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These days having a strong presence for your company name is imperative. There is a cottage industry that has evolved out of assisting companies in removing "unwanted" content about their company from the top 100 results. Part of that process involves establishing a strong presence for "company name" searches.
[edited by: tedster at 3:21 am (utc) on July 4, 2007]
Further you can expect problems from the search engines and possibly the folks you pushed out.
See, it can snowball.
Whitenight, quite honestly you are not comparing apples to apples. You are comparing the keywords "buy widgets" to "company name" and a forum to a brick a mortar business. You're comparing seo to reputation management. And you're comparing opinions (your 3 examples on your forum) to false information stated as facts with false proof. You may not intend to be but you are coming off with a "holier than thou" attitude about a topic that you have not explored from angles other than your own perception. You obviously have your opinion on the matter and I would not dream of trying to change your mind.
A good example of reputation management is the case of the fast food restaurant that was accused of having a human finger in their food. The way they handled the situation was reputation management. They didn't ignore the situation while the media had a field day. They didn't make a joke out of it and laugh it away. They didn't file a lawsuit the minute the story hit the news. And they didn't worry about what their competition was thinking of them. What they did do was address the situation, determine the facts and exposed the truth.
Since this topic is in an area that I have some experience in I decided to share some of what I have learned. In my second post I gave some solid information on how to deal with a reputation management issue online. I hope it helps those who are interested. Honestly though this topic has too much of a "my opinion is right and youíre going to listen to me" direction going, so Iím going to, respectfully, step out of it.
Now as for everyone here doing "SEO" you just might find out that isn't always the case.
Some folks just roll code, some just write content, some just do other things.
I write code and sometimes hunt down content boosters.
Does that office have a reputation management problem? I would say yes. And based on my experience with record management there, I think it is deserved. I'll still go because I respect the doctor and have established a professional relationship. But a prospective patient might pick another M.D.
The website I refer to has some procedures in place to reduce the opportunities for malicious posts, though nothing is foolproof. That is one area where reputation management can be a good thing.
Then there are websites where students evaluate their professors. Some students are fair, but I have seen quite a few immature kids that post lies as payback for a low grade (that maybe they deserved) or just because they don't like the instructor and they haven't outgrown that type of antics. Easy when you have anonymity.
In the end, it's All about Trust.