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Public Relations on the Internet
How to best achieve positive seach engine results.
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 by Jonathan Hulet

The internet has changed PR forever, and one area that often gets ignored by professionals is the search engine. Search engines are powerful marketing tools for companies, they can literally exalt or kill a brand overnight.

Jonathan HuletGoogle alone gets over 2 trillion searches a year. Brands are heavily searched for on Google. Consumers use search engines to learn as much as possible about a brand before making a buying decision.

Negative press and reviews will often show up at the top of the search engines for brands. It’s now important that PR professionals fight this war for their company or their other PR efforts may not do much.

Getting Positive Reviews
Brands will often times have millions of happy customers and very few unhappy customers. The unhappy customers are more likely to voice their opinion, whereas the happy will move on with their lives. Don’t spam your happy customers, but figure out effective and creative ways to get your happy customers to publish their reviews. This will help create positive relations with those future customers that are researching your brand.

Searching for Negative Testimonials
According to one analysis, more than 27 percent of potential customers will look for reviews of an enterprise in the search engines before making an online purchase from the company. Moreover, a separate study showed that approximately 25 percent of patrons search for testimonials on at least one social media network.

The Importance of Dominating the First Two Pages of the Search Results
When a person types a phrase into Google's search box, each page will typically contain 10 organic results. An extensive study indicated that only 12 percent of customers who are researching a company will view the third page of the search results, and approximately five percent of potential buyers will reach the seventh page. The first page is the most important. Focus on getting positive results for your brand on the first page.
Boosting the Rankings of Pages With Positive Reviews
Many marketers establish backlinks for webpages that contain favorable testimonials about a business. These incoming links will substantially enhance the page's authority, and in order to improve the impact of the backlinks, an advertiser can add a targeted keyword phrase to each link's anchor text.
Decreasing the Number of Negative Testimonials
When customers have posted unfavorable testimonials on an independent site, some businesses opt to offer the reviewers discounts if they remove the posts that are potentially damaging. If the testimonial contains false claims, the advertiser can ask the owner of the site to remove the falsified review.
Answering Questions
When a buyer posts a negatively phrased question on the social media networks, the business should publicly respond within 12 hours. The company can also add a link to a webpage that contains the answer to the question. If the company answers to the negative response promptly and with care it can not only turn a negative customer into a happier one but will send trust signals to the potential customers reading the review. Oftentimes, people just want to know that the company will care about their experience.
The Impact of Extensive Content
The more often a marketer adds fresh content to the website, the more swiftly the site will reach the first page of a search engine. By posting especially long articles that focus on the business, an advertiser will cause the rankings of the website's pages to eclipse the positions of webpages with negative reviews, which typically have a length of less than 250 words.
Do Positive Things in the World
Really positive things that companies do will always make its way onto the search results. Westjet bought their customers their most desired Christmas present, surprised their customers and filmed it. Many big media outlets wrote articles about the brands actions which created all sorts of positive search results for the brand. Other brands started charities that add more positive results to the search engine. Newmans gives back a great majority of their profits to their foundation. Other companies like UPS, Starbucks and Nu Skin have their own charities which help them establish their positive nature.
Selecting Keywords
When creating a webpage that contains positive reviews of a business, the marketer may add words with a negative connotation to the page's content. As a result, the webpage will appear at the top of the results if a person searches for negative keywords and for the company's name.
Due to its design, Yelp's website typically receives a large amount of traffic from visitors who are searching for local businesses. The site's reviews commonly reach the top of the search results because the level of competition for local keyword phrases is much lower than the competition for groups of words that are utilized nationally.
A business can provide a discount for patrons who add positive reviews on the site. Subsequently, the advertiser may share each excellent review on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit in order to increase the testimonial's position in the search results.
If a person posts a review on Google+, the testimonial is automatically added to the company's page on Google Maps, and frequently, this type of profile is automatically catapulted to the top of the search results. Furthermore, approximately 35 percent of people will read reviews on Google+ or on Google Maps when they are utilizing their mobile devices to find a local company.
In Conclusion
Positive search results about a brand is a form of PR and it might become the most important as customers become more acquainted with search engines over time. Positive content online that ranks high for your brand will always be the solution, being creative to get the positive content is your job. 

Jonathan Hulet is a content marketer out of Atlanta, Georgia. He has
studied and worked in the content marketing profession since 2007.
He has experience working with some of the largest brands online.

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