Reputation Management – Where SEO Meets Local Business Marketing

Why Reputation Management?

Your name and reputation is the most valuable asset belonging to you and your company.

Unfortunately, that reputation can be destroyed by even one individual or company that decides to slander your name online. This can be one Internet-savvy former client or former employee. Even one unhappy person can go to multiple review sites, forums, and blogs and destroy your name and your reputation, by a heavy campaign of complaints, slander, and either negative or false comments about you or your company.
With the proliferation of “local business marketing”, local review sites are everywhere. If someone searches for “your profession at your city” (dentist in Smalltown, State or Billy Smith in BigCity, State), many of these review sites will pop up on a Google search, and any complaints can take up most of the listings on the first page of Google, Yahoo, or Bing Search. One person posting on 10 major review sites for the city in which you do business can result in up to 10 bad listings on the first page of Google Search. Usually, all ten won’t show up, but it is not at all unusual for at least 5 negative listings to show up.
This can put you out of business. So, what can you do about it?

What Can You Do About Your Reputation?

First, Be Honest with Yourself

• First, be honest with yourself. Is anything true? If so, you must start with correcting the problem. If you own a restaurant, perhaps you chef didn’t show up one day and the substitute chef didn’t really live up to your restaurant’s reputation. If you own any type of service business, be sure that the “first point of contact” is professional and responsive. One bad contact with your business by a client is enough to get someone in the mood to write a bad review.
• If you have a problem, correct it.

Don’t be Defensive

• If you know the person that had the bad experience, contact them and apologize (if you were at fault).
• If you had a bad review on a local business site, you can often respond to the review. Many review sites, but not all, will allow you to post your response to a posted review. Be polite – do not escalate the situation. State the facts, give apologies if appropriate and state how the issue is being corrected if it was a real problem.
• Never attack the person that wrote the review. Never argue with a reviewer.
Can You Make the Bad Review Go Away?
• You can generally not get rid of the bad reviews that are out on the Internet. They are most likely there to stay.
• What you can do is combat their influence.

Poison Doesn’t Disappear, but Poison Can be Diluted

If your business has been attacked by a few reviewers, you need to think of those negative reviews as poison in a container. An ounce of poison in a cup may kill a person. But take that same ounce of poison and put it in a bucket, and it becomes less lethal. Take that bucket with the same ounce of poison and throw it into a swimming pool, and the poison can hardly be detected. It is probably diluted enough that a scoop of water from the pool would no longer be lethal. Poison can and should be diluted. Adding good comments and good reviews to the Internet gradually dilutes the effect of the poisonous comments that are currently out there.

How Do You Dilute The Poisonous Comments?

• First You Determine Your Current Status
You must first establish a monitoring system that determines where you are when you start and then tracks progress monthly to determine what change has occurred in your online presence.
• Determine the “Keywords” of Importance to Your Business
Determine the important search terms for your business. A good local business consultant can help you through this process. The big question is this: “If a potential client was trying to find you using Google search, what would he or she type into the search bar?” The most common search phrases become your important “Keywords”.
• Develop a Strategy for Collecting, Distributing, and Monitoring Reviews for Your Business
This does not mean making them up. Never make up reviews. Reviews need to be honest and represent your clients’ or customers’real opinions of your business. Your task is to help your clients submit these reviews.

What Do You Need to Know About Review Submission?

Here are the top things you need to know about reviews:
1. They must be submitted from real customers and they must be real reviews.
2. They cannot all be submitted at one time. Google is smart and they want things to look natural. If they suddenly receive 50 reviews about the same company, they will get suspicious. If your reviews are suspect, they might not show up in Google search, or worse, they might be removed from the review sites.
3. All customers are much more likely to submit reviews when they are unhappy than when they are happy. That really stinks, but it is so. Think of your own situation. If you are really unhappy about the service you received from a local business, you want to let everyone know. You shout from the highest mountain – this is the equivalent of writing many online negative reviews. If it takes 10 steps to submit a review, you will do it because you must be heard.
4. If you are happy with a company or service, you may say thank you to the provider, but you are much less likely to go online and write a review. You will probably tell a friend or two, but you are less likely to first find an online review site, go through whatever series of steps you need to go through to register on that site, and then write the review. Too much effort.
5. So, getting your customers or clients to write online reviews takes some doing. You need a process that encourages writing and posting reviews. You need to be sure that those reviews aren’t all coming from the same computer. (Review sites know the IP address and don’t take well to seeing the same IP, therefore the same computer, being used to write multiple reviews about the same business.
Reviews Are the Life Force for Local Businesses and You Need Help Making Them Happen

