online reputation management

Reputation management has become a SEO problem.  Here’s how we’re dealing with it…

As Internet marketing and SEO specialists, we spend the majority of our efforts improving visibility of clients within the search results.  With Universal Search in mind, we take care to ensure our clients are visible across many parts of the web, including locally, in videos, across various social media platforms, and local directories as well.

This improved visibility, and information spread across many platforms opens up clients to discussion and review to customers, disgruntled employees, passers by, and anyone capable of the simplistic process of posting content to the web.  Negative results and commentary isn’t limited to major search engines—blog engines, video sites (YouTube), social news sites (Digg), forums, and other websites all host negative reviews.

How To Respond to Negative Reviews, Comments, and Ratings

The sad fact is that these negative comments can have a significant impact on brands or reputation a company has spent years and resources to build.  It pays to take measures to protect those brands, wherever Internet consumers can interact with them and influence other consumers.

Consumers highly value the opinions of other consumers (their peers), so it’s best to monitor and engage, reviews, your brand, products, and company.  The content you’ll be monitoring?  News, social media and tags, standard search results, forums, and blogs.

The easiest way to keep tabs on your online reputation is by setting up Google Alerts, Yahoo Alerts, and subscribing to Feedster, Technorati, Yahoo and Google news, and BlogPulse via RSS feed subscription.  Visit google.com/alerts and alerts.yahoo.com to get set up.  Simply type in variations (or your topic, company name, etc) that you wish to monitor, and Google or Yahoo will send you real time or once a day email updates on the latest relevant Google and Yahoo results, including web, news, blogs, etc.  You can elect to get general results, or choose to limit the volume by putting your topic in quotes—you’ll only receive an email for an exact phrase match.

 

Create Positive Publically Available Content:  Put Your Brand in Your Control

Optimize all means of digital communications regarding your brand and product—this includes sending out regular press releases and similar electronic content including positive video, text, audio, articles, blog posts, and tweets.  Your positive content will show up in the SERPS and show your company how you’d like it to be seen—a better alternative to scrambling after a reputation issue.  Protect your brand, reputation, or products on the web.

Get Engaged to Address the Problem

 

Once you’ve spotted a negative review, mention, or content, here’s how to deal with it.  First, research the situation.  Does the negative review have merit?  If not, “reply” or respond to the commenter providing facts and offer to discuss the problem.  Respond to all negative comments with an apology and invitation to discuss the matter in further detail.  Qualify unjustified reviews with an explanation.  Be honest, transparent, and listen to your reviewers.  In some cases a company will do all they can for a client with unreasonable expectations—your potential customers will appreciate an explanation.  Reviewers respect when a company reaches out to them with an apology or explanation—you may find that you’ll receive positive turn arounds.

Encourage your customers to review you online—positive reviews will counter the negative and remember that a proactive SEO campaign will supply search engines with much branded and naturally positive content, effectively diluting any negative brand content.  “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

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