Despite how hard we try, sometimes a hard blow to our online reputation is inevitable. This kind of misfortune happens to the best of us, but the good news is there are several ways to mend the damage. This article will outline constructive ways to both repair and manage your business’ online reputation.
Why should I invest time in managing and repairing my online reputation?
It is always better to catch a problem in its tracks rather than let a disaster play out and wreak total havoc. The same can be said about online reputation management. Online reputation management allows businesses to remain in a positive light and avoid PR scandals.
Reputation management should be a top priority for businesses, as this technique allows a business to both protect and have more control over their public image. Now more than ever, technology is rapidly advancing, and most of us are glued to our phones and computers. The internet has become a valuable research tool for consumers and often provides information that is extremely important in purchase decisions.
A recent Google search survey reveals that the majority (51 percent) of respondents stated that they “very frequently” or “often” make important life decisions based on information found on Google. The percentage for other types of decisions is a bit lower, as 39 percent of respondents said they make important legal decisions and 46 percent make important medical decisions based on Google search results.
Statistics concerning consumer decision-making provided by Moz.
These numbers provide an illustration that helps explain why online reputation management is so important. The image demonstrates how strong reputation management and repair can improve a business’ visibility and influence. The better a business ranks on search engines and the more positive the search results appear, the higher chance that consumers will give that brand a chance.
Since a large part of the world does business online and is influenced by Google search results, a successful business must take preventative measures to protect their image. If there comes a time when something does go wrong, that business should do everything in its power to combat negativity.
How a Business Can Repair and Manage its Reputation
Seeking the guidance of a public relations or reputation management firm is a great, effective way to manage and repair your online presence to avoid bad press and a loss of profit. Reputation management firms specialize in helping businesses and public figures flip their public image to that of a positive one. However, if your business does not have the resources just yet to afford this extra help, there are a few steps you can take on your own to help your brand avoid negative search results.
Methods That Repair and Maintain Your Digital Image
- Remove the negativity
Our parents and teachers have annoyingly engraved this into our heads for years, but it is true— once negative information is out there, it is hard to erase. If you posted an offensive or questionable tweet, video, or photo, you can delete it, and eventually, it will be removed from search engine caches. It is also possible to reach out to Google and request to remove your personal information, however, the time it takes to take down the information varies from case to case.
Google, Yelp, and other online networks can also remove negative reviews of a business if they violate the terms of service for the review sites. Reporting inappropriate reviews is one easy way to protect your business’ rating and perception online.
- Produce Robust, Positive Content Using Search Engine Optimization
Businesses have the power to create their own content, which can drive negative search results down in Google rankings. To both manage or repair their reputation, a business should frequently post across their social media platforms and blog forums. A successful business should be running an active page on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, as these platforms often appear at the top of web searches.
Throughout online posts, specifically blog posts, a business should include hyperlinks to their other posts. Search engines keep track of the number of times a page is linked and are more likely to recommend your website or posts the more that your content is linked to.
Your business’ posts across these platforms can feature your brand’s thoughts on current events, advice for consumers, or positive reviews that will emphasize your customer loyalty and satisfaction. Additionally, online posts should aim to include multimedia content like photos and videos. In general, highlighting your business’ values and mission through social media posts creates a strong social media presence and positive sentiment among target audiences.
Another helpful Search Engine Optimization (SEO) trick that can repair or protect a business’ reputation is to fix default title tags. Following this technique consists of changing a few lines of HTML on your blog page. WordPress has a convenient SEO Title Tag feature to help with this process.
- Communicate With Outside Contacts
If the source of damage to your business has come from a news source, it does not hurt to contact the editor or author and request that they delete or update the content. If you decide to reach out to a news outlet, you should remain as polite as possible, as news publications often do not remove content upon request. If your business has connections with other media sources, it is likewise advantageous to be quoted by publications or contribute content to them. Taking the latter route will direct more attention towards your business’ personal brand and gain potential admirers.
Managing and Repairing Your Business’ Online Reputation is Difficult, But Not Impossible.
Messy crises and unpleasant commentary can devastate a business’s online appearance. These instances can rank your business lower on search engine results, limiting your potential outreach. Damaging words very well may paint a misconstrued image of your business and its values so it is important to take charge of the situation as soon as possible. Managing and repairing your business’ online reputation helps to ensure that your business not only ends up on the first pages of results on Google but also appears with overwhelmingly positive links.