Search engines like Google use dozens of different signals to understand how to rank results when you search. The exact words typed into Google (or other search engines) is the “keyword expression,” and search engine results are ordered based the links that are most likely to address what you are searching for, using a complex algorithm to determine how to rank web pages containing the keyword expression you selected. The process of managing your search engine results is called online reputation management. Here’s a fuller explanation.
How Does Google Determine Search Engine Rank?
Some of the most important factors in search engine ranking are:
- the authority (credibility) of the web page that contains the keywords,
- the number of other web pages that link to it,
- the traffic the website gets,
- and what people do when they land on the page.
When site visitors spend lots of time on a website page that originated in search, and navigate to other pages in the same site from it, Google concludes that the page satisfied visitors and promote it higher in results. If they spend just a short time on the page and use the back button (called a bounce in Googlespeak), the search engine assumes the page didn’t address their need. As a result, the page is lowered in rank. Dozens of other factors are at play as well in the algorithm.
Why Bad News Usually is at the Top of Google Search Results
Bad news tends to rise to the top in Google and understanding why this happens is the first step in learning how to fix it.
Bad news stories tend to be in large, well-trafficked publications which have significant investments in Search Engine Optimization, to improve their own search visibility. Human nature, moreover, dictates that people like reading gossip and salacious information, so the time visitors spend on the page is higher. Plus this kind of reporting tends to be syndicated, so many publications with often have variations of the same story. To a search engine, bad news looks like big news. And big news rises to the top of search results.
When we are contacted by clients, they have often attempted to use technology based “online reputation management” firms to fix their results with very limited success. Now, to be sure, technology based online reputation management can and does help with some kinds of problems. But when we are dealing with large numbers of negative stories in large publications, technology alone will not repair your reputation. You need a customized approach.
When you Need Help with a Client’s Online Reputation
Digital Strategies assists attorneys whose clients are facing serious risk to their reputation, whether in search engine results or media coverage. Typical engagements originate in:
- Crisis Management in Social and Traditional Media
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) driven by technology and Public Relations
- Online Reputation Management, in search engine results and reviews
- Media Relations
- Litigation Communications, both plaintiff and defendant
- Boycott Defense and Brand Safety Initiatives
- Shareholder and Short Seller Activism Defense
- Public Affairs, Entitlements, and Voter Initiatives
We have moved to Las Vegas in 2021, after twenty years in Los Angeles. For a confidential conversation, please call Brian Glicklich at 818-867-9096.