Search results intelligence holds the key to online crisis mitigation

July 29, 2021

Google search results, though hardly new, are the latest frontier that brands and corporations must learn to navigate in 2021 and beyond. FirstEnergy is currently learning this the hard way.

Lightbox Search analysis of the DOJ website reveals a well-optimized page and domain authority of 89.

Since their inception, search results have undergone major modernization, hardly recognizable from the static lists that indexed websites and web pages in the past.

Search results today are dynamic, adapting to captured user data, like their location or search history, and perceived searcher intent such as a transactional query vs research. Organic results and Google-generated content such as ads and reviews combine to form Search Engine Results Pages, or SERPs, in real-time for more than 3.5 billion queries each day. Creating and optimizing content to perform well in search results is essential to controlling the most influential channel through which your audience experiences your brand: search results.

By the numbers, page one of search defines your online reputation:

  1. 75% of all clicks go to the top three organic results (backlinks)
  2. 99% searchers don’t click on page two results
  3. 65% of searchers have complete trust in Google results (most trustworthy information channel)
  4. 30% avg. increased click-through rate (CTR) per rank climbed (eg: result moves from position three to position two)

The largest criminal penalty ever collected

To put this into perspective, let’s examine FirstEnergy, an electric utility headquartered in Akron, Ohio. It was just announced the company will pay a $230 million fine for its role in a bribery scheme. The fine was the “largest criminal penalty ever collected, as far as anyone can recall, in the history of this office,” said acting U.S. Attorney Vipal Patel.

While sure to sting, the fee won’t even dent FirstEnergy’s operations, leaving management with another problem on their hands: a PR nightmare playing out online. Currently negative news dominates results for FirstEnergy and it doesn’t seem likely to dissipate quickly. Lightbox Search makes it easy to instantly assess the size and scope of an online crisis by simultaneously analyzing every result on the page for weaknesses and opportunities.

Lightbox Search Dashboard showing search results for FirstEnergy
Lightbox Search Dashboard shows -5 Lightbox Score for FirstEnergy, a brand in crisis.

Though Top Stories injected by Google News will dominate the most prominent real-estate for the short-term, these update regularly as the news cycle shifts focus. More concerning for FirstEnergy is the negative news, a press release issued on the DOJ government website, that now holds position No. 6 on Google Search.

That result probably isn’t going anywhere just yet and at an average of 165,000 monthly searchers, the result will see approximately 10,000 clicks (6.23%) – every month and 120,000 annually. If that result were outranked by stronger content and pushed down even just one row, clicks would fall to an average of 4.15%, a decrease of nearly 3,700 clicks each month. If the result were pushed to page two, it’s unlikely many searchers would find it at all.

With Lightbox Search, users can access an understandable SEO audit of the factors contributing to this result’s SEO success and therefore develop an appropriate communications strategy to reduce its visibility, monitor for change and track the results overtime.

SEO analysis of DOJ FirstEnergy Scandal Announcement
SEO analysis of DOJ result reveals weak backlinks

By aggregating data from sources you may already pay for independently and isolating the most critical pieces, Lightbox Search helps cut costs and boosts efficiency. With the power of search results intelligence you can: 

  1. Control your reputation and online profile
  2. Manage a crisis or promote positive content
  3. Generate new traffic and leads
  4. Access localized results from different locations
  5. Develop organic and paid communications strategies
  6. Fill the gaps left by media monitoring and social media monitoring platforms

In a crisis or concerned with your reputation on Google? Schedule a demo today.

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Written By

Jesse Jacobs

Chief Technical Officer
Jesse Jacobs serves as Chief Technology Officer of Lightbox Search where he drives product development. Jesse works closely with both the technical team and clients to ensure Lightbox meets evolving objectives.