult than needed.
Instead, focus on those web pages that you either Own or Control, are already showing up in the first 30 Google results for your name, are positive in sentiment, and match up with your Centers of Influence. These are your top candidates for on-page optimization and to receive the benefit of your Superbrand links. If you’re struggling to find enough existing web pages that match your criteria, then you may have to repurpose existing web content or build new pages to help you take control of your Google reputation.
Optimize your existing domain
Just because your own web site is the Superbrand, that doesn’t mean it’s working 100% to help your Google reputation. While your homepage may sit at the top of the search results, you may be missing out on the opportunity to push other pages from your web site into the top ten results.
Generally, your “About Us” page is the perfect candidate for this task, but any page on your site, relevant to your personal or company name, can work. Make sure the page heading includes your name, the description is in the third person, and that any menu link to the page includes your Superbrand in the anchor text. With these in place, you should find that Google starts ranking the page right below your existing homepage listing.
Utilize your other TLDs
I bet if you check your domain registrar account, you’ll rediscover an existing top-level domain (TLD) that you registered a long time ago, but never used. That “.org” or “.net” TLD can be put to great use with some careful planning.
There’s nothing that says you can only use your “.com” domain name in your reputation strategy. Many large corporations already use multiple TLDs to host specialized content, so the approach is not new. Take an existing TLD—or register a new one—and use it to host web content that can be safely separated from your existing web site. A great example would be for a blog or consumer portal. Microsoft protects its Google reputation with additional domains such as MicrosoftStore.com and I use this tactic by separating my professional blog (andybeal.com) from my personal, more whimsical blog (andybeal.me).
After you optimize the content on your other TLDs you should see that they quickly gain favor in the eyes of Google—especially if you link to them! There are only two caveats to this approach. First, don’t duplicate any content that is already published on your existing web site, and second, don’t go overboard adding TLDs—build out one or two at most!
The benefits of sub-domains
Another great approach is to make use of the unlimited supply of sub-domains available to you. Unlike a TLD, which requires a registration fee, sub-domains are free and you’re not restricted by existing availability.
What is a sub-domain? It’s easier to show you, than to explain it to you. For example, help.trackur.com is a sub-domain. So is, play.google.com. That word in front of the TLD means that the company has created a sub-domain that piggybacks off of the authority of the main domain name, but is treated by Google (and your browser) as a completely separate web site.
Sub-domains don’t require a registration fee and you can name them whatever you wish. For your reputation management efforts you’ll create one or two and use them for anything from your careers center, to your investor portal, to your blog. A few pages of carefully optimized content, a link from your existing web site, and it should start making its way up Google’s search results.
Not all social profiles are equal
While it is true that you should focus your reputation efforts on those social media networks that help you to best reach your Centers of Influence, there are some that will rank better in Google than others.
Any time you can customize your social media bio or profile page, you increase the likelihood that Google will display that page prominently in its search results. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Flickr are just a few of the social networks that will let you create a profile, customize the URL (see Day 9) and write a bio about yourself—in the third person, of course! And, don’t forget to link to each one using your optimized anchor text.
Don’t overlook videos and images
While it is true that text heavy web pages tend to do better in Google’s search results, you shouldn’t overlook the importance of images and video in your reputation management strategy. The search engines are getting smarter at understanding all types of web content, and Google in particular loves to display images and videos alongside traditional text results.
Create a YouTube channel and upload a tour of your office, demos of your products, or even customer testimonials. Label everything with your name—the channel, the video file, the video title, the video description, and the video tags—and your videos will start showing up in the search results. Even if they don’t show up in Google, YouTube is technically the second largest search engine on the planet, so you’ll at least put forward your best reputation to those searching for videos about you!
For photos and images, you should check our Flickr.com. The Yahoo owned photo-hosting site carries a lot of authority and its images often show up in the search results. Again, make sure every label includes your name and you’ll make it easier for Google to find a flattering headshot or professional product image.
What else ranks?
All of the above suggestions fall into the Own or Control categories on your Google audit spreadsheet. They are ideal candidates for optimization as you’re able to maximize their potential for ranking in Google’s top ten. The next step is to look at how your Google reputation can benefit from content that you can only Influence.