A company with training in review management will help you get your customer or client reviews done in a manner that optimizes your online presence. They will help you collect the reviews, determine the appropriate sites for posting those reviews, implement a system for collecting and posting those reviews that meets the requirements of the review sites and of Google, and will drip those reviews at the appropriate frequency to avoid red flags from the Google police.

Overall Strategy for Local Business Reputation Management

Develop and Implement a Process for Collecting and Distributing Customer/ Client Reviews
This was discussed earlier. A process needs to be developed and systematized to maximize the reviews submitted to local review sites. Reviews need to be dripped at “natural” intervals to avoid the “wrath” of Google and of the review sites.

It Is All About the Top Twenty

• The vast majority of people search and look at the first page of results. The more industrious will click next and also look at the second page of results. That is 10 results from the first page and an additional 10 from the second. Twenty Results.
• If you have a local business and have not intentionally managed your reputation, the first 20 results could be reviews from the same person on 10 or more different sites.
• If you manage what appears in search results, you can strongly influence what they see on those 20 results. You can have 20 good results instead of a majority of bad results.
Claim and Optimize Your Google Places Listing
• You have a Google Places Listing whether you know it or not. You have it whether you claimed it or not. Google set up a page for most local businesses and that page is publishing reviews of your business. The information about your business may not be accurate.
• It is Google’s intent to replace antiquated listings such as phone book business listings. Most phone books are tossed or used as door stops. People that are looking for a local business are going online, doing searches and looking for reviews of that business.
• When a potential client or customer searches for a local business with Google (or Yahoo or Bing), the first few listings are now Google Places listings. If you are not showing up, or if your competitors are showing up ahead of you, or if you have bad reviews on your listing, your business is suffering even if you don’t know it yet.
• The reviews that show up on Google Places Listings come from many different places. Some people may have gone directly to that listing and submitted a review. But Google has a robot that visits all of the major local review sites, and it collects reviews and adds them to your Google Places Page. So even if your angry customer did not post directly to the Google Places page, there is a good chance that their angry review will show up there anyway.

Establish a Presence on High Page Rank Sites

• Google rates websites. High Page Rank sites have been around for a while and get lots of visitors. When something is published on a site with High Page Rank, it is more likely to appear in Google search results.
• Posting positive information about you and your company on High Page Rank Sites increases the chance that the client or customer searching for your business will be presented with the good information you have posted on the Internet rather than the bad information some disgruntled person might have posted.
• Posting regularly on Blogs, forums, other sites with High Page Rank is the key to reputation management.
• Our approach to reputation management includes dominating search engine results with favorable posts, reviews, articles and more about your company. This dilutes and neutralizes negative information found about you when people use the 3 primary search engines.

Manage Social Media

• Facebook and Twitter are not just for kids socializing with friends. They have become key business management tools. If you are not managing your profile and image on Facebook and Twitter, someone else might be doing it for you.
• We create powerful Social Network Profiles and manage your presence on these networks.
• Since Twitter is also used as a major search engine, you need to be sure the search results are favorable to you and your business.

Press Release Campaigns

• We create multiple press releases about you and your company and distribute the press releases throughout a large network of PR websites like PRWEB, Yahoo News, PR.com, and many more.
• Google loves News and they treat press releases as News. A stream of positive press releases will help push down any negative reviews and move up the positive search results shown for you and your company.

Video Marketing

• Search engines love video. Strategically created and placed video’s quickly spread positive information about you and your company. These are submitted to multiple sites that have high Page Rank and these also tend to get excellent placement in search results.

Overall

• An individual situation may require all or some of these techniques. Each situation is assessed, a baseline is observed, and constant monitoring of progress takes place. This is an ongoing effort but has the potential to not only remove negative publicity and reviews, but to also increase business by generating new leads using the most powerful advertising medium in existence today – Local Business Search.