The Role of SEO in Crisis Management

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    What do you want people to find on the first page of results when they search for your organization’s name on Google (which has 80+ percent of search traffic) or the other major search engines? You would probably prefer that they don’t find:

    • a vicious blog started by disgruntled former employees; or, 75 percent of the links leading to websites or blogs critical of your business; or,
    • websites and blogs that you don’t control, with your own sites buried on later Google pages; or,
    • your name prominently and negatively mentioned on legitimate (e.g., Better Business Bureau) or quasi-legitimate (RipOff Report) consumer-focused websites; or,
    • your name connected with an investigation by any regulatory or enforcement agency.

    These are all situations that have been brought to Bernstein Crisis Management by clients in the past couple of years, with the crisis facing a growing number of organizations “simply” being the damage they are incurring online. The innocent are portrayed as guilty. Minor offenses are portrayed as major offenses. Criticism that sounds legitimate is purely or mostly fictional.

    There are quite a few crisis management tactics that can mitigate the situations described above. Increasingly, one of the most essential tactics has been a form of search engine optimization (SEO) focused specifically on preserving and restoring reputation, when the crisis is already in progress, followed by creation of an “SEO shield” to preserve reputation going forward.

    Just as relatively few public relations practitioners have extensive experience with crisis management, relatively few SEO consultants understand how to engage in SEO reputation management. Chesa Keane is one of them, and I’m pleased to bring you Chesa’s “10 Tips for SEO Reputation Management”…in my next blog post!

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    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management
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