Reputation Management: How to Maintain Your SEO Reputation
Life is peachy when you’re using SEO to expand your brand’s reputation and soar up the search rankings. Everything’s going smoothly, and all you need to do now is to spread the word. Nothing would be sweeter than seeing your brand’s name at the top of every subject-related search.
There’s that old phrase, ‘all publicity is good publicity.’ It turns out that this isn’t entirely true when it comes to search rankings.
All it takes is a few negative online reviews of your brand. Suddenly, you’re at the top for all the wrong reasons. People don’t just search for best X service. They also search for worst X service and company name + reviews.
Say you’re an internet service provider. It’s a crowded market for a fairly basic function. Sure, everyone would love faster cable. What people don’t want is Wi-Fi that cuts out every few hours. So they seek out online reviews to find out which service has the most complaints and the worst customer service.
You never, ever want this to be you.
How Do You Manage Negative Search Results?
If you find that you’re a top search term for the wrong reasons, the first thing to not do is panic. As with most things, help is available. Reasons for negative search rankings include:
- Poor online reviews from customers
- Poor online reviews from professional reviewers
- A negative response from your company to online reviews
- Competitors painting you in a bad light
The second reason is generally the least common. Professional and affiliate reviews tend towards promoting a product or at least noting the positives, and it’s relatively rare that a reviewer would bother to seriously drag a business. If they do, then it’s often because reasons #1 and #3 also apply. Either that or they just have an ax to grind.
What you need to do is to get in touch with SEO reputation management specialists and explain the situation. From there, work can begin to minimize damage and recover your good name.
What is SEO Reputation Management?
SEO stands for search engine optimization. SEO practices are traditionally used to boost a webpage up the search rankings. Conversely, SEO reputation management strategies can bury negative online reviews of a business.
Many businesses with negative search results don’t deserve them. The internet is terrific for businesses because it has improved customer engagement so much. It’s also terrible for businesses because it means that your worst customers now have the power to search and destroy.
The search algorithms that sites like Google use to return the most relevant content are ferociously intelligent. However, they are still mechanical — they can determine quality, but not truthfulness.
To put it simply, if several online reviews are considered ‘well-written and informative’ by the algorithm’s standards, the reviews will be promoted up the rankings regardless of how untrue the content is.
SEO reputation management combats this by suppressing negative information and promoting positive information. This is accomplished through a mixture of positive engagement and link-building.
Negative search results can’t be removed completely. However, they can be pushed down the rankings to a point where nobody will see them. This is what reputation management seeks to achieve.
Do I Need SEO Reputation Management?
If you’re asking yourself this question, the answer is probably yes. The cause of the problem may be fairly mild — perhaps you own a restaurant and have some lukewarm reviews.
The problem is only half ‘how bad is the review?’ The real problem is how prominent the negative information is. What do people see when they search for your business? A lot of decisions are made in those few seconds.
What Can I Do For My Online Reputation Management?
Before you take any steps, it’s advised that you get in touch with an SEO reputation management specialist. They’ll be able to assess the issue and provide guidance for any initial steps you can take.
We understand that you want to do something straight away, and we applaud that! Every passing second, another person might be shown negative information about your business. Remember, though — don’t panic. Talk to an expert before you do anything.
There is one helpful practice that we can always recommend. If your business has bad online reviews, then engage positively with the reviewers.
It’s tempting to snap back when you’re being treated unfairly, but negative or insulting language never features in search algorithms for the best businesses. Don’t become part of the problem. Yes, you might be that one business in ten thousand that goes viral due to your pithy response