For as busy as I am, I waste WAY too much time on sports. I mean, what do they add? The good times are greatly outweighed by the bad. And if I do try to draw parallels from the sports world into internet marketing, often times the results are usually disastrous for all involved.
Having said all that, I just can’t help myself. The Mitchell Report has me all giddy. Besides, if the World Wide Leader says it’s important, it must be.
In August, I delivered a speech on search engine reputation management at the Online Marketing: Innovations that Work conference. I mostly picked on Michael Vick. Side note – my favorite slide – a screenshot from his Web site after the dogfighting stuff came out where under news it listed a quote from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (included here since his site is currently, ahem, “under construction”:
“Not going anywhere” is the polite way of saying federal prison.”One thing’s certain; quarterback Michael Vick…’s not going anywhere. Barring injury, Vick is the Falcon’s starting quarterback.”
In addition to the problems it caused him, Vick also greatly damaged the NFL’s brand (deliberately choosing to ignore some other folks from a university I’m fond of). And no matter who you are or what company you’re with, you can get ruined over the Internet in a heartbeat. The internet just multiplies things so quickly and takes stories that were once local or regional and turns them global.
So in a semi regular feature starting, well, today, may I present What they Should have Done.
What the Baseball Players Should Have Done
Every walk of life has idiots; it just seems that sports talk radio has more than its fair share. One yahoo last night was talking about why it would be good for some baseball players to get a heads up that their name might be on the report (here’s the definitive list of steroid users for people like me too lazy to sift through that tome – by the way, you’re not all that surprised about the Pirates’ results over the last 15 years when you see how many of their regulars made the list.)
Are you kidding me? How would these players not know there was an excellent chance they would be on that list. The sports media has been talking about it forever. Not as much about the NFL. Which sport do you think has more players juiced?
Search Engine Reputation Management: The Basics
Before we get into some basics, let’s go over some basic points about search engine reputation management (SERM). Disaster recovery and reputation management has been going on forever in the offline world. This is just an adaptation – perhaps the most important one. While tv and radio may have a more lasting impression because of the sensory input (for the time being until online audio and video really explode), your past indiscretions can be called up at any time to haunt you forever.
SERM works with other forms of reputation management, especially pr through press release optimization and focuses on two distinct areas: search engine optimization and paid search marketing. Each are very important.
So assuming that these players knew that what they were taking wasn’t flax seed oil, they should have known for some time that their day of reckoning was going to come. Much prep work should have been done in too intricate of detail to list here, but the players should have at least:
1. Start optimizing their Web sites, blogs, and building relationships online with their fans.
2. Opened up some paid search marketing accounts with our friends over at Google AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing, and Microsoft adCenter.
The reason they should have started months ago is that time is of the essence when bad news drops. Search engine optimization takes a very long time for results to improve even when you do everything you can and follow good white hat principles.
It’s Not Too Late – Fight Back
Now even though the report hit just a couple hours ago, it’s not too late. Start sending press releases carefully optimized for keywords. For example, Mr. Smiley (I almost didn’t include this link, because this blogger is practicing black hat seo by spamming his own comments! Paul will probably yell at me.) should send out press releases in an effort to save his legacy that focus on search terms likely to become very popular very soon, like “roger clemens”, “clemens steroids”, “is roger clemens such a jerk because he was cleared up, or did the roids only enhance his natural unlikability.”
Do all the other things that are smart for general SEO purposes, too, along with some tactics particularly well suited for SERM. Plus, this is the best time to get those paid search campaigns going. One of the major benefits of paid search (of several this practitioner would argue) is that it is immediate. With a little hard work and some knowhow, players can start fighting to get your story out and have it be seen tomorrow while people are surfing the internet for the latest commentaries and updates. Besides, I’m sure none of them ever took anything knowingly, anyway, right?
So if you’re one of the dozens of folks named in the Mitchell Report and you’re worried about your legacy, protecting your image, or trying to keep those endorsement dollars coming in, give us a call at 1.800.979.3177. It’s not that expensive (especially considering the alternatives). Besides, you can afford it.