8 October 2009:
SEO is way more than just a killer marketing tool or traffic builder. The ability to insert pages into competitive searches suggests a much broader power. Because if you have the ability to focus an audience's attention onto the topic of your choosing, you hold the power of propaganda. Some of us, like Rev Sale, go so far as to say it's a potential weapon of mass destruction and that we should be concerned about how a terrorist could control the publicly posted information via the search. Bob Sakayama has even consulted with the FBI on this very matter. Our discussion today acknowledges this power and demonstrates that SEO can be a very effective enabler of justice - an equalizer bar none, because in our world, little fish can take down big dogs.
Sometimes this power is obtained serendipitously - unearned as it were. Perhaps you met that crazy person who demands an unreasonable refund and starts posting nasty reviews that start showing up for searches for your brand. If you didn't give her the money, then you will probably soon realize that those posts are hurting you, and that you're getting slammed by an SEO offensive - one that can have very bad consequences for your bottom line.
Or you may be aware of the success of businesses like reputationdefender.com - specialists who apply basic SEO to unwind bad publicity by getting better commentary ranked higher than existing bad news. Again an example of SEO justice. Or SEO justice undoing previous SEO.
Last year, our good buddy Tony paid a refundable deposit of $10,000 on a property he was considering buying. The short story is that although he was due a refund, the real estate entity refused to pay. We posted a site (no longer live) optimized for the perps trademark with the whole story spelled out in detail (vetted by our attorney). The site also solicited other victims to post their complaints. Tony got his money back within 2 weeks - just before the company declared bankruptcy.
Bob's 91 year old father in law walked into Citizens Bank in Wolfeboro NH with his nest egg, with the intent of buying very safe certificates of deposits (CDs), but was talked into a front loaded bond fund at a time of rising interest rates. Although an obvious case of unethical banking, restoring the funds was not forthcoming. After getting push back on calls to the bank, Bob posted a single page detailing the story. Money was returned within the week.
You can see where this is going. Don't let unscrupulous businesses or persons go without accountability. It's your duty as a powerful propagandist to warn the public at large of the bad citizens among us, whether you expose unethical institutions, political malfeasance, or clients who default on payments. Using a lawyer to vet your story can save you from being forced to change or remove it - you always want the law on YOUR side.
For those of us focused on enterprise optimization, this is a snap - very low level SEO skills are needed. And if you control an enterprise, you can probably push significant PR advantage to your posts and get them ranked very high, very fast. Use geo advantages and multiple documents to get as many instances into the results as high as possible. Since it's so easy I recommend you do at least 20 pages and spread it out around the names of the parties, corporations, and the significant terms surrounding the issue.
And we know this works. We have tons of great anecdotes where wrongs were righted simply because of push back from the search. Once you see how effective and easy it is to rank most of these kinds of posts, you'll never let the bad guys get away with anything.
Please send us your stories - we'll share them with our enterprise community. We know from our chats that this is a very popular topic - blog posts coming.
Everyone understands the need for recourse, sometimes known as revenge. We are often placed in an environment in which the only other real world alternative to your injustice is just not going to cut it. When that happens to you, I recommend that you use your optimization skills to set things right.
(added 2 February 2010)
Compelling, real world example of creating a consequence for a deadbeat is here in 3 parts: 1 | 2 | 3
Using Search For Recourse
- Pick your fights - Don't bother unless the issue is significant - a major ethical violation, a lot of money, etc.
- Name names - Let your target know exactly what terms you're optimizing for. As we all know you're much more likely to rank for a brand in combination with a person's name.
- Publicize all corporate entities. This is often the weakest link. Bring investor & client nomenclature into your target terms - gets you both rank & leverage.
- Use a good number of pages, across multiple sites. I suggest 20, targeted at all the iterations. If you do it right, all 20 documents will rank appropriately.
- Use services like RipOffReport.com, which will automatically rank for the offenders company and name, and will create a permanent record on the web.
- Stay legal - don't defame. As long as you stick with the facts, you're fine. Run your copy by your lawyer just to be safe.
- Don't take your posts down without compensation for the time it took to create, post, and link.
OneInAmelia specializes in search forensics & CSS.