Your online reputation matters, and it has the power to make or break your brand. According to research from Invesp, we know that:
- 72 percent of customers say positive reviews make them trust a company more
- 92 percent of customers will use a local business with at least a four-star rating
- 72 percent of customers will only take action after reading a positive review
And the most compelling statistics for businesses? Customers are likely to spend up to 31 percent more on companies with perceived “excellent reviews.”
A lot of this can feel like it’s out of your control, but that’s not entirely true. We’ll break down how you can evaluate and improve your online reputation through an unlikely hero: search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO Reputation Management: Why It Matters
SEO reputation management works to promote the parts of your business that are strong while minimizing any harmful online material. Harmful online material encompasses often includes things like:
- Bad reviews on social media
- Bad reviews on review sites
- Negative press on news sites
- Negative press on industry sites
- Defamatory websites (a website specifically created to highlight the negative aspects of your business)
These issues can hurt your business, but there are ways to improve an accumulated negative online reputation using SEO tactics. Keep in mind, reputation management shouldn’t eliminate the value you place on your consumer feedback.
Before tackling any kind of reputation management, ask yourself: what motivated this negative feedback, and is this valid criticism I can use to improve my brand? The insights you gather from those conversations can help you pivot your product or business model to deliver better results to consumers.
SEO for Online Reputation Management
Now, let’s talk about what SEO reputation management looks like in real-time. What tactics can you start implementing now to improve your brand’s reputation? The experts at Search Engine Journal shared some helpful insights:
Control the Front Page
If your business is dealing with bad press, it’s essential to control the front page of the search engine. When a potential client or customer searches for your business, your website should show up first, followed by any relevant thought leadership and social media pages to help bolster your credibility. You can achieve this through a number of SEO strategies, from backlinking to keyword research and paid search campaigns.
Stay Active on Social Media
Social media and review sites can provide excellent built-in reputation management (and rank well on search engines). Post regularly on social media pages that align with your audience, and make sure to respond to all reviews. We’ve created a great guide to responding to negative reviews, so check that out before you start typing.
Create Content About Positive Keywords
In the same vein as your social media presence, creating content about positive keywords is another highly effective strategy for online reputation management. This content allows you to highlight your business’s strengths and rank high in your target audience’s web searches.
Create Proactive Content About Potentially Harmful Keywords
This strategy might seem counter-intuitive, but it’s actually a common, boots-on-the-ground SEO reputation management tactic. Creating this type of plan is often only applicable if your business has issues that outside news outlets have picked up. Targeting negative press is the only way you’ll be able to take the narrative back. Developing content to address the issue authentically gives you a voice in the conversation about your product. Ask yourself questions like: if I was a customer that read about this issue, what would my questions be? What other terms are relevant in the search?
Publish Thought Leadership Material
Thought leadership is one of the most effective ways to build your brand and reputation. This type of content works in two distinct ways: it broadens and deepens your online footprint, and when used concurrently with a backlink campaign, it can push your website further up the search engines. This combination makes it easier for clients to find you and see what you do best.
Focus on Generating Positive New
The best way to combat negative press? Replace the negative press with positive brand stories, good reviews, and thought leadership. Many journalists are happy to hear another side of a story, and we recommend consulting a PR expert before sending your next email.
Your Brand’s SEO Reputation Management Strategy
The online world is fast-moving, but you can quickly create content that will turn your reputation around through SEO reputation management and a team of digital strategists behind you. Contact our experts today for a thorough assessment of your brand’s current online presence.