In the last newsletter, I touched base on Google's consistent need for search engine optimization for your website. So, in THIS newsletter, I would like to focus on Google's second demand....online reputation. Yes, you can optimize all your web pages for specific keywords all you want but if your reputation is not rock solid, you won't rank very well at the end of the day.
Google also likes to look at what your customers think about your website; hence, we should all do everything that we can to build a good online reputation.
For search engine optimization, if content is KING, then link building is the QUEEN because if you wish to rank better or VERY WELL on Google, you need fresh, unique and consistent content and create links to your website. Every single link that comes to your website is a citation or a vote that tells Google that your website deserves to rank well. The more votes (links) coming in to your website, the easier it will be for you to rank on top pages of Google for your preferred keywords.
But here's the catch...not just ANY link. Google wants quality links. Not links that were bought or ill-gotten ways of spamming on other people's websites, blogs and online social networking sites. Quality links will help you build a credible online reputation.
Although we should focus on how to get people to link to you in this newsletter, what I would like to focus on this time round is how to create lasting impressions and building an estimable reputation.
The reason? Well, when you focus on simply building links, there is a risk of falling into a mad rage of planting links everywhere and forgetting what is important – your reputation! You end up buying pointless links, exchange links with others and submit links to your website to link farms.
There are countless black hat back-linking strategies and websites online and here, I must insist that you NOT use them. Refrain. There is a backlash to using the easy way out; one, you will ruin your reputation and two, Google frowns upon it and you may be penalized for engaging in such activities.
What you SHOULD concentrate on to build a good reputation is to work on your online social media marketing strategy. Engage your customers on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other online social networking sites that you are on.
That is because we are dealing with human beings and as human beings, we prefer to interact. If you spam your network, then you are effectively spoiling your online reputation.
Why Online Reputation is important to you?
Let's work on the assumption that ABC Company; a search engine optimization consultant encouraged you to buy links and spam forums, blogs and online social networking sites to get links into your website. If 9 out of 10 people who see those links or comments hate them and your company, will there be anyone linking to your website now? Will you be getting the citation/vote that you want for your website?
Worse still, what if they got really mad at you for the spam and reported it to Google? Make no mistake about it, Google will NOT hesitate to ban your website! That would be such a mistake, wouldn't it? A complete opposite of what you are looking for. On top of that, you would have a ruined reputation to go with it.
The same works for social networking sites. If you spammed your network of people and they hate it enough to block or report your activities and spread the word online (word of mouth), it will kill your company faster than when compared to offline worth of mouth.
At the end of the day, disregard for such ethics will ruin your reputation and spoil your chances of ranking highly on Google.
So, what would be the RIGHT way to build a good online reputation?
Produce High Quality Content
Produce high quality content by solving other people's problems. People love it when you share good stuff and help them without asking for anything back in return. Once again, as you can see, content is KING.
The irony in all of this is that when you create fabulous content, you don't even have to ASK THEM to link to your website. They'll do it at their own free will and create links to your website all on their own because they think the content is good enough to be shared amongst their friends. Your purpose would be to create good enough content on your website so that they will want to email the content and create links in their email linking to your website. They'll click that 'share' button on Facebook, Tweet it to their friends and post up links on LinkedIn and other social networking sites.
Participate in Online Community
Another great way to build up a good reputation is to participate in online communities relevant to your business. Examples would be forums and blogs where people engage with each other, offering genuine help to others and comment on blogs.
You will be surprised with how willing people are to link to your website if you were genuine to them. What needs to be done is that you should think about how to give ideas that are constructive.
Not many people know about this but there is such a thing called online bookmarking sites. The big and popular ones are like Digg.com, Stumbleupon.com, Delicious.com and Reddit.com. There are others so, spend some time looking for them. Here, you get to spread the word about your content and get links back to your website.
Social bookmarking is a very effective way of driving traffic to and creating awareness about your website particularly because you develop a REAL reputation for linking to the best sites in industry or area of interest.
Join Social Networking Sites (Word of Mouth Marketing)
Just about everyone's got a Facebook account by now so, if you have not created one for yourself or a fan page for your company, do it. And once you have the account up, join groups. Remember, it is important to be social with other human beings and participate and engage them on these social networking sites.
This reminds me about an article about using human tone to engage people on your Facebook wall.
It is crucial to say something about it when you post links on the wall....don't just copy and paste the link and say NOTHING and also, in a genuine, human tone.
Video marketing plays an important role in building your online reputation. To give you a couple of ideas, try producing thought-provoking, funny or interesting videos that you want to share and spread them online.
A good example to use for this instance is Thai commercials. They produce some of the best commercials, spread them online and build up on their online reputation.
Submit Your Websites to Directories
Open Directory Project is the largest human-edited directory online. It has a history of being taken very seriously by Google so, a link from them counts for a lot and its feed is used for Google's very own directory service. The Open Directory Project, therefore you can conclude, is a general authority site and carries double vote as far as Google and credibility is concerned.
Why? Because all of Open Directory Project's editors are volunteers!
In building a good reputation online, submitting links to directories is crucial so as to assure search engines like Google that the content is highly accurate and valuable.
The Yahoo Directory is the other directory deserving of your attention. Yahoo directory is, however, is a paid-entry directory.
Whenever you create new content for your website, obviously, you want people to find them and read them. RSS feed is a fantastic way to release the content from your website out into cyber space.
The willingness to share your RSS feed on their website is purely dependent on how useful and relevant the content is to the said website owners.
Good services and products
This goes without saying but I'll say it anyway. If your focus has always been to provide top quality products and services, it is a given that people like your website or your company.
They will not hesitate to mention your website to their friends and family during casual conversations. Sometimes, they will provide link backs to your website and this, fortunately, is something that Google favors. And it helps with your online reputation at the same time.