When a person searches for a company or a specific person using Google, what results come up? The results may be shown in different ways, this depending on the environment of the SERP (search engine results page).
Let’s take an example. Put your own company name into Google.
What results Do You See?
The majority of the time, the first thing you will see in position 0 will be an advertisement for your brand, underneath this in the first organic results position your homepage, and underneath, several review websites.
But, let’s say that you see something entirely different? What if in position 1 you find an advertisement for a different brand other than your own? Or let’s say that several reviews show up, but they are negative reviews?
These questions need to be addressed. But, before we do, we are going to take a closer look at what SEO management is, and how you, as owner of a website, can address it.
What Is Online Reputation Management (ORM)?
Online reputation management or ORM is the practice of influencing the public’s perception of a service, product, or brand on the internet. A perception of a brand or service that is positive or negative can have a huge impact on its growth.
Let’s say that a business currently rates with 1.5 stars on Google Reviews. Customers may have a negative view on the company or brand, its product, customer service, practices. Reading these negative reviews, people may avoid using the company.
The reality is however often different, as the majority of people who actually bother to leave reviews are generally those who have had a bad experience. So, there are some tactics that you need to apply in order to increase the number of positive reviews you receive.
This isn’t however the only factor that’s important in reputation management, there being several other challenges faced by businesses.
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What Challenges Are There In SEO Reputation Management?
Reputation management includes both search engines and social media.
For SEO’s influences and reputation management for your brand, we ae going to cover the challenges that are specific to search engines.
When a reviewer is very upset, he can leave a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Also, competitors can play dirty, making comparison web pages that can potentially take over your brand’s SERP. Obviously, this isn’t playing by the rules, but it does happen. There are lots of obstacles found online that may potentially steer customers away from your service or product.
It is unfortunate that many 3rd party websites and their content are completely out of your control. Depending on the sources of information used by these websites, and how their reviews are performed, the websites may say varying things about you and your business practices.
We will go into some practices you can implement in order to influence these 3rd party websites later.
Other challenges that you may face when managing your SEO reputation include poor customer service and internal operations, negative link building, and incorrect reporting of information on directories and Google My Business (GMB).
As a business and brand owner, you can overcome these challenges by implementing a combination of tactics in online SEO and reputation management.
How Does SEO Influence Your Online Reputation Management?
Search engine management is the strategy and execution by which your brand becomes discoverable on search engines such as Google. Online reputation management is the process by which you manage the online reputation of your brand.
If you are currently nowhere to be found on search engines such as Google, you currently have no brand or reputation you need to manage! However, with proper SEO execution tactics, your brand will become visible to your target audience.
The one issue you may have here is if your brand, service, employees, or product currently have a lot of negative reviews. If this is the case, you may want to put you SEO execution on hold and concentrate first on the internal kinks. If you plough into your SEO without first concentrating on your internal kinks, this could lead to more negative PR and reviews.
With the correct combination of ORM and SEO, you can drive large amounts of growth online.
Generally speaking, reputation management should be a long-term tactic. However, there are some things you can implement in the short-term to mitigate the negative effects of bad PR and bad reviews.
8 Reputation Management Tactics For Managing your Brand
1. Create Content That Is High Quality And Evergreen
Evergreen content is content that is relevant and will continue to stay relevant to your audience, created for SEO purposes.
Let’s take an example that your brand is a clothing brand and that you are writing content on “how to fold clothing properly”. This content would be considered evergreen, as the way you fold your clothes properly is not going to change over time.
The influence of your evergreen content for your brand will develop over time, and you will start to build an audience that is broader. If you are struggling with your SEO reputation management, you may like to consider writing an evergreen piece of content, thus ensuring potential customers learn about you, from you.
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2. Develop Your Brand
Writing content that is evergreen isn’t the only way to develop your business’ brand. Other great ways to develop your brand include video marketing, social media, and blogging.
More than 3.2 billion people across the globe use social media, around 54% of users using their channels to research products. Chances are someone out there is looking for your product or service.
Blogging can generate billions of impressions through email, social media, and Google Searches, some of the top blogs generating more than a million users every month from just blog posts.
Another versatile way to market your brand is through video marketing.
Video marketing however is not just about YouTube, it can also be a series of social media posts, a podcast, or it can even be turned into a blog. Always remember, creating video content is one of the important investments to promote your brand.
