SEOSearch engine optimization (SEO) not only drives free traffic to your website for lead generation, SEO is also the best way to inoculate your brand from a viral attack. Those who control the top spots in Google and the other search engines can keep negative information suppressed if their SEO foundation is strong.

Brand Management

Along with the SEO content you produce for the keywords associated with your niche and the needs of those who could become customers, you should also include content targeting your brand names and even the names of company principals.

As people hear of your company and its products, services, and key employees, they will seek more information in the search engines. Bad information, like negative reviews, can gain traction in the search engines if you have not placed content designed to rank high on the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Monitor Social Media

Keeping an eye on social media can alert you to situations before they get bigger. Follow up with customers unhappy enough to vent their frustration publicly, and do some damage control.

You will also get good information about keywords your SEO efforts should include that perhaps you had not considered. It just takes one crackpot calling John Doe a scam artist in a blog post to dominate the top of the SERP for “John Doe scam.” Worse, with a little promotion Google Suggest might actually start suggesting this keyword string to searchers.

Fighting Back

When you have a situation rising in the search engines, you need to step up your SEO efforts to focus on the crisis keywords. In the example above, you would want to create content targeting “John Doe scam” that ranks higher in the SERPs than the false accusation.

You might have John Doe write guest posts about the proliferation of scams on the Internet. Your goal is to publish enough content to push the bad news to the second or third page, so you may need to create content across several domains to achieve the desired effect.

When It Won’t Go Away

Of course, not all complaints come from crackpots, and the best SEO in the world will not make valid customer service issues disappear. Try to face up to problems and solve them as quickly and quietly as possible. If you can take the conversation offline, that is your best bet. Talk to the wronged party and try to appease them.

Manage Your Brand

Let’s face it, on the Internet every one of us is a brand. Protecting that brand can be key to everything you try to do, from forging partnerships to launching successful ventures. As the search engines become the primary resource of searchers, you must manage the content ranking in the SERPs for your brands or risk losing your good name.

Do you agree or disagree? Perhaps, I missed something? Either way, I would just love to hear what your thoughts are on this topic… just let me know your alive!