Online reputation management can make or break a business. If negative reviews are showing when people search for your company, you’re in trouble.
Managing your reputation can help fix this, or even prevent it in the first instance. So, here are some helpful online reputation management tips.
Focus on Search Results
Search results for your brand name or your personal name matter a lot when it comes to online reputation. Therefore, you should try to own the search results as it is one of the best ways to maintain control over your online reputation. Your goal should be to get as many properties as possible on the first page of search results for your brand name or personal name.
We have already covered this in the past. We recommend the concept of having an online resume wherein you register your own domain name as well as your personal or brand name across various social networks. In simple terms, the goal is to own as many high quality and authority online properties including websites and social networks as possible, in order to gain multiple rankings on the first page of search results for your business or brand name.
Check Your Search Results Regularly
It is recommended to search for your company name at least once each month. If your company is in the news frequently, you should do it much more frequently. You should also set up Google Alerts for keywords related to your brand or business name in order to get the alert as and when any new content about your business goes online.
It is also suggested to not restrict yourself to only the first page of the Google search results. While most users limit their search to only the first page, it is important for you to check the search results on page 2 and 3 to check the presence of any negative content. Search rankings may change overnight and negative content on the second or third page may end up on first page of search results. You should take special care to find negative search results on second or third page as these might end up on the first page. Keep a spreadsheet for tracking search results with separate columns for page title, URL and page status (own page, controlled page or having some influence) as well as the sentiment (neutral, negative or positive).
Encourage Customers to Share Positive Experiences and Reviews
There are a number of ways to encourage customers to share their positive experiences and reviews with your business. Sometimes, a simple request or a gentle reminder works best. You can place a request asking them whether you exceeded their expectations and asking them to share positive experiences.
This request can be placed on the bottom of a receipt, on a sign in the establishment or on various web pages. It has been observed that many customers will share negative experiences or complaints more frequently as compared to voicing their appreciation for a great experience. Keep in mind that this strategy works best when you do it before you get any negative reviews. In simple terms, it is about preventive management and it is not as effective if you already have a problem with your reputation.
Engage Customers to Solve Problems
By engaging your customers, you can show how you add value to their lives. You may have noticed how some of the biggest companies have been proactive in engaging customers by creating specific social media accounts to address their concerns and complaints. It tells the customers that you care and has an overall positive effect. You can also do the same by demonstrating that you care about your customers and it will have a positive effect on boosting your reputation.
Constant and Consistent Updates
If you want to own the search results, you need to remain relevant at all times. One of the best ways to remain relevant is to constantly update your website as well as your social media properties. You will have to constantly publish useful and fresh content, and have a specific social media strategy in place.
You also have the option of hiring others for content creation purposes in order to focus on core aspects of your business. Keep in mind that it is in your interest to publish the most relevant and freshest information out there in order to keep positive information about your business high up in the search results.
Don’t Be Defensive about Bad Press
One of the biggest mistakes made by businesses when they are facing bad press is that they try to cover it up or respond immediately without looking into the issue deeply. It’s a natural reaction. Sometimes, it is better to take a step back and wait for things to settle down.
It is important that you do not go on a defensive and start taking down your detractors or start posting negative things about them. Before you respond, it is important for you to get as much information as possible about the issue and whenever you’re ready, you should respond. While responding, make sure that you do not go negative.
Start a Blog
Over the years, blogging has emerged as a powerful tool that allows everyone to get their message out. Blogging has also provided a powerful platform for people to build positive reputation and a powerful resource. In order to own search results, it is important for you to own as many social profiles and authority sites as possible. A blog created around your business brand or personal brand allows you to accomplish this.
A blog also allows you to create and publish original content. For instance, you may post interviews with industry experts and spread it online through podcasts, video interviews and your blog posts. This authority content will remain on your site but visitors will also share it and it will also be shared by people you interview.
Search engines prefer blogs as blogs always have fresh content according to SEO guru Matthew Woodward. Blogs allow you to create a valuable information resource for your customers and you can also use your blog to link back to all the social media profiles. It also provides an opportunity for two-way conversation through blog commenting.
Anchor text is a hyperlinked phrase or word which takes the visitor to another web page when clicked. Anchor text is used by search engines for determining the relevancy of a web page that is being linked to. If there are several web pages on various trustworthy and authority sites that link to another article with similar anchor text link, it helps in ranking that article higher in the search engine result pages for that particular phrase.
However, it’s not as easy as it seems as those sites are not under your control but it does not mean that those sites are beyond your influence.
One of the best ways to get those anchor text links on authority websites is to simply ask others to create links with a specific anchor text that is relevant to your business. However, you need to be smart about it and avoid too many links with same anchor text. Google has constantly released updates to punish behavior that tries to game search results. It may lead to loss of rankings for your content if you push for too aggressive anchor text linking practices.