30. July 2012 13:05
Offline, Ulster Bank’s reputation has suffered severely over their handling of a technical glitch that left thousands of customers without access to their accounts.
This is an incident that people will associate with the brand for years to come, and one that is likely to affect their trust of the brand.
But what damage has been done online?
Type in ‘Ulster Bank’ to a search engine and after the direct links to the bank’s website, searchers are hit with link after link of negative headlines.
“Chaos not over yet as Ulster Bank struggles with backlog”
“Ulster Bank woes continue on busiest banking day of the year”
“Ulster Bank customers still without account access”
The above headlines are the result of a Google algorithm update late last year that filters real time news stories and video content into your search engine results pages (SERPs).
The titles of these pages all include the keyword ‘Ulster Bank’ which will contribute significantly to the brand’s search engine optimisation (SEO) and putting paid to the old saying that ‘all publicity is good publicity’.
These articles and negative headlines are an indelible footprint of the brand on the world wide web. Not ideal.
So what can brands in crisis do to minimise the damage to their reputation online?
While there is no way to have this negative content removed from the web, unless you own it, reverse SEO can be used to push negative articles further down the search engine results pages.
A Cornell University study shows that approximately 10% of users will view page 2 of results pages on Google and only 2% page 3, making the later pages the perfect place to ‘hide’ negative stories of a brand in crisis.
But how do you get it there?
1. Survey the damage
How many negative stories is Google showing? Has the negativity spread to social media?
Why would you miss an opportunity to set the record straight for all to see? Respond positively and let the customer know what you are doing to fix the problem. Aim to change their opinion of the brand!
Start a blog on your business website. After all, this is where customers will expect to see the information they need. Frequent blogging will increase your own website’s search ranking, moving it ahead of the negative results and you are in complete control.
4. Change it up
Think about creating a few videos, uploading to YouTube and embedding them onto your website. Video content will help your own SEO. And the higher you rank, the lower the negative content appears.
Whilst the above SEO tips can give your positive content an extra boost up the search engine result ranks and nudge the negative content further down, it should not be regarded as a quick fix. In order to keep the positive stories high up on SERPs and maintain your brand’s presence on targeted keywords, a long term SEO strategy should be adopted.
The Web Bureau is a team of dedicated digital media specialists. Our SEO experts can advise on improving traffic to both new and existing websites.
We can be contacted on:
Tel: 028 9073 1190, Email: email@example.com, Facebook (www.facebook.com/thewebbureau) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/thewebbureau)
26. July 2012 15:41
At The Web Bureau, we’ve decided to challenge our talented design team to come up with a creative desktop wallpaper calendar each month to represent a particular concept or theme.
This month, our Senior Designer Glenn Drain has stepped up to the challenge.
Olympic Summer Desktop Wallpaper
Glenn has called his wallpaper “Olympic Summer”.
You won’t have to think too hard about where he got the inspiration for his design from, given the daily news updates on the Olympics which begin in London this week and continue into the month of August.
Summarising the creative thinking behind his Olympic design, Glenn said:
“With the rare event of the Olympics being held in Great Britain, I thought I’d mark the occasion by creating a wallpaper celebrating the achievements of British Olympians. Using the London 2012 typeface, I have arranged the lettering to create the shape of the 5 Olympic rings. They contain names of a selection of British Gold medallists and Olympic record holders through the ages”
Glenn’s design has been submitted to Smashing Magazine which runs a monthly wallpaper design competition. Smashing Magazine was founded in September 2006 to deliver useful and innovative information for web designers and web developers.
What do you think of Glenn’s Olympic Summer Design?....
Add your comments to our blog, we’d love to hear from you.
Make Olympic Summer Your Wallpaper for August
If you’d like to download Olympic Summer as your desktop wallpaper calendar for the month of August, follow these simple instructions:
1. Click on the link to download the wallpaper - http://www.thewebbureau.com/wallpapers/august-2012-1440x900-twb.jpg
2. Right click on the image and “Set as Background Image”
3. Alternatively save it to your “Pictures” folder on your computer. From here you can right click on the image and “Set as Desktop Background”
24. July 2012 09:16
The Google Penguin algorithm update has left a trail of confusion, controversy and conflict in its wake ever since it was announced in April of this year. Intended to target webmasters employing black hat SEO tactics, Penguin aims to, “decrease rankings for sites that we believe are violating Google’s existing quality guidelines,” explains Google’s Matt Cutts.
Is the Penguin Good or Bad News For Online Businesses?
While eliminating spam can be seen as an honourable goal, some critics have questioned the motives behind the update. Some speculate that Penguin (named after Batman's adversary) is in fact a tactic to encourage site owners to use Google Adwords as a means of optimising their site. On the other hand, Penguin’s exponents claim that it is merely a step in a more ethical direction, allowing website owners who stick to the rules to reap the benefits of their hard work while punishing those using sneaky tactics like cloaking, keyword stuffing and duplicate content. Not only this, the update also enables Google to ensure that sites are adhering to its quality guidelines.
Quality Content Equals Quality Links
The Penguin update was introduced to target link abuse. Google warns webmasters not to try to increase PageRank by linking to spam sites as this can have a detrimental effect on your rank. In fact, search rank is more pertinent to your site than PageRank. Consequently social media and blogs are becoming more important for back linking. As Social Media Marketing continues to converge with Search Engine Marketing, it is believed that a Facebook share can be more influential than many other links due to the user engagement which represents a vote of confidence for the brand. Securing links from relevant sites should form a key part of your website's marketing strategy. Acquiring these links is all a matter of creating content that will pique peoples’ interest. Google relies on the satisfaction of the user, so it isn't surprising that they want to provide users with only the most relevant results for their searches. Content is therefore the key to survival.
What does this mean for businesses going forward?
Some site owners have experienced a dramatic drop in their search rankings for keywords in the aftermath of the update and are in the process of re-assessing their strategy. As Search Engine Marketing practitioners, we would advocate that a good search engine strategy should include a combination of both Pay Per Click Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation. PPC offers an instant and visible boost to traffic and online sales and creates brand awareness, whereas SEO is a long-term strategy to boost a website's rankings in the organic listings over time. Although SEO is more beneficial in the long-run, it cannot offer the instant boost that PPC can offer, which is of particular importance to new websites, therefore investing in PPC alongside SEO in the interim is recommended.
Ultimately, businesses will have to adher stringently to best practice guidelines from Google when optimising their websites and the external content published about the business online. It is necessary to invest in creating strong content to promote your website, which is unique, relevant and of value to the user. Avoid excessive use of keywords and duplicating content if you want to increase your rank in a post-Penguin world. Securing links from relevant sites should form a key part of your website's content marketing strategy. Acquiring these links is all a matter of creating content that will pique peoples’ interest. Google relies on the satisfaction of the user, so it isn't surprising that they want to provide users with only the most relevant results for their searches. Quality content always has been and continues to be key to survival.
Outsourcing your search engine marketing and content marketing responsibility to a specialist agency may be worthwhile if you don't have in-house specialists and struggle to keep up to date with the frequent algorithm updates. In addition to knowledge gaps, many businesses cannot dedicate the time and effort required to deliver their search engine marketing strategy in-house. If your site has been affected by Penguin we can help.
At The Web Bureau we have a team of dedicated SEO professionals who can advise you on everything from identifying relevant keywords for your site and including them naturally within the content, to generating relevant and quality links that will boost your search rank and increase web traffic to your site. Get in touch with us today to find out more.
Remember: Good SEO will never be considered spam!