How Do I Clean Up my Online Reputation?

A business’s online reputation is constantly hanging in the balance. Great brands are quickly destroyed because a business didn’t see surfacing complaints, queries, poor customer experiences, or even malicious activity and hadn’t responded. It’s likely they weren’t listening or knew how to minimize or mitigate the risks. . 

There’s no bliss in ignorance when it comes to online. You can’t afford to be unaware. Great reputations drive business success just as quickly as a bad one destroys it. Things can change overnight. The key is listening and proactively monitoring and managing your online brand. It requires the right tools and techniques. 

To help you improve and hopefully avert reputation damage, here are five things you can do to help protect your online brand. 

How to Keep Your Online Reputation Clean

Online reputation is influenced and impacted by factors, including:  search engine optimization (SEO), online content, online review management, social media, and website monitoring. Let’s look at each area.

1. Amplify good news with SEO 

SEO is a technique for improving the search ranking of  a business on Google. You need to be seen in order to be heard, so ranking high on Google really matters. The work you do to include the right keywords and ensure topic relevance in your online content and information about your business will improve your search ranking. But you want to be recognized for the right things. Ranking high for the wrong things is what you want to avoid.  According to Influencer Marketing Hub,   finding one negative article on the first page of a Google search can result in the loss of  22% of business customers. This percentage increases with every negative article. Four or more negative articles found in a Google search may result in losing up to 44% of potential customers. 

A basic and simple step to take would be to audit first-page Google search results to ensure all business information is accurate and that all messaging is on-brand. Use a tool like Ahrefs or SEMRush to see which keywords you may want to rank for.

Compare and contrast this list with the organic search results of your competitors What works for them? Determine the key search terms you may be missing out on, and update online  copy accordingly to compete for those keywords, too.  

A strong reputation is a two-way street with SEO. When potential customers search for “best coffee shop Portland,” for example, only the businesses with the highest Google ratings will show up in the Google snack pack. To get more positive reviews and earn one of these coveted spots, place a review widget on your webpage, put a link to leave a Google review in your email signature, and consider enticing customers to leave a review by incentivizing them with offers or gift cards.

2. Make your content relevant

Look back at your SEO research and determine what assets of your business are not performing. Blog posts, YouTube videos, and social media posts are all tools you can use to drive an online presence. Use these mediums to distribute the content that your potential customers are searching for, and create authoritative narratives about your business and industry.

Researching what customers are searching for and understand their buying journey. Then create content that gives valuable information around these search topics. Relevance to audiences – and your potential customers – matters when it comes to content so apply the principles of keywords and SEO to enhance it and your reputation. The effort may  even drive down the ranking of negative content that might appear in Google searches about your business.

Reach out to those who post negative reviews and comments about your business and look to make things right, if you can. In certain situations, like false claims, you may have the authority to have these completely removed. Always work to resolve poor customer experiences and issues with your brand, and perhaps convince them to update their previous posts to something more positive.

3. Review management

Client reviews should be monitored and managed daily. Respond to all reviews – positive and negative. Thank customers for their feedback and apologize to those who have had poor experiences with your business. Reach out to them directly to resolve things.  

Though review management can feel secondary to busy clients, it’s actually integral to the success and survival of their business. There is no excuse to not make time for it. Negative customer experiences can have devastating consequences for brands, with research showing 40% of customers switching brands after a bad experience.

Many may not be experts in dealing with customers online. Effective response, especially with disgruntled customers, requires tact and strong communication skills. It’s important to be rational and remain professional. Review response templates are a great asset to guide conversations.

Depending on your client’s industry, there are multiple review platforms to be monitored. Between popular platforms like Google and Yelp, and the smaller niche review sites, many businesses find it difficult to deal with the volume. 

Adding automation to managing, flagging and responding to conversations about a business can help smooth the process for your clients, and deliver a better experience for their customers. Reputation management software lets you  manage and respond to reviews from one place, ensuring none are missed, and customer issues are more quickly resolved. 

Never post fake positive reviews to perhaps drown out the negative ones.

4. Social media

Customers often take to social media to air their frustrations. Diligence is essential to protect your brand reputation and you need to always be listening to and managing online conversations and customer complaints. Act quickly to resolve every situation and always look to improve customer experiences. 

Use social media to amplify favorable news and reviews, too.

Package good news about your business into a format that makes it easy for others to share. Breaking news items may deserve a press release or blog article. Recorded interviews with your leaders, experts, or customers can be turned into video clips or a podcast. Create stylish graphics from standout quotes. Let your inner circle and employees know as well and encourage them to share the news. However, be mindful that most things have a shelf life so recognize when something may no longer be relevant.

Finally, don’t dwell on negative social media. Being responsive will help minimize the poor impact on your reputation. But stay focused on the positive and keep developing content that promotes the good things about your client’s business. Don’t forget to also discuss the work they may be doing in their communities. Customers want to do business with ethical organizations that give back to communities.  

5. Website monitoring

Your clients must always be aware of what’s being said about them online. It’s easy to  stay on top of new content online by setting up search alerts to know when and where businesses are being mentioned. You can set up business name search alerts and for other terms, including founders or key employee names.

Always answer any concerns and be directly involved in conversations happening about your business across the web. 

A business must always be present when it is being talked about. Online is not a passive space. You can’t just sit back and listen. Active participation is required so that others don’t control your brand reputation. 

Technology can help to maintain a great brand and reduce the risks. Reputation management software lets you and your clients easily monitor and manage from one platform. Monitoring social, reviews, and other web platforms online lets you stay on top of online conversations about a business, and quickly address concerns or mitigate potential damage. Daily, weekly and monthly reporting lets you track and measure how businesses reputations improve.

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