Online reputation is very important as this defines who you are. It is all about what other people from all over the internet thinks about you and your brand. Customers are smart and they do research on a product before purchasing it. The least you want them to see are negative feedback about your business. Control your online reputation. SEO Bites gives tips on how to manage your online reputation with Episode 11.
Topic: Online Reputation Management Tips for your Business Website
Henry Acosta: Hi and welcome to the new episode. Today we have Wayne Bucklar of SEO Bites, he is the owner and CEO. Welcome back to the program Wayne.
Wayne Bucklar: It’s a pleasure to join you again Henry.
Henry: For our first question today, what is online reputation management?
Wayne: Reputation, let’s talk a little bit about reputation and in particular online reputation management. Now, this comes I guess in two flavors the before the disaster and the after the disaster flavor. Before there’s a problem, online reputation management is largely about monitoring what does the internet have to say about you and your firm. And that involves actively monitoring and Google searching, setting up Google alerts for your name, the name of your business, your product names. What you’re looking for is anything that may damage the brand reputation or your personal reputation. If you want to be proactive it’s also a good time to publish some content and make sure that someone does search for you or your brand there is plenty of content that pops up. Now the reason for doing this is when brand reputation occurs it will be a useful cushion to rely on.
Henry: How important is online reputation management?
Wayne: Online reputation management can be critical. If there is a disaster, if you’re in the pizza business and someone publishes a photo of their freshly delivered pizza with a hair stuck in the pizza then that’s minor unless it goes viral. Recently there was a case where this occurred, the person took a photograph of the pizza, replied to the shop involved and said ‘Look what you sent me’ they didn’t point out the hair but the shop didn’t notice and they replied ‘Looks delicious, enjoy.’ And of course that sounded sarcastic, it went viral, it was going to head towards millions of viewers but fortunately someone alerted that the pizza shop to it they took the image down, apologized, did all sorts of things they would do, so that’s one kind of reputation damage. The others when someone publishes something about you, be it a … or not the damage is done and you don’t know about it but all of your customers see it or if you do know about it what can you do about it? So managing your online reputation is critically important.
Henry: What can I do about the past information that’s been posted already?
Wayne: Fixing past information that’s been published about you is a real problem. There is not much possibility that any of the hosting companies, Google, the search engines are going to take that data down and even if they remove it from their index it will still be available on the website where it’s published. If that’s a malicious website where someone has perhaps created the main name to match your name and is deliberately targeting you, yes you can try and get the name taken down thru legal processes – there are difficulties. If it’s a review in one of the review websites it’s negative, it’s difficult to get it taken down. If it’s a comment that someone’s made in their own blog in their own website, there’s no way to get it taken down unless you can get a legal court order in the jurisdiction where they are, etc., etc., etc. because it’s… so it’s a difficult problem to fix other than to do the things you can do on the internet. About all you can do is minimize the damage by ensuring that the search engines have lots of preferable content to find about you before it finds the negative stuff, that is push the negative stuff down the page. We already know that nearly three quarters of people never look beyond page one so if you can get it off page one it’s 80% fixed. To do that you need to publish targeted content, you need to publish it with sufficient difference and frequency so that every item comes up separately in a Google search. It just doesn’t say ‘and more like this’ because you actually want the 8 or 10 items to come up and you need to publish that stuff and publish it so that it pushes the negative content off the front page. Other types of reputation management are available but they do involve longer and more complex processes.
Henry: What are the tools that I need to keep track of my online reputation?
Wayne: The tools that you need to keep track of your online reputation looking forward are reasonably simple, one way to do it depending on when you are of course, you can pay services to do it or just have staff conduct a series of searches for you on a daily basis or a weekly basis looking for negative content. It’s also quite effective to use the Google search feature to automate a search so you can script Google that it will do a search everyday for a particular set of keywords, perhaps your name or your brand or any of those things, those mentions. You can program Google so it will look for those and email you the results and that’s a bit more proactive and in your face, it’s a little easier to manage. The other tool I recommend is something that looks at backlinks that is have a look and see who is linking to your website and follow those links and see what sites they’re coming from so that you can check and see if there’s nothing malicious going on there. What you’re concerned about is someone who says ‘And the worst pizza in the world can be found here’ and that here is a link to your shop. I’m sorry to keep talking about food, it must be nearly lunchtime.
Henry: How can we manage negative information about our brand if it’s true?
Wayne: Henry the question about how do you manage negative content about you when it’s true is really a marketing question rather than an SEO question for me. From a technical point of view, you can outweigh the negative by publishing your own truth. From a marketing perspective you would need to take advice over how you effect service recovery and what things you should do to make that work. I would be out of the line delivering advice to you like that when you really need to be talking to a marketing expert about what’s the best strategic cause of action.
Henry: For our last question, what are the ways of keeping our online reputation positive?
Wayne: The best way to keep your online reputation positive is to ensure that there is a lot of content published that has the sort of message that you want to convey, that is a positive and affirming message. Now the easiest way to make sure that there’s a lot of content published that suits your needs is to publish it yourself, provided that you don’t cut and paste things, provided that you don’t use the same content over and over. Google will actually reward you for frequently publishing original content and that after all is what we help people do. So when you frequently publish original content the sheer volume of the good things you’ve had to say the true things and affirming things outweighs and effectively pushes down any negative comments that are made. Now it’s not a universal solution but it’s probably the most effective way going forward. Frequent original content is by far the best way to ensure that what someone finds when they search for your products is positive is if you’ve published it and there’s plenty of it for Google to find.
Henry: That’s all our questions for today and thanks for being on the program.
Wayne: It’s a pleasure Henry. I’m looking forward to chatting to you next time.