6 Hacks for Online Reputation Management
Reputation management is more important today than ever before. Today, it’s easier than ever for an incident in your past to come back to haunt you.
Restaurants deal with negative reviews all the time. Politicians are frequently bombarded by negative “spin” campaigns against them.
The secret to dealing with these problems is to learn effective reputation management skills. Here are 6 hacks you can use to solve reputation problems online:
6) Google’s new Pigeon update pushes sites like Yelp, UrbanSpoon, and TripAdvisor to the top of the list – so address these problems first
For years, Google allegedly suppressed Yelp-related search results, instead promoting review websites that “Google had a hand in.” Reports say that even when searchers added “Yelp” to their query, Google would claim the top spot.
That shady system could only go on for so long, which is why Google’s latest Pigeon update took a different approach to Yelp: today, review websites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Urban Spoon are hugely prominent in search engine results pages – even when someone isn’t specifically searching for reviews of your business.
Some local business websites are even being outranked by Yelp. Since Yelp is a massive website with huge authority signals, it’s often difficult for “the little guy” to compete.
Ultimately, this means you can’t ignore negative reviews on Yelp or TripAdvisor any longer. And of course, removing problematic reviews from review websites is difficult.
The two most effective ways to deal with negative reviews on Yelp or TripAdvisor are:
-Respond to the negative reviews in a professional tone using your business’s official account. Only the customer has the power to remove their own negative reviews (except in rare circumstances). If you can address the customer’s complaint and solve their problem, they may remove the review.
-Encourage happy customers to leave positive reviews online. Consider offering a discount to those who leave reviews, or remind happy customers to leave reviews as they’re leaving.
5) Highlight your local qualifications to dominate Google Search’s local results
It’s no secret that Google is becoming more and more local-oriented. That’s good news for local businesses.
Unfortunately, many local businesses don’t take full advantage of Google’s new local opportunities. Your website needs to be covered with local “signals” to tell Google where your business is located and what services it provides to your local area. Place your company’s name and, if possible, your local phone number in all of the following locations online:
-On your home page
-On the footer of each page of your website
-On Facebook, Twitter, and other social media profiles
-On your business’s LinkedIn page
-Anywhere else your business maintains an online presence
To make sure you’ve covered all your bases, type your business’s name into Google and look at all the listings that come up. Do all the listings feature accurate local address information for your business? If not, are you able to change any of the incorrect listings or notify webmasters of the changes?
4) Combat low-quality negative content with high-quality positive content
Google is getting smarter about moving high-quality, high-value content to the top of search engine rakings. If someone has released low-quality, combative, or inflammatory content about your website, then you may be able to outrank that listing by countering with high-quality, positive, and productive content.
Let’s say someone has posted a negative review of your car dealership online. You counter that review with a blog post describing how your dealership is proud to sponsor local charities or junior sports teams.
With the help of a concentrated SEO strategy (see the bottom of this list), you can push that blog post past the negative review and win good publicity for your car dealership.
3) Get people talking locally and generate a positive buzz
This goes back to the fourth hack on this list: generate local buzz and take advantage of that buzz to promote your website.
Some ideas for generating local positive publicity for your business include:
-Sponsoring a local event, like a marathon or basketball tournament
-Launch or sponsor a charity
-Sponsor a local scholarship for high school kids going into college
-Speak at a local conference or create a local gathering of business leaders
Ultimately, all of these activities should generate news stories, blog posts, and social media chatter. That’s all good news for your business. It also helps Google further link your business to a local community.
One good part about this “hack” is that it can be used by both businesses and individuals who are trying to solve reputation management problems.
2) Request a change of address
In more extreme cases, you can also request a “change of ownership” on websites like TripAdvisor. If you go that route, then all negative and positive reviews will be eliminated from the record and you’ll have a clean slate.
This isn’t an ideal solution, but it is a solution if you’re dealing with numerous negative reviews. It’s also a solution used by businesses which have negatively “gone viral” on the internet for various reasons. In that case, businesses may be left with hundreds of negative reviews by people who have never gone anywhere near their business.
Of course, you can also take this step if you recently changed your address or legitimately changed ownership. Whatever the situation may be, you can modify your listing and clear out old reviews using this form on TripAdvisor.
1) Hire a professional SEO firm
The tips listed above will help you deal with minor problems and issues. Unfortunately, many reputation management problems are not minor.
That’s why you may need to hire a professional SEO firm for more advanced reputation management problems. Some reasons to hire an SEO firm include:
-Permanently remove negative news stories from Google Search results
-Provide long-term online reputation monitoring and address problems before they’re spotted by customers
-Teach business owners how to be reputation-management pros and use search engines to their full potential
Of course, when you work with an SEO firm like Renew Marketing, you also enjoy bonus digital marketing services. We suppress negative search engine results while also promoting positive search engine results. Additionally, we can target keywords that your customers search every day to find businesses just like yours – and then put your website in front of searchers.
How much does a negative review cost your business? Over 80% of people are adversely affected by negative reviews and have changed their minds regarding an important purchase decision after reading a negative review.
Even if there’s just a single one-star review on your company’s Yelp page, more customers will read that single review than the numerous 5 star reviews. Because let’s face it: controversy is more interesting.
With that in mind, it’s never been more important to actively monitor your reputation online and address problems as soon as they occur.