Optimize important pages on your site with your company’s name.
Without forcing it, try to optimize several pages on your site with your most important search phrase: your company name, Beal advises. Mention your company name on pages that describe your products or services, for instance. Make sure you have a page optimized with the name of your CEO or other top officials as well.
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Use anchor text to boost positive content about you on other sites.
Anchor text is a hyperlinked word or phrase such as SEO Tips that, when clicked, whisks you away to another Web page. The search engines use anchor text as a signal to determine the relevancy of the page being linked to.
Strip personalization out of your search results.
When you perform a Google query, Google is serving you results based on what it knows about you: your location, the content that people in your social network have shared, and so on. In other words, what you see is unlikely to be exactly identical to what a potential customer might see when Googling you. To minimize the effects of personalization, go to Google.com and perform your keyword search. On the first page of results, go to the URL in your browser’s address bar.
Audit your search results every month.
Google your company name once a month, Beal suggests. And even though the vast majority of search engine users don’t look past the first page of results, that’s exactly what you should do. Keep an eye out for any content on the second or third page of results that might be negative content, because that content might work its way to the first page. Consider keeping a record of what you find in a spreadsheet, with columns for the URL, page title, status of the page (do you own it, control it, or have some influence over it?), and the sentiment (is it positive, negative or neutral?)
Find something negative? Contact the creator of the content.
If you do spot something negative on the horizon, or on the first page, contact the blogger, reviewer or other person who created the negative content. See what you can do to switch their sentiment to positive. If it’s a no go, leave a comment (if that’s an option) explaining your side of the story and the efforts you’ve taken to satisfy the customer. Always be humble and respectful; sounding arrogant or defensive will only underscore the negative content you’re trying to counteract.
Put your other domains to use.
When you bought your company’s .com domain name, did you also buy its .info, .net, and .org domain names? If so, consider creating new sites to use those domains (rather than just redirecting them to your .com landing page). This will help you populate the top search results with more content you control, because search engines place a lot of weight on words in URLs.
Don’t forget subdomains.
“Subdomains rock,” says Beal. “The search engines treat them as separate entities that share the authority of your top-level domain.” So if you have a page about a particular product, you might use a URL that follows this formula: productname.yourcompanyname.com.
Blogging platforms are useful, too.
If you need to create new content in a hurry to potentially push down negative content, set up a blog on WordPress.com, Blogger.com, or other easy-to-use blog platforms. Make sure to put your company name in the URL, so that it reads yourcompanyname.wordpress.com or yourcompanyname.blogspot.com, for WordPress.com and Blogger, respectively.
Optimize your social media channels.
Your Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube profiles as well as your Facebook Page should be optimized with your company name. If your Facebook Page has at least 25 fans, you can change its URL to a custom URL that contains your company name, Beal says.
Pay attention to the Wikipedia page about your company.
Wikipedia entries about companies almost always rank highly. To see how it works in action, just Google the names of a few well-known companies. In most cases, you won’t have to look further than the first five search results to find its Wikipedia entry.