There has been plenty of chatter in the last couple of days about ways that people could be negatively affecting your search engine marketing strategy. People are right to be worried, you only have to look at your search referrals to see how many people are typing in your brand name into the search engines. If thereâ€™s some mud slinging going on in your SERPs; plenty of people could end up reading it.
The Google results arenâ€™t the only battle ground for disgruntled customers or unethical competitors. Everyman and his dog are getting involved in social media, and itâ€™s here where the next round of fights will take place. So itâ€™s worth thinking about where and how your rivals could be doing damage to your business.
Bad Product Reviews â€“ Sites like Amazon have done a great job integrating user generated reviews into their sites and even more companies are likely to follow suit soon. Keep your eyes open for over the top negative reviews, chances are they will have used a fake name or email address, but itâ€™s worth taking the time to respond; especially if the criticism is unfounded.
Get you banned from Digg â€“ it doesnâ€™t take much in the way of spam to get a website banned from the popular social media sites. Thereâ€™s a chance they might continually submit your site in the hope youâ€™ll get banned and never be able to harness their traffic. If you have fallen pray to this tactic thereâ€™s a chance you might be able to ask for re-inclusion, but I wouldnâ€™t hold your breath.
Post Negative Videos â€“ its usually disgruntled customers who post negative video like this clip of a Kryptonite bike lock being picked with a Biro, but if the production value is too high, do a bit of background research. Has the user uploaded any other clips to the site? How many videos have they viewed? Is the video promoting a website? Thereâ€™ll often be some signs if itâ€™s the work of a rival.
Pose as an Employee â€“ one of the best social media marketing tactics a company can participate in getting involved in forums. It can work wonders for customer service and can make even the largest company seem more approachable. But similar tactics can easily be used against your company. They might just set up a user with your company name or pretend to be a specific employee and act like an idiot. If youâ€™re already involved in the forums youâ€™ll find out quickly but you could very easily be oblivious to the PR disaster taking place.
Name Squat â€“ if you set up a company profile on Myspace or other social media sites thereâ€™s a likelihood that page will rank well for branded terms. You donâ€™t want other companies in control of these pages. Make sure you register the company name on every site. If you arenâ€™t planning on using the service to market yourself just leave a blank profile with a link to your main site, itâ€™s much better than someone getting up to dirty tricks.
The chances are if youâ€™re already involved in to social media sphere around your business youâ€™ll avoid just these kinds of problems, however those less savvy are prone to the unprofessional attacks. Be aware of the risks and your business will be much safer.