Negative mentions in search results can be damaging for a brand, potentially discouraging customers from using your company. If someone searches for your brand name in Google, what will the results look like?

For brands such as Sky and Argos, the Google search results look good, with no negative results at all in the first page, even though each company must have had a few unhappy customers at some point.

However, other retailers aren't doing so well...

Take for instance; five of the results on the first page of Google results for the company are negative, mainly from blogs and review sites.

There is an excellent article on SEOmoz with some tips to help brands manage their search results. 

The first tip is to target pages on your own site and optimise them. Tesco provides a good example of this, by managing to take control of nine of the results on the first page of a Google search on its brand name.

This may be possible for large companies like Tesco and Sky, but what if you can't dominate the search results in this way?

Another tip is to create search results from other websites. The article mentions Squidoo and Hubpages for this, but here are some other suggestions:

  • LinkedIn

    The business networking website recently added company profile pages, and this is now an excellent way of ranking for your brand name.
  • YouTubeAnother excellent method of promoting your brand in Google, especially as the introduction of universal search, will give video search results more prominence.
  • Facebook / MySpaceAs with LinkedIn, companies can create profile pages on these sites which are indexed by the search engines.
  • WikipediaIn the case of Tesco, the only search result that wasn't owned by the supermarket giant came from the online encyclopedia. Not every brand will be able to get on Wikipedia, but it's certainly worth trying.
  • Twitter

    The micro blogging site is also worth getting involved in, especially for publishers. These pages can also rank well: E-consultancy's Twitter page is the tenth Google result for our brand name.

Related research:
Online PR Briefing - September 2007

Related stories:
Why online PR and SEO go hand in hand
Is HMRC's online PR fit for purpose? 

Graham Charlton

Published 19 May, 2008 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is editor in chief at SaleCycle, and former editor at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin.

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Comments (6)

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Affiliate Marketing Guide

Great Post!
Again this applies to webmasters who already have a good understanding of search engine optimization and have manged to get their sites ranking high with the search engines

Another method of owning search results for your brand name is double listings. Once you have a page one ranking for one page of your website, you can optimize another page with relevant content for the same keyword. It's something I have found works very well.

Not only does it mean you 'own' the search results, but it also increases the traffic to the website significantly

over 10 years ago



Celebrities need to think about this as well as big brands.

I wrote specifically about Tom Cruise's name in search results.

over 10 years ago

Richard Hartigan

Richard Hartigan, Industry Manager at Google

For major brands, sitelinks have reduced this problem as a prominent listinga appears for a branded search, with up to 12 links below. As sitelinks works slightly outsider the traditional algorithm, this is then followed by another listing below.

Another method is to allow affiliate sites to use branded terms in their titles, description and copy in order to optimise their sites for the branded terms and display beneath the brand in the search results. This will lead to ownership of the page at a greater cost than some of the methods listed above but it is perhaps more controllable.

Obviously this has to be done with tight control over the affiliates use of intellectual property but this should be fairly rudimentary in any modern affiliate agreement. I have seen one brand where a disgruntled affiliate has turned against them and uses their search result to attack the organisation.

I have seen presentations where search marketing professionals encourage affiliates to use branded terms to get ownership of the search engine results page from both a paid and a natural perspective. This is not something I am necessarily au fait with. I believe brands should invest in brand building activity and creative that ensures that their site will be clicked on in the search engine results. To evaluate why a user that searched on your brand term did not click on your advert is a useful piece of analysis for any organisation wanting to generate and maintain a stable online brand.

about 10 years ago


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