What do people who have never contacted you before see when they Google your business? Are the results positive? Negative? Non-existent?
Your business’s online reputation starts with Google. Or in the case of voice search – Google Home or Echo . It’s where people go to learn more about you and your business or when they want to buy what you sell.
If business success is your goal, you’ve got to invest in how your business is seen by people who might buy from you.
The first step to managing your business’s online reputation is to take Search Engine Optimization (SEO) seriously. Because when a potential new customer first sees or hears your business name, what do they do? They Google you. What they find could be what decides them to buy from you or not.
Most people think SEO is a way to promote your website to get more prospects to your site.
And that’s true… in part.But that’s not all SEO can do for you.
In the first part of our look at Online Reputation Management, we examined how Online Reputation Management (ORM) and SEO are similar, but not the same.
Now we’re going to dig a little deeper to see how those two principles can work to protect your online reputation, attract new customers and increase your sales.
As previously stated, the goal of SEO is to make your online content more visible to search engines, to get your business to page one of the SERP (search engine results page) for relevant keywords. If your SEO campaign is successful, then competitors trying to rank for those same keywords will see their content fall down the results page, because you replaced their name with yours.
Numbers don’t lie: Google gets more than 2 billion searches every day, making search engines one of the best places to connect with consumers, and businesses are missing out if they don’t focus on SEO. Since the majority of web users only look at the first couple of search results, SEO done well can boost traffic to your site, and ideally, convert those searchers into buying customers.
Google would have you believe that SEO is simple. Just post some great content and people will flock to your site!
Not so fast.
The Internet is a big place, competition for your keywords is fierce, and it’s filled with people who have a lot to say—not all of it good.
You can’t address problems if you don’t know what they are. Perform searches with “reviews” or “complaints” at the end of your name if you want to see the real dirt.
An efficient ORM plan involves constant monitoring for mentions of your name, business name, and products you sell.
When someone searches your business, every result should support a positive view of your company.
Consumers are easily influenced by negative mentions of businesses, and with so much competition out there, one negative review is often enough to send someone to your competitor.
If your online reputation is just not what you’d like, you can’t really have negative comments removed, but you can do some damage control. Lessening the harm of negative search results is a big part of ORM.
The best method to lessen the impact of negatives is to use some or all of the most well-understood factors that affect search engine results.
You’re never going to have control over what is written about you online, but you can show your business the way you want it shown. Focus your efforts on making sure there are lots of positive results when people search for you.
In Part Three of our investigation of Online Reputation Management tactics, we’ll look at proactive steps you can take to reduce the impact of any negatives that may pop up about you and your business.