Most of us are aware the importance of SEO for companies trying to manage online discussions during a crisis.
However, marketers often take the wrong approach by waiting until after the crisis to manage their SEO and online reputation. Take British Petroleum (BP), for example. By the time they implemented a strategy, they had lost control of the conversations and the image of their brand online.
Steve Marino, the man who first took on the task of running BP’s social-media efforts during the BP oil spill says the key is for companies to be prepared and have a strong SEO effort already in progress.
Marino says with a good strategy in place, you’ll already have good results coming up when a crisis hits. Although BP’s efforts played out fairly well, they could have been better had they been prepared with keywords like “oil-spill.”
How do you put an online reputation campaign in place before a crisis?
Marketers need to anticipate potential crises and have some negative keywords in mind to buy against. With negative keywords in place, you can insure positive results come up when those keywords are searched. If you already have an SEO plan in place, you can continue to publish positive content.
Just like there is no magic recipe for instantly obtaining a website the No. 1 position in Google, there is no recipe for instantly getting rid of negative search results.
Despite what some SEO firms may claim, they have no way of “guaranteeing” your negative results will be diminished in a mere month.
The best thing to do it have a strong SEO strategy already in place, one that constantly generates positive content on a few keywords. One of the most important factors is that you are consistent with this strategy, or it will do little good when a crisis occurs.
Although having an SEO strategy in place is important, marketers also need to be actively generating content in order to be successful. For the content to be beneficial, it should cover three to four specific areas of your company. That way, if a crisis occurs, you can disperse the content and drive people to the messages that will calm their concerns. Then you can launch an SEO campaign around the key terms of the crisis.
SEO needs to be at the top of the list for marketers when assessing a crisis situation, however, it’s important not to be overly aggressive. Marketers must appropriately calibrate their SEO response, so that the SEO campaign doesn’t become the story.