This is Day 19 of our new series: 30 days to a better online reputation. Be sure to subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss a single important lesson!

“With great power comes great responsibility” Spiderman’s Uncle

repped-day19There’s a good chance that you are already number one in Google’s search results for your name, especially if you followed the steps outline on Day 9. The reason you are at the top of the pile for your personal or company name is that you likely own yourname.com (or some variation), your web site includes plenty of mentions for your name, and other web sites and profiles all link back to you using your name. As dumb as Google’s search engine spider can be, it’s at least smart enough to know that when someone searches for your name, your own web site should be listed first, or at least pretty close to first.

When your own web site ranks first for your brand, your SERM efforts get just a little bit easier because Google knows that no other site in its index is more relevant to your reputation. This extends to products and service names as well and also applies whether you’re focusing on your company or personal reputation efforts. Effectively Google makes the declaration that no other page in its index is more relevant to your name than the one you own.

Google declares you the Superbrand.

The Super-What-Now?

OK, so Google doesn’t have an official “Superbrand” designation and you won’t see a red cape show up against your web site in the search listings. While being a Superbrand won’t allow you to fly or see through walls, it will bestow upon you one very important power that will help you in your search engine reputation efforts: the ability to pass on credibility to any web site you link to that is also relevant to your name.

How does that work? As number one in Google for your name, you can link to your blog, social media profile, photos, or videos and effectively vouch that they are relevant to your reputation. As the owner of AndyBeal.com, if I link to my Twitter profile at Twitter.com/andybeal, I send an important signal to Google that the profile is relevant and endorsed by me. You don’t have to add any hidden code or complete a request with the PhDs at the Googleplex. You just link from your site to the site that you are trying to help rank for your name. However, there is one vital component to help make this work the best for you.

Optimize the anchor text

Anchor textThe phrase “anchor text” refers to the visible, clickable text that’s displayed on the page when linking to another web page. In it’s simplest form, the anchor text might say “Click here” or “Visit our blog.” The actual link may point the browser to company.com/blog, but the text that the user clicks is something different. That same anchor text gives direction both to the web page visitor and to Google’s spider.

To take advantage of your Superbrand status, you will need to optimize your use of any anchor text that points to a page that you would prefer rank higher in Google’s search results. Optimizing this anchor text is not a complex task. It merely requires that you use your reputation instead of some generic text.

Let’s say Toyota wanted to improve the Google ranking of its Facebook page when someone searches for “Toyota.” The company is already number one in Google, so its name “Toyota” is a Superbrand. Instead of linking to its Facebook page using the anchor text “Find us on Facebook” it could use the anchor text “Follow Toyota on Facebook.” Now, when Google’s spider “crawls” the Toyota web site, it will see a link pointing to the Facebook page. It will also see that “Toyota” is included in the anchor text. The link itself and the optimized anchor text will send a strong collective signal to Google that the Facebook page is highly relevant to Toyota, and therefore should be shown prominently whenever someone searches for the car manufacturer.

The same approach works equally well for pages within the same web site. Instead of using the anchor text “About Us,” it could use “About Toyota” and point the link to a page that is hopefully already well optimized using the tactics discussed on Day 9.

Spread the love

Now that you have basic understanding of how you can optimize your anchor text, you should put it to good use. Any time you want a page to rank higher for your name, consider using your Superbrand powers and include your name in the anchor text. When you link out to your social media profile, look for a way to include your Superbrand. If you issue a press release include a link back to your news page using your name in the anchor text.

The key is to find ways to include your brand in the anchor text of any page you identified as important to rank on Day 18. If you own the page, control it, or at least influence it, then build some links to it using your Superbrand in the anchor text. There are two important caveats. First, you shouldn’t use only your name in the anchor text. A hundreds links all using the anchor text “Toyota” don’t help your visitors or Google in the long run. Instead, look to mention your Superbrand alongside other descriptive words. For example, “Check out the Toyota Pinterest board.”

Second, you should only use this approach in any deliberate efforts to help the recipient page to rank higher for your name. If you’re trying to get a web page to rank for “Orlando real estate” you should use that phrase in any anchor text pointing to it, not “Bob Smith’s real estate.”

It’s not a magic bullet

While I wish I could tell you that using your Superbrand in your anchor text is all you need to focus on, in order to improve your Google reputation, it’s not quite that simple. While optimizing your anchor text will help Google understand the relevance of the recipient web page, when it actually visits the page, it still needs to be convinced that the content is indeed important enough to show on the first page of any results, when someone Google’s your name.

That’s why the next step is to make sure you link out to web pages that have the best chance of ranking in the first ten results of Google.

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