Online reputation management is essential to building a business and brand these days. One wrong statement on social media can create difficult problems to overcome, and can even affect your search engine rankings. Learn the importance of reviews and online reputation, and how to implement these into your SEO strategy to keep your online rankings strong.
Online Reviews and Reputation Management
Online reviews are vital to reputation management and SEO rankings. According to Google, customer reviews are among the top factors that influence search rankings. Google has cited three major factors that its search algorithm takes into account when considering testimonials and reviews: relevance, distance and prominence.
Your business needs to match what people are searching for, how close your business is to location terms used in queries, and how prominent your business is. The first two factors are easily managed by ensuring that your information is accurate and up-to-date wherever it appears online. The third relies largely upon customer reviews and testimonials.
Claim Your Business
The first step in building your review reputation is to stake your claim on all the right sites. First and foremost, make sure you get on Google My Business. Next, get a listing on all of the major review sites online: TripAdvisor, Facebook, Citysearch, Yelp, and any industry review sites that are relevant to your company. The more of an online presence you have, the more opportunities for review generation will follow.
Once you stake your claim on these sites, stay on top of your listing. Keep your information consistent in its presentation, and as accurate and up-to-date as possible at all times. This means that everywhere your information appears, it should follow the exact same format. Be consistent in the way you type out your business name, address and phone number. For example, using Suite E1 on one listing and Suite E-1 on the next appears as two different addresses to a search algorithm.
When you find positive reviews, share them on your website and social platforms. Most review sites offer widgets that allow you to automate the display of reviews on your website, taking a lot of the work out of the process. These sites often have a “share on social” feature as well.
Research and Engage
Don’t just share your reviews — read them and engage with reviewers. By responding to reviews, you directly engage your customers and appear active within your community online. Thank your happy customers for taking the time to leave a positive review, and let those who weren’t 100% satisfied know that you appreciate the feedback and will use it to help you improve.
Reading your reviews also gives you a chance to research what your customers want, and improve the services you offer. All of these are essential to managing your online reputation and offering exceptional service, both online and off.
Controlling Negative Reviews
While it is important to make sure you’re generating positive feedback, how you handle negative reviews often speaks volumes to potential customers. The goal is to present yourself in the most positive light possible, even when things aren’t going well. Empathy is important when responding to unhappy customers in a public format. Let them know you understand how they feel, appreciate their feedback, and are willing to actively work to fix the problem if given the chance. Ask them to reach out to you, and then do what you can to resolve the matter when they do.
The best way to offset negative reviews, of course, is to generate more positive ones. One of the most important elements of online reputation management is developing a strategy for generating positive reviews. Identifying happy customers and asking them for a review should become a normal part of your day to day business practices.
A word of caution: never pay for reviews. Search engines are better than ever at weeding out phony reviews and it will hurt your business in the long run.
Review Generation and Online Reputation Management Services
Of course, creating a strong online presence can take a lot of time away from actively managing your business. If you’re looking for help with reputation management and generating positive online reviews, Optimized Scribes can help. Check out our online reputation management services, and get in touch with us today for more information!