The Beginner’s Guide to Online Reputation Management

You’re a small to medium business. 

As a necessity,  you’ve adapted and have learnt the essential digital marketing basics.

From having a snazzy website, to some social media activity, to online ads. You’re doing your best. But with a limited budget, you don’t know where best to focus your marketing. You can’t afford the massive agency fees, and you don’t have time to do one of those DIY marketing courses for business owners littered across the web. 

You can’t afford to make mistakes on wasted efforts. You need results. But at a limited price. If only you had more revenue to break through and splash a bit more for a higher marketing ROI.

Chicken and the egg…

What is Online Reputation Management?

Online Reputation Management is defined by Techopedia as ‘the practice of crafting strategies that shape or influence the public perception of an organization, individual or other entity on the Internet. It helps drive public opinion about a business and its products and services.’

If you haven’t heard of this before, then it’s time to learn about it now. Digital marketing companies with SEO services know that ORM is one of the factors that makes or breaks your online visibility. Furthermore, it goes beyond the usual social media monitoring and PR stunts. It’s more than looking at negative reviews and talking to irate customers that their feedback is valued.

It’s about harnessing the power of SEO to influence prospects and current customers to drive traffic to you.  

How Do You Create a No-Nonsense Online Reputation Management Strategy?

There are many ORM strategies that help you rule SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) but a good number of them are basic: responding to both positive and negative reviews on online listings, being friendly and accommodating while responding to reviews and being true to your brand. 

However if you want to go beyond the obvious, here’s what you need to do at the very least:

1. Own the first page of your brand name searches. Treat the first page of Google like the business card that other people find on the street. If a prospect sees words like “This company is fake” or “Not worth buying from” attached to your brand name, chances are they won’t do business with you.

To remedy this, you need to put your brand pages on the first page or use aggressive SEO to mix in positive articles and blog posts about your brand. When it comes to your own pages, do a deep and thorough site audit to see which pages matter and which ones need to be taken out of your site altogether. Be sure to index those pages and re-index the ones that you’ve made changes to. Double-check if you have sufficient backlinks to your content as well.

Remember to also regularly update your social media handles, especially Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Ensure that you have the right information on each account.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to get some positive sentiment from the casual consumer, you can always reach out to influencers who talk about your industry and send them some products and ask for their feedback. Big plus points if they are more than satisfied with you.

2. Push negative reviews down SERPs. The first point will do this for you but if it isn’t enough, you really need to flush out those negative reviews off the first three SERPs – at the very least.

But what do we mean by negative? There are objectively negative reviews and there are negative reviews that are meant to really harm the reputation of the brand. We want to push the latter ones out of the way. Objectively negative reviews are insightful feedback by consumers who have used your products or service but weren’t happy with it and have set some points for improvement, or it really just didn’t work for them. You’ll need to know the difference – but most of the time they’re obvious.

So, how do you do this? 

Link Building is inherently important in dealing with these kinds of reviews. If you see more positive reviews down the line – and those that offer significant feedback to improve your product – you can link them to your website as you’ll be considered as a genuine backlink. Chances are, that negative review will go down the list.

3. Be active in Google My Business. If you are a physical establishment, then it’s important to have a Google My Business listing – claim it before the average user does and potentially harms your online reputation. This tool is completely free and millions of businesses around the world are taking advantage of it to rise up in search results.

GMB has a host of features that serve as an online directory for you. This includes user-generated content regarding your location: photos, questions and reviews. And on Google, the more quality content you acquire, the better your rankings are.

As well, you’ll need to update your Name, Address and Phone Number, collectively known as NAP, as well as categories, attributes, business hours and so on. The more information you have on your listing, the better. You can even publish Google posts at least once a week to notify current customers and prospects about any updates about your establishment, as well as new products, offers and discounts that you have for that week.

Why is this important for your online reputation management strategy?

Because 97% of customers read online reviews for local businesses before visiting. Google My Business allows users to write reviews on your listing. And if people look at your GMB listing and see your star rating, they’ll then decide if they will do business with you or not. 

It’s good practice to actively ask for reviews from your customers – either through a physical visit (show them a link or a QR code where they can write a review) or online (after-sale emails, social media posts, etc.). Beyond getting free PR, this also shows to customers that you accept feedback and are willing to learn from anything – both positive and negative.

4. Be transparent. Yes, it is risky to be transparent. But at the end of the day, it’s even riskier to be shady. The very foundation of online reputation management relies on trust and accountability – your business, after all, relies heavily on open communication as well as satisfying customers.

With these in mind, your online reputation management strategy will surely put you to the top.

Have ORM Done for You

Entrepreneurs, we understand, have more to think about than most. But curating a positive online reputation is essential for every business’s longevity, yet it’s often forgotten. Read all about how your brand can use cost-effective SEO for Online Reputation Management. Talk to us at Social Fox if you need an extra something that won’t break the bank but will win you visibility, influence and sales. Ready to conquer Online Reputation Management with an SEO company in Melbourne? Book an online appointment with us at Social Fox today and get a host of freebies just by talking with us!

Luke Stocker

Luke Stocker

I work with businesses to automate their sales and marketing.

Luke Stocker

Luke Stocker

I work with businesses to automate their sales and marketing.