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In this era of online communication, a person searching for a quick answer to a question will often simply “Google It.” Don’t know what that means? Google it or read this Urban Dictionary definition

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When times are good, searching for an answer online isn’t typically too scary for a brand, unless the company website doesn’t come up high in search. In bad times, however, risking inaccurate information or a negative consumer review or news story coming up ahead of a company’s official website or other communication channels could spell disaster.

In the field of reputation management, proactive action taken in the short-term enables a much more effective approach to any future problems.  A website that regularly attracts traffic, has strong readership and distributes valuable information and content is highly useful in reaching the community when an issue arises. Not only is the site viewed as a trusted, valuable resource, but if search engine optimization (SEO) strategies are taken from top company websites like to construct a valuable and informative website in the near term, the site will also be well positioned to remain a useful tool for reaching the community should an issue emerge in the future.

You wouldn’t build a plane while also attempting to fly it would you?

Relying on search engines to deliver qualified readers only when an issue or crisis has emerged is probably too late. Search engines need time, generally a few weeks, to evaluate an organization’s website and content before ranking the pages to appear high in search (e.g., on the first page of search results.) Strong websites that enlist a proactive, strategic approach to content and SEO will attract qualified readership in good times, and allow an organization to quickly reach readers with responses and messages if an issue arises.

Websites that proactively include frequent blog posts, individual product pages and customer service pages can also dominate the results pages on the search engines – making negative information more difficult to find.

Tune in next week for some tips on what it takes to build a strong website. In the meantime, we’d love to hear about your experience with SEO as it relates to reputation management.

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