3. Respond To Complaints And Reviews
Complaints and reviews can make or break a decision from a potential customer to buy your product or use your service.
Websites you need to be aware of are Google, Yelp, and BBB.
A lot of industry-specific reviews websites use BBB as a source of complaints, although there is some controversy over ratings found on BBB.
Even if you have a lot of negative reviews on BBB, you can maintain an excellent rating by addressing all complaints individually.
Many people use Yelp for local searches as it is highly authoritative, and will provide you with both sponsored and organic results.
A potential customer will look for a specific brand and then for ratings.
It is therefore crucial to maintain a positive image on Yelp and other review sites. Interacting with your customers and responding to complaints will often encourage people to change the review they leave.
Google My Business uses Google Maps and Google Search to host business profiles, local businesses creating and optimizing their own GMB account.
When you own a GMB account, your customer reviews will be shown underneath your brand name.
These reviews are very influential, as Google takes the relevance and quality of the reviews and use them to rank your business. A lot of positive reviews mean that you are more likely to show up on maps for your targeted keywords.
Once again, you should respond to reviews, especially negative ones, as Google will see this as an active attempt by you to improve your Brand.
4. React Internally To Customer Complaints
The ranking of your brand is affected by complaints and reviews. Gathering insight from these reviews and complaints can influence you to make internal changes.
For example, if a review specifically mentions a sales executive in a negative way, you should speak to that individual employee. It is your job to respond to negative reviews and complaints, as this will mitigate the risk of your brand receiving more similar complaints in the future.
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5. Become Proactive Through Internal Operations
When you become proactive about internal processes that may be having a negative impact on your business, you are indirectly influencing SEO and ORM.
When you better understand what is causing bad reviews, you can learn how to mitigate these causes in the future.
The majority of bad reviews are to do with the quality of your product or service. However, focusing on internal processes can also boost your profitability.
6. Perform Digital PR
This strategy can be used to grow your brand through outreach, citation building, link building, and SEO reputation management.
Relationship Development And Management
In digital PR, managing and developing relationships is what differentiates you from other businesses reaching massive publications for exposure, links, or mentions.
Digital PR is all about how your potential customers view you, and your ability to build, over time, a trustworthy brand that is highlighted in the media.
When you manage and develop relationships correctly with credible companies, your exposure will also increase.
When a website mentions you without using a direct link, this is known as a brand mention.
This provides context and value to visitors of other websites, so they will learn who you are and how you can help them. It also allows potential customers to Google your brand, brand equity then being generated by these simple searches.
Brand mentions also provide excellent link-building opportunities.
Posts on someone else’s quality blog can provide you with link equity and brand equity.
Writing guest posts will help build a community within your industry.
Guest posting can be used for SEO reputation management, when you accurately target certain high-traffic-volume websites. In order to pitch on high authority websites, you must produce the highest quality of content.
7. Be Interactive On Google My Business
Google uses a sophisticated algorithm to decide which webpages should rank the highest. GMB hosts business profiles that can be found by potential customers.
For local searches, local links and local keyword targeting are deemed to be very important by Google.
You can create and optimize information on your GMB account, including creating information for your customers informing them of a sale that will be published to your account.
Posts and photos that are unique will create a positive use experience, which in turn will have an impact on your SEO and brand reputation.
8. Look For 3rd Party Review Sites On The Internet
There are literally hundreds of 3rd party websites out there that hold value in your industry, not just Yelp, GMB, and the major directories.
A good example is Clutch, a website used by B2B firms for reviews and analyzing that can show off the quality of your service or product.
It is crucial for B2B companies to be mentioned on Clutch, as the website holds a significant market share for many valuable search terms.
When deciding which directories to add your business to, create a list of bottom-of-the-funnel buying intent keyword, pulling the reviews generated from those SERPS.
Then go on to narrow down your list to the directories that have the best quality reviews and number of monthly visitors. This can be done using SEMrush and Moz.
Some 3rd party sties have a big impact on your ability to sell your product or service, meaning your need to prioritize your list, strategizing how you will optimize your information for those websites.
How A Digital Agency can manage your Brand’s Reputation through SEO and Digital PR
Your digital marketing agency should take care of your digital reputation management from all angles. It builds your SEO reputation from all angles, driving revenue and growth for your business. Their strategy should be carefully aligned with your business goals.