The online reputation of a school is becoming a critical part of the decision process for prospects. If you Google your school’s name, what appears? Often, parents will search your school’s brand name on Google and begin there. Let’s start.
The majority of school’s have at least one negative link of the first page of Google. This is often news articles from major sites such as Huffington Post, Guardian, BBC etc.
Why do these types of sites always pop up? It is because negative news is highly likely to receive links and social shares. Not only this but these major sites, who have huge ranking capabilities, post negative news.
Once the negative news is online, how can you remove it? Well, you can’t. It is there until the news site decides to remove it (which is unlikely). The only action that a school can take is to knock the article(s) off the first page of Google.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr etc. can all help you ‘own’ the first page of Google. An example of a company who have taken complete control of their brand is HubSpot. They own the first two websites and the following are all social media sites that they can update, monitor and control. It is worth noting that the second page is also a plethora of social channels - a great insurance.
This army of social channels become great crisis management tools if negative news does occur - either offline or online. Most likely, people will perform a branded search to either discover the news or to find out more about the news and you will be able to quickly respond and manage any negativity.
Building a strong community on these channels will not only give you a great competitive advantage but your community will become advocates of your school.
Do you have negative links on Google? How do you control them? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.