By Evan Vitale
Word-of-mouth can mean everything about a business.
But certainly can everything on the Internet as well! Businesses, and business owners, should constantly keep a close eye on and monitor their online reputation.
What is online reputation?
Online reputation is the process of how your business (or you as an individual) is presented on the Internet when searched by users. This is important since many studies show customers will conduct Google searches on your company name (or your individual name as the owner) to see what type of reputation you have on the Internet.
The best way for you to check your business’ online reputation is simple: just enter the full business name into a Google search bar and review the search results.
For businesses, negative search results that may be harming your business include:
Negative business reviews in Yelp, CitySearch, Manta, Angie’s List and many others.
Newspaper articles or other media-generated news stories that might show your business in a negative way, etc.
Business or personal blogs that may reflect something negative about your company.
Legal matters, such as a business lawsuit or a court case.
When checking your company’s online reputation, dig deep and review the Top 30-50 search results in Google (3-5 pages should be plenty with 10 search results appearing per page).
Record, track and monitor any negative search results that appear between the 6th page and the 10th page in Google search results.
Due to visitor traffic and other search engine optimization elements, these negative results might eventually move up in search results and cause you harm later on.
Negative search results appearing within the first three pages of Google search results should be handled immediately.
Respond to negative reviews and try to work with customers and solve their complaint. Most of the time, helping the customer will go a long way in getting a negative review removed or converted into a positive review.
If there are any false blog posts or articles about your company, seek legal advice before contacting the website owner. Many times a letter from your attorney might get the blog removed.
News stories and legal matters might be a tougher task and may be impossible to remove from the Google index. Here, instead, work on creating more positive news for your company. Write and publish a helpful blog on a regular basis. Take and publish pictures. Create simple, helpful videos and publish them on your YouTube Channel. Lots of positive content will help “push down” the negative content within Google’s search results.