Julia Angwin wrote a great article in today’s edition of the Wall Street Journal, about SERPs (search engine position ranking) and controlling your reputation online. She writes that among the top spots result in the search results for her name has been an (in her opinion dissatisfying) article she wrote four years ago.
Since he was about to publish her new book and wanted to make this unflatering article disappear from the the Top 10 of her SERPs, she explored various options how to achieve that. Her insights mentioned in this piece are part of ‘SEO 101’ and illustrate the Do’s and Don’ts when trying to control your online reputation (since Google is the dominant search engine in the U.S. and most other markets, she’s focusses her story on the ‘Big G’).
These are my favorite six takeaways from Angwin’s article:
1. It’s extremely difficult to remove items from Google search results. Persue other others. Only if you can prove that another site has stolen your social security, credit card or bank-account numbers and posted them online, the search company might consider to remove the offending data. In that case it’s still recommended that you contact the owner of that site directly.
2. You should take control of your own web presence. Create original content that is compelling to readers and can be easily accessed by search engines – and you’re in the right direction to be in charge of your reputation online.
3. Develop a linking strategy. Get incoming links from relevant and authoritative and websites. (In Angwin’s case, this certainly paid off.)
4. Make search result with the annoying content disappear with your social media efforts. Increase your online visibility by creating accounts at social bookmarking sites (Del.icio.us, Furl, Stumble Upon), social networking profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace and micro-blogging sites like Twitter. Talk about your expertise, share insights, thoughts, web finds and other links with others.
5. It’s the crawlability, stupid! A beautiful website with tons of stunning pictures doesn’t do the trick. You need high-quality content which can be easily be crawled by the major search engines.
6. Don’t forget the meta information on your site. You know, texts like the “title tag,” which is displayed at the top of the Web browser and describes the page to a search engine. Often forgotten by noobs, but crucial.
7. You can work to boost your results, and then lose control in an instant. Even if you think that you did a great SEO job, your work is never done. Among many reasons: the search engine constantly update their algorithms, other web content than texts is becoming more and more important (videos, music, podcasts, etc.), your competitors (who are trying to grab the top spots of the same keyword like you) never sleep.
Do you have other suggestions on how to get control of your own SERPs? Leave a comment!
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