In reputation management, like sports, the best defense is often a good offense. Two proactive moves to make now are buying domain names associated with your company’s name, products, and services, and then build websites or mini-sites associated to the new domains.
The primary objective of this proactive online reputation management strategy of buying associated domain names is to plan for attacks against your company using those same names. It’s considered a given that multiple domain names containing your name will register with Google giving evidence that the underlying website is relevant to their search algorithm. To that end, you will want to acquire domains related to your common business name, names under trademark, and brand, product or service names.
Broaden your domain buying list by doing research to identify key terms that consumers would use when searching for your business, your products, and your services. Don’t just limit the list to your company name. Consider all the ways that people would type into Google to find your business and your offerings.
You can go to can sites like go daddy.com to get information about the availability of different domain names with various extensions, such as.com,.net and.org, and whois.com to see who else owns domain names which could be associated with your own. Another advantage of whois.com is that you can see who owns domain names that are similar to yours. If you see familiar names such as competitors or an ex-employee, you might have a reputation management problem waiting in the wings. When buying the domains go beyond just the.com extension and pick up both the.net and.org extensions as well.
Another optional buying list to create is one with your primary domain name with a negative message at the end such as “is the worst” or “sucks”. There are so many possible variations on this theme that it will be impossible to get them all from a reputation management context so go for the most obvious ones and leave it at that. Many in the industry assume that reference by domain name is one the most powerful factors in the algorithm for determining search engine page results so there’s a lot gain here by buying them and a sizable risk in letting someone else do the same.
Once you have secured your domain names start building the related websites. While the process may be time consuming, it doesn’t have to be expensive as there are many vendors that either give websites away or charge nominal fees for set up and hosting. Google is a great start because of the assistance they can provide in setting up the site, optimizing it, and then supporting it over time. Besides, there are worse things than having the search engine you want to rank with teach you how best to develop your site. If the process is too time intensive, working with an online reputation management company is an excellent option due to the additional expertise they can bring to the project.
Optimized and marketed properly, the sites with keywords you are trying to protect could start populating the first pages of the search engines providing multiple opportunities for searchers to find you and setting up your reputation management defense against negative content. The two benefits for the price of one can provide a great return on investment which then covers the cost of your reputation management strategy.