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Countering Negative Publicity Through Seo
Posted 03 June 2008 - 08:15 AM
I've been a long-time reader of High Rankings and have spent quite some time searching through these forums searching for some SEO guidance.
I work for a large company and a search on Google for our company name brings back our website as number 1 (which is good!) along with some of our third-party-but-related sites (these are the online media centre for our company, our separate jobs website and websites for our sister and parent companies). However, on the first page (positions 4 and 6) of the Google SERPS are some links to news stories that put our company into some negative light. I've been tasked with increasing our SEO presence to push these negative news stories down the page. The stories are from some highly ranked sites - the Times Online and BBC.
The first thing we're going to try of course is to counter the negative publicity with some positive publicity - that's in the capable hands of our PR department.
So, back to the SEO stuff. We have several microsites - sub-sites of ours to concentrate on our non-core product. Examples include microsites to support our sponsorship of various sporting teams and events, a site for our education programme in schools and sites promoting our partnership with various organisations to sell a dual-branded product. These sites are managed in the same content management system as our main website and sit under the same domain. For example www.mysite.com/micrositename. Ideally, I'd like to optimise and promote these microsites more than what we currently do in order to try and push them above the news stories on Google. My question is this, as these are part of the same domain as the main website, will they be classed as pages within that site? I can buy domain names for these sites and have them sit on their own domain but they will be on the same server, possibly with the same IP address as the main website. I understand that we could lose some of the ranking factors (I hesitate to call it pagerank!) due to moving the microsite outside of the main domain as our main domain is quite authoritive so I would have to consider this. Basically, we have a range of websites that could saturate the front page of Google if we could get Google to view them as separate sites. I certainly don't want to break any rules or even bend the rules that much and I personally prefer to optimise for searchers, rather than search engines, it's just more natural that way.
Hope you can help!
Posted 03 June 2008 - 11:58 AM
These pages don't have any authority simply by virtue of being on the same domain as the main site pages -- they have whatever authority they've got because of their links -- from main-domain pages and potentially from other websites.
So if you're determined to move the pages: make sure you update your internal links, contact any webmasters of outside sites linking to these pages and ask them to update their links, and put 301 redirects in place to catch any links that get overlooked. This should be sufficient to pass over any link authority the old-URL pages had, possibly after a temporary "readjustment" period as the SEs index the pages under the new URLs and sort out the effect of the changes.
But I wouldn't count on it doing the trick in terms of displacing The Times and the BBC. In order to get your microsite pages up to the first page of results against sites of that firepower, you're probably then going to have to engage in some massive link building for the microsites. Count on it being a long, hard slog. As in potentially several years before you see success. (I'm serious.)
I dunno. I think if it were me, I might be looking at other techniques and tactics instead. There are other tactics you can try that might get you a better return faster -- although against "super-sites" like you mention, it's going to take a lot of time and effort no matter what, and (frankly) even with your best efforts it still might not work. Still... no guts, no glory, right?
I suggest you try a search for "online reputation management" and/or look up Andy Beal's Marketing Pilgrim blog to see what other options you've got available before you commit to moving these microsites to their own domains.
Posted 04 June 2008 - 11:13 AM
I'll certainly look at Andy Beal's blog too.
Posted 05 June 2008 - 10:55 AM
Did that make sense? Does that make sense?
Posted 09 June 2008 - 04:59 AM
We do have a portfolio of genuinely separate websites for our various businesses which are all situated under our domain name. It would make sense from a marketing perspective to host some of these under a separate domain anyway but I'm hoping it will (eventually!) help saturate the first page of the Google search results with our sites.
The number one technique that I'm suggesting however is to get some good, positive publicity out there! Rather than compete against the BBC and Times Online, a better tactic would be to use their powerful positions to talk about us in a good light. That should help to push the bad stories off the radar a bit. Hopefully!
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