Whether your company’s reputation has taken a hit online or in real life, SEO can be a better management tool than a lot of traditional companies realize. Bad press can certainly follow a brand for years but trying to comment out or speak against negative content will only create more negative content with your company name attached. Positive reviews and content will have positive, long term effects, but only when conducted as part of a digital marketing campaign.
Rather than fighting a bad rep, plan around it with a positive spin in the SEO campaign you’re already building. Being successful in using SEO and digital marketing tactics as a way to manage a brand with poor standing isn’t as complicated as it sounds. Instead, it comes down to looking at social networks and negative search results as an opportunity to create a more beneficial online reputation.
An important aspect of reputation management is brand management. The handling of a brand can impact how customers perceive a product’s value. The influence of this perspective within the scope of the targeted audience can impact credibility, customer satisfaction and value, loyalty, and brand awareness. In short, if people think a brand is valuable, then it is valuable. If a brand is perceived as less valuable or untrustworthy, the value drops.
If there is negative content that specifically mentions the company’s name, there needs to be as much, if not more, beneficial content that mentions the company’s name just as directly. While most companies have plenty of positive press online, they often forget to specifically mention their name. Negative comments, however, rarely leave out a specific callout. In search engine optimization, the content that is the most relevant is what gets viewed first in SERPs.
Worthwhile content that doesn’t associate as closely with the name or mission of the brand won’t rank as well as negative content that is specific to the company. This is due to the relevancy of the content. Useful pages that portray the company favorably should use the name of the company in the URL as often as possible to indicate it is closely related to the company. This will help SERPs put the more positive content higher in rankings by letting them know the two are related.
Social Media Profiles and Domain Names
The more online presence associated with the company name that you have control over, the better the outcome. Creating domains that have positive content and creating social media accounts to match will have high value while building up online reputations. There are times when a company will share the same, or a similar, name. In these cases, the reputation of the other company can impact how your brand is seen. If they are seen in a positive light, it can help your company get better reviews. In some cases, the other company’s reputation could be what led to your poor reputation to begin with.
Registering a domain name, or sometimes a few domain names, and creating several social media profiles can help. The most important aspect is content. Effective content on the domain name that matches the social media profiles will help lessen the impact of harmful content by adding something productive. The most popular social media websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, should be built out. However, lesser known and used social media sites such as Delicious, StumbleUpon, and Pinterest can also be valuable while cleaning up a bleak reputation.
Responding to Reviews
Reviews can contribute to how well or poorly received a brand is online. If there are no reviews, it can harm a brand more than having negative reviews, much like having no content. When there are bad reviews, there are people discussing the brand and there is also an opportunity to respond and create a positive interaction. Sometimes, a bad review will have factual errors. Providing a positive response to correct or clarify the errors without attacking the person that posted can boost how a brand is seen.
It is also important to show appreciation for positive reviews. Some companies make the mistake of only acknowledging negative feedback in an attempt to correct poor reviews. However, also similar to content, focusing on the positive and appreciating customers that took the time to say something nice can have a bigger impact on reputation management efforts. For negative reviews, a brand can still be positive in response.
Apologizing for the experience the customer had, rather than going on the offensive or apologizing for a mistake that may not have happened, shows compassion for the customer experience. After all, even if the company did not make a mistake, the brand should still be concerned with the real-life customer experience, even when the person is being unreasonable. Other potential customers will see how the reviewer was treated and will expect a similar experience with the brand. If the review was responded to with respect, they will expect respect. If the brand was striking back, a potential customer might assume the company is difficult to work with, regardless of how irrational the reviewer behaved.
Using SEO can help with a brand’s identity and reputation, but customer service is the most powerful tool in rewriting the narrative. Positive reviews can push down negative results. Further, a company needs the product and service to be the aspect of the company customers hear the most about. Around 85% of customers report trusting online reviews as much as a personal friend. This means every new customer has the potential to turn around a bad reputation. A company that treats customers well will earn its standing through continued good service.
When choosing reputation management companies, it’s important that the company is looking at the bigger picture. Focusing only on SEO or only on new customer acquisition won’t yield the best results.
At 1Digital Agency, our team looks at every aspect of a company’s brand. For some companies, the negative reviews are few and simply need the time and care of a thoughtful response. For others, there are more complicated issues leading to a negative review of the company. Check out our website or call us at (215) 809-1567 today to discuss your reputation management needs.
- Dan Kogan
- March 28, 2019