Online reputation management has become astoundingly prevalent and valuable in today’s social media outbreak. It serves as a new PR tool or online media tool that’s ultimately shifted the way we search for references regarding any service or job.
Why Online Reputation Management is Important
For those who are unfamiliar with the digital economy and social media generation, the easiest way of finding out the quality and service of a doctor, plumber, or hairdresser was through word of mouth, hearsay, or recommendations from peers. With technology and timing both changing rapidly, much of that information is now stored online and is openly accessible. Websites such as Yelp! and Angie’s List allow users to rate any restaurant, service, or store by giving them star-levels (1-5) and writing short paragraphs about their experience. With this new digital tool, you no longer need to know the source. You can access all things being said – even negative feedback. The negative feedback received from customers, regardless of the truth, can affect your customer flow and if people choose to trust you.
This is precisely why online reputation management is so relevant. Anyone with internet access can go to Google, type in a product or service and browse over all reviews. As useful and convenient as this may be, it can also be abused. Online reputation management makes sure that professionals, companies, and individuals can manage their online presence against negative exposure or reviews. Alongside managing your online reputation, learning to apply SEO fundamentals and making sure your web presence is getting the best exposure can guide you toward a higher and solid ranking when someone Googles or searches for your name, business, or company.
Common Problems to Avoid
With any kind of reputation management, you do not want to have an image that’s too pristine. A squeaky clean perception is not transparent enough. It would come off as unreal, or too good to be true. Some may even skeptically think that it was funded by another source that had more capital and capability to make it up and market it. You need to make sure that it is transparent, or relatable enough for people to want to give your products or services a try.
Also be wary about the “flamers.” Flamers are the comments written in all-capital text or multiple exclamation marks behind every character or every word that draws extra attention to the comment. You are trying to make sure that you can address concerns that you find online, but also that you are pushing down or overwriting the negative reviews and the comments you can’t address because there are too many of them.
The Power of Mass Media
Before the media was so influential, suing for slander, misinterpretation and libel was a definite option. Now that information or statements can hit the web so quickly and be mass-communicated, the damage would already be done. The information would already be accessible during the time a lawsuit is filed. It is important to make preemptive actions to control bad statements or comments so that it does not damage or hurt the reputation of your business. Therefore, you should always target reviews, stories, and complaints about your company in order to protect your online reputation.
How to solve it: In order to push down negative listings or inflammatory remarks, especially those that are not based on any kind of reality, you need to make sure you are creating new kinds of content that enhances items important to your company. After doing that, you can start building fundamentals that are linkable to make sure that those stories are the ones that make it to the top ten. Ancillary websites are also significant, especially when you are talking about online reputation management and the use of social media. When competing with a top notch corporate website, such as ABC, you would only have to worry about outranking one website. However, when you are incorporating the social media as a whole, it’s necessary to to have a lot of supporting or ancillary websites to fill the first couple pages of Google, Bing, or Yahoo!.
If you are using Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter, it’s vital to have your primary company account show up in the top ten for specific terms that you are using to make your online reputation positive. The easier your search terms are found, the more it will increase the amount of exposure and traffic you receive, and how many hits you will get for specific terms. Hash-tagging has become a new epidemic as well. If you get your hashtag terms to “trend” on these social media outlets, it will automatically link all websites and people talking about your website or product into one large section. Utilizing all these social media properties and ancillary websites to rank higher for specific terms is one of the best ways to protect and create a positive online reputation.
The primary point behind SEO enhancing online reputation management is creating good, unique content; and when you are dealing with online reputation management, you have to create ten times the amount of content in order to get your personal, primary, professional website to rank high in a specific industry. This is to ensure that you are protecting your reputation and that you get multiple listings in the top two or three pages in Google. Just make sure you keep these main points in mind in order to achieve this goal:
1. Create great content consistently. Consistency being the key word. New sites are established everyday and people can now steal your online work or information quicker than they have ever been able to. Keeping up with your content and updating makes it easier for Google to pick up on your updated sites, especially since Google is very aware of what sites are updated and which ones are not.
2. Set up your pages correctly. There is nothing positive to your website or link if you include the wrong one. Not only does it frustrate those visiting your page, it’s misleading to your clients/potential clients. Double check the links to your YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc. and make sure they are all working properly.
3. Market your blogs and content. Now is the time to make sure your updates are being noticed and read. The more clicks or exposure you get, then the higher you rank on a search engine result page.