Even if you are not an “online business,” or if you keep a very sparse website, the existence of review websites means that people are probably talking about your business. Taking a proactive approach to understanding what is “out there” about your business is one of the best ways to make sure your business gains a positive online reputation. According to the site Keeping it Kleen, many people trust the online reviews they read — up to 70% of customers. It’s important, therefore, that only the best information about your business should appear in search engine results.
Consider these elements as you determine your online reputation and decide how to improve it.
One of the simplest ways to check how your business’ reputation is going is to search through a search engine for your company’s name and location, as well as for the service or product you provide, with your location. See what shows up first: are there positive reviews on review sites? Are there negative news stories? What about lots of sites for your competitors but almost nothing about you? Using GoogleAlerts, you can be updated whenever something new “ranks” for a search term that matters to you. RepWarn and ProRankTracker are also some very helpful tools for keeping an eye on what is showing up in your most important search terms.
Customer Reviews and Testimonials
Often, the high ranking spots will go to places like Yelp or TripAdvisor, if your business is one that is reviewed on those sites. If not, it will still appear on niche websites, especially if there are negative reviews. Once you assess the reviews that exist out there, it is time to consider a review “campaign.” Ask your loyal, regular customers to review you and rate you on the sites that appear highest in your search rankings. These customer reviews should be honest and never written by someone who works for or with the company, but the more there are, the more accurate the review sites will be. Often, the reviews that are written organically lean negative, simply because satisfied customers often aren’t motivated to take to the internet to write about their experiences. Swing the needle in your own favor by knowing what is out there and encouraging positive reviews.
It is also vitally important to see if there are response features for businesses on the websites where you can be reviewed. A cordial response, along with an invitation to speak with a manager, can go a long way to both calming down an angry customer and to softening the negative review in the eyes of others. It is worth it to respond personally and pleasantly to any negative reviews where that option is available.
Video and Website Content
So if you aren’t happy with the results that organically appear on your site, what is the best way to improve your online reputation? Often, a great tool is YouTube or a management software like Own Your Social; these tools allow you to begin producing more content that is positive and promotional about your business. These things don’t have to directly address the negative review or press, but they can often begin to push old news and reviews down, giving new clients a lot of interesting content to see before they see any old reviews. Videos where you interview loyal customers can act as a “review” of sorts, and begin to show why any negative search results are actually incorrect about your business. This type of content is something our Video Production Services studio here at SocialSEO can create and provide for you.
The things people say online about your company do have an impact, and fostering a great online presence pays dividends for your business. Contact our Online Reputation Specialists to learn more about leveraging online reputation and customer reviews.