From time to time, who hasn’t typed their own name into Google to see what comes up? This is a natural reaction, although it is probably not something that too many people will admit to. However, if you run a business, doing this very thing for your company is a habit that you should start to develop. Searching for your own company at least once a month is highly recommended. It can be good to find positive feedback about your company but it can be very important to find, and then minimise, any negative comments that arise about your business.
It may not be possible to get negative comments removed but you can do the next best thing. You should aim to create further positive mentions that will push the negative comments and remarks down the search engines. If you can push any bad remarks away from the first couple of pages of Google or the major search engines, you will find that they have, to all intents and purposes, disappeared. It is never nice reading negative things about your business but it is better to know what is being said and being able to act upon than being ignorant of it and allowing it to fester.
You should search on Google and many firms are even looking to set up a monitoring system on many social media sites that will alert them when there is mentioned. For a business, you will find you can find all news, good or bad, without spending too much money. If you find bad news stories, you can work in the following ways to protect your online brand reputation. The following 7 tips will help your business to protect their online brand reputation:
1. Utilise Web 2.0 to rank good stories higher
2. Utilise social media sites like: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, etc.
3. Write and distribute press releases
4. Use business profile pages
5. Guest blog about your business
6. Can you ask for content to be removed?
7. Link to positive content and reviews
Web 2.0 is focused on sites like Wikipedia, About Us and Squidoo, amongst many others. You’ll find that these sites rank very well on search engines, which is something you can utilise. It may be difficult to post positive comments on Wikipedia so don’t place that at the top of your list but you should find that it is possible to create positive ranking for your business on Squidoo.
Take control of your online reputation
In a similar way, you will find that social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr, etc. score very well with regards to search engine rankings. Make sure that you set up company pages on all of the main sites that are relevant to your business and then provide regular content. This will have a positive impact on your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) but it should help to push negative content away from the eyes of potential customers.
If you can have your company talked about in a positive manner in respected journals or websites including blogs, you will rank highly and you will create very positive PR around your brand. You should use press releases (self-written or outsourced to a professional writer) and then distributed by a marketing/public relations consultancy like Moxee Marketing or a press release agency. This will result in stories about your brand being printed on reputable sites which are likely to rank higher than negative comments on sites with no genuine reputation.
Sites such as LinkedIn, GooglePages and even AOL Hometown allow you to create a business profile page which will rank highly on search engines.
You will also be able to gain SEO benefits, as well as ranking productively, by creating guest posts on other sites. These can be arranged in a mutual fashion, allowing other companies / writers to guest blog on your site. This can help your blog to be seen as a good authority site in its industry while providing you with a platform to meet your reputation management needs.
It may also be worthwhile contacting the website where negative information about your business is held and ask if it can be removed. Depending on the nature of the site or forum, and the nature of the content, you may find the site owner meets your request to ensure that there is no trouble. There is no harm in asking, although if negative comments are hosted on personal blogs, the likelihood of the request being taken seriously is slim.
Another thing to do is to make sure that any positive comments about your business are linked to strongly. This can help to boost the SEO ranking of the page or content, making it more likely that the positive content will rise above the negative content.
That said, managing your online reputation should start with providing top notch services/products and customer support to your clients. However recognising that even the best brands get negative press at some point online (whether fair or unfairly), it’s important not to wait until you get negative press to act. So develop a strategy and take decisive preventative action; it does take a while to see results from this type of work. So proactively manage your online reputation as failure to do so could impact traffic levels to your website and ultimately your sales results.
Ursula Petula Barzey is a Digital Marketing Consultant and Founder of Moxee Marketing, a London based digital marketing agency.