Reputation Management – Case Study, Part I

Since my experiment in reputation management is actually getting much more interesting than I planned I thought I should go back and do a proper writeup.

The goal of my reputation management experiment was to try and come as close to the ‘perfect serp’ for a particular company’s listing. My plan was to use external websites that allow free content, press releases, and possibly some internal subdomains if necessary (see Tips for Controlling the Top 10 for more details).

The Background: The domain was registered in 2003, went live with content somewhere in the second half of 2003. It’s a PR4 with some backlinks, nothing too spammy, but nothing too powerful or authoritative either. While there were some minor updates over the years no major content changes or additions happened during that time. Some pages are supplemental and the site is definitely “lightly crawled”

On Site Cleanup: The design was OK although the template was table based (ugh) and needed some TLC. The directory structure was a little disorganized, there were about 30 pages that were “.html”. I moved the site into wordpress and set it up to work in static CMS configuration (A tutorial on this is in the works). I did this to make the site easier to maintain and add content to for it’s owner, plus it would now have “news” or “blog” functionality. The fix-up was completed on or about May 1st with 301 redirects set up for the old HTML pages. This site isn’t high risk so was perfect candidate for Google sitemaps which was implemented through the Google Sitemaps Plugin for WordPress.

Day 0:
Google: Position 1 (no indents)
Yahoo: Position 1 (no Indents)
MSN: Position 1 (no indents)

OffSite Reputation Management:At this point I created information on the following offsite services (wordpress, blogger, squidoo, newsvine, goglebase, MSN spaces and Myspace). Links from the main site went to each of the supplementary websites, and I interlinked 2 of the sites to all the other sites. I visited each of them in internet explorer with the toolbar enabled (don’t know that that still does anything, but since it also let’s me check to makes sure site isn’t broken no harm done). Searched directly for the URL’s in each of the three engines, and clicked on the results. I also submitted each of the URL’s to MSN with the URL submission tool.

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