Reputation management is the practice of managing what the public sees on a search engine results page (SERP) about a particular business. Reputation management is a proactive strategy to protect your online presence and brand; it requires a pre-existing strong and positive online presence. As a result, reputation management is done through monitoring internet mentions and maintaining a positive presentation in web searches.
Businesses must work to improve the rankings of positive content. Reputation management analysis includes keyword research, content optimization, link building, and coordinating all of this information into a recovery plan. More specifically, reputation management entails the following best practices:
- Optimize Google My Business listing
- Continually create new content (and maintain/update all existing content)
- Develop primary and secondary brand name focus pages from your website
- Build authoritative backlinks
- Conduct in-depth keyword research for medium and long-tail keywords
- Optimize social media profiles
- Create and tag high quality images and videos
- Respond quickly and genuinely to reviews, comments, and messages
In addition to creating and building a strong online presence, reputation management can help your company avoid reputation crises and remedy them quickly if they do occur.
Why Reputation Management Matters
Every single day, people make buying decisions based on reviews and online mentions of certain businesses. Digital reputation management is critical for your company’s success because it monitors, identifies, and influences your digital reputation and credibility online. Consider the following statistics:
- 92% of consumers read online reviews (eTailing Group).
- 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (Search Engine Land).
- 59% of businesses have encountered a PR crisis, but only 54% have a plan in case it happens (reputationmanagement.com).
Reputation management allows companies to counter negative feedback and promote the experience of positive reviews and mentions. There is no question that reputation management is important because it establishes trust and credibility with current and potential customers, helps company’s recruit new employees, and showcases a successful corporate image.
Common Misconceptions of Reputation Management
First, it is critically important to counter the popular misconception that SEO and reputation management are not connected. SEO is absolutely important to reputation management because it helps shape the information that appears when someone conducts a Google search.
Other common misconceptions regarding reputation management include the following myths.
Myth #1: A company’s online reputation cannot be controlled. This is not true; while you may not have control over bad reviews, you do have control over your response to these reviews. If you ignore bad comments, it will further tarnish your brand’s reputation. A polite, appropriate, response can generate goodwill with current and potential customers.
Myth #2: Deleting bad reviews will solve your problems. This myth is false because valid reviews cannot be deleted in most cases. Instead, reputation management helps you strategize how to respond to these reviews. Additionally, customers that point out a consistent concern with a business might help identify an operational issue that can be addressed.
Myth #3: No reputation is better than a bad reputation. This is false, for a variety of reasons. If your site does not have any reviews or comments, modern customers will question the validity of your brand and messaging. Plus, without reviews (and in particular Google reviews), your company will struggle to show up in local search results).