Our client was a manufacturing firm that creates tools for machining. This high-profile company has reached a level of maturity and success where the emergence of online detractors is inevitable. Small missteps take on the aspect of mountainous problems as competitors and sensationalists focus only on the negative.
The company's reputation problems were enormous. 90% of the first page of Google search results were negative and 80% of the second page as well. Their online reputation problems included multiple incidences of negative journalism, less than positive Glass Door reviews, a negative YouTube video, and more. The less than flattering content was refreshed regularly due to the high-profile nature of the company and its executives.
Because of the high authority of the online publications affecting our client, we informed them that 100% removal of all negative online content was most likely not possible, but improvement was. We then got to work on damage control.
Our first objective was to identify the keywords most problematic to their business's reputation. From the original list of over 50 search terms, including the names of executives, we narrowed the list to five branded key phrases that were identified as highest priority. All resources were focused on these phrases that generated over 80% of negative web traffic. These search phrases returned negative search results in Sports Illustrated, blogs, online newspapers, and other web properties.
Like people, companies have online search profiles that fit a pattern. There are similarities across industries, geographies, company size, and other criteria. We looked at the profiles of other manufacturing companies to see how they compared to that of our client. We found that while many web properties already existed, results common with competitors in industry publications did not exist for our client. We chose the highest domain authority sites we could from the list, selected those we felt we had the highest probability of influencing, and then created a matrix of web properties to improve or create from scratch.
We then created a one-year online reputation management strategy with the primary objective of first page dilution and a secondary objective of suppression.
Our research found that it was possible to remove the YouTube video due to copyright laws, which took three weeks to accomplish. The initial dilution plan contained a list of existing positive content, such as new content living on websites, blogs, articles, and YouTube and other videos. We re-purposed existing videos and packaged it for YouTube. Google "replaced" the negative YouTube video with the new branded ones. This won us our first improved search result.
The company had a charity and had been very generous, but the website had been neglected. We redesigned the site, added new content, and contacted organizations that had received donations requesting a link from their site to the charity site. This moved the charity site to the first page of search results above all other negatives. This was our second win.
We then worked with contributors to major online publications to place interviews with the CEO on their blogs. We requested that certain structures be in place in the articles so that search engines would have a clear understanding of the content. The editorial cycle of these publications encompassed 12 weeks from content approval. We followed up publishing with social exposure, paid media, and strategic SEO link building. The strength of the parent sites helped push the articles to page one and two of search results.
We worked with the in-house media team to develop a content calendar for press releases, blog refresh for the main company site and the charity site, YouTube, and social media accounts. We also integrated their social media into a single dashboard for ease of posting.
Within six months we had achieved:
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