Online reputation management has long been based around the search results returned by the major search engines for keywords and phrases. What shows up when you search for your organization/brand or for words that you would normally like users to find your site with?
What shows up is a measure of not only your reputation, but of the sites that show up – the best way to ensure you were at the top of the search results was to get a whole whack of high-quality incoming links with relevant anchor text. Depending on how many times you were linked to, who was linking to you and what the anchor text was, you would succeed or fail. This meant you could target your online editorial outreach to those influencers who had authority in your community. This hierarchy made things easier for organizations and brands to manage their reputation.
Because real time search displays your results in, well, real time, the most influential person is the person who either just posted or is just about to post. Once a post moves from the top ten search results, it is no longer influential. Depending on your keywords, real time search is dynamic, fluid and fast-paced. Blink and you’ll miss it, until it’s repeated.
While the traditional search results can, to a certain extent be gamed through a combination of technology, key word density and incoming links, real time search is, spam apart, un-gameable.
As far as I can tell from thinking about it for a little while, there are a few ways to guarantee a favourable search results page in real time search:
- Continuously monitoring the “conversation” and responding to critical posts in order to dilute negative coverage
- Create amazingly awesome products and services that no one will ever, ever criticise or say negative things about.
- Good luck on #2
What else? How would you approach real time search and reputation management?