London SMX Advanced: Social Media, Search & Reputation Management

Your client just rang – they’ve had a product recall and negative reports are flying in both traditional media and on the web. The Twitterverse is atweet with snarky comments, and even worse, with links to bad press, causing those stories in turn to get top ranking in web search results. If you’ve ever had to deal with a reputation management issue you know this is a nightmare scenario – but don’t despair. Social media sites offer a key opportunity to influence search results. This session looks at the crucial role they can play.

Moderator: Andy Atkins-Kruger (AA), Managing Director, WebCertain

Q&A Moderator: Kevin Ryan (KR), Chief Executive, Motivity Marketing, Inc.


  • Arthur Coleman (AC), CEO, OnlineMatters, Inc
  • Mikkel deMib Svendsen (MS), Creative Director,
  • Kevin Gibbons (KG), Director of Search, SEOptimise
  • Kristjan Mar Hauksson (KH), Director Search, Nordic eMarketing

(The below are Tim’s notes from the “Social Media, Search & Reputation Management” session at SMX Advanced.  They have been posted during the session and will be tidied up later – more SMX coverage here)

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Kristjan Mar Hauksson

(The volcano is surprisingly small!)

What Happens When Bad News Goes Live?

  • 98% of journalists go online! Even respected publications often just take press releases and publish it. They are incredibly hungry for information.  This is where the opportunity is in a crisis.
  • Speed of movement is key
  • Need to be able to see who looks at the story – did the BBC visit your site? Did your competitors visit?
  • The Basics
    • You need a plan in place before problem happens e.g have PPC campaign built ready to go.  Have basic info ready to go. (seek to saturate search results etc
      • forsee possible scenarios
      • be ready with press releases
      • know how long it takes for your site to be indexed
    • Listen e.g. Google alerts, Vocus, Clara, Trackur, TweetBeep, Feedster & Technorati
    • Evaluate.  Is non-reaction an option? What type of opportunity is this? e.g. volacno chance to target adventurous singles
    • Act: Source of problem is often source of opportunity

Kevin Gibbons

Social media for online reputation management

  • Google SERPs and Twitter stream is your new home page
  • 70% trust online consumer opinions from people the don’t know.  41% trust search advertising
  • Build brands around reputation, not products – Branson.  Once reputation is tarnished can be uphill struggle, particularly in online world.
  • By being engaged now, can deal with negativity when it goes wrong
  • I hate ryan air site must get 612,000 negative clickthroughs per month (based on search volume for ryan air and 3% click through rate)
  • United Airlines Break Guitar example – 8 million views ($180 million lost revenue estimate)
  • Tip 1 – claim social media brand profiules.  Crunchbase, slideshare, Knowem and scribd lesser known ones suggested
  • Tip 2 – Develop clear social media strategy
  • Tip 3 – Use social media to open opportunities – opens up guest blogging opportuities, radio show requests etc
  • Tip 4 – New look Google could increase views of fresh data
  • Tip 5 – Look out for Google suggested search for how your brand is being percieved e,g, “Google are”
  • Amazon Mechanical Turk – trick Google into thinking that there are lots of positive searches.  Not expecting it to last.
  • Question: Are Ryanair proving that having a bad reputation can be good for bottom line?

Arthur Coleman

Social media and SEO for online reputation managemt

  • SM can be used in unique ways due to flux of realtime search algos – can exploit this in the short term.  If you don’t combine it with long term SEO techniques you will fall down list.
  • Case study: large telecom.  Negative article from ex employees, also legal battle appearing in results.  Pushed page down to bottom of first page by: Set up site links.  Put in a sub directory.  Updated wikipedia page.  Did press releases to get into news.  Went to affiliates, gave them a page to put on their site.  Went to job sites and gave them same content.  Did a linked in profile.
  • Sphinn – use to gain rankings on vanity search
  • Theory: “AuthorRank” – by participating in community, Google think you have authority which raises not only your own site but also your presence on other networks.
  • “Social Media Channel Amplifier” – could use a keyword rich username to gain this author rank.  Here’s How:
    • choose username inc brand and keywords
    • buy name on knowen – set up accounts
    • set-up
    • link all accounts
    • post content

Mikkel deMib Svendsen

Six steps to search reputation management.  The below is the outline to the creation of a superb metric for monitoring progress in improving your SERPS reputation

  • everyone has right to speak, but not necessarily be heard 😉
  1. Identify brand and personnel keyphrase
  2. Assess how you are doing in major SERPS
  3. Analyse negative comments
  4. Develop right strategies for your goals
    1. damage control
    2. tail gating
  5. Execute – warning high risk of backfire
  6. Monitor impact

Suggest analysing top 20 or 30.  Identify negative ones and summarise points.  Score each page to ultimately assess how bad each keyword is, scaled for rank (no.1 negative listing gets high weight, no20 less).   Can use this matrix to monitor performance over time.  Execs love it!  Labour intensive.   Google Alerts allows you to monitor and decide when you need to do a rescore.

Analysing negative sites – determine how optimised to decide if its possible to push down.  Can you buy the site and close it down?

Can you remove critical sites from Google?  Yes! Not reliable but likely to hurt you more (not a good long term solution)

Can you hack it?  Yes you can.  But don’t – it will haunt you.  Hack robots.txt

Pushing down bad sites:

  • Use own site
  • Use partners
  • Use 3rd parties (business listings etc)

Buying is often easy and cheap solution – even those who are vitrilolic.  Do it through third party

Make a different page on a site rank better – are there more positive pages on the site about you?  Link build to it.

Manipulate the source: Can you inject new pages on the site e.g. on a community site.  If it’s a major newspaper “create a bait the journalist can’t resit”.  Consider commenting to get your side over – in particular supply new evidence


  • Risks of Duplicate content of Author rank manipulation? AC: Seeing it change on a daily basis.  Different content on different sites.
  • Iceland legislation coming in.  Is Iceland going to become hell whole of reputation management? KH: Don’t know. If there are changes, there will be opportunities. Take advantage of today
  • How do you apply “push down” to competitors? KH: Look at your company assets on page 3/4 or beyond and come up a strategy to push up.
  • Has anybody managed to reverse any hardcore Google Suggest spam? MM: Very difficult,needs a lot of searches to make it happen but this is not always the case so is possible in some instances. KG: Saw it “work” with a travel company that launched in new countries [so could encourage user searches with competitions etc]. KH: One idiot being negative is not always something to worry about as users are intelligent. MM: Google suggest is very personalised
  • Buying websites could encourage an SEO?  MM: If an SEO steps up, then MM will start stepping up!
  • Recommended Tools? KH: Yahoo Analytics has much deeper detail about individuals coming onto site.  Majestic SEO – great to see anchor text. Vocus. KG: Google realtime search. MM: Reputation management in search still not being appreciated by companies (bit like conversions are ignored). Example of company spending 100 mill on new tagline, ended up having to pay 400,000 to buy a parody site.  Should have been protected before hand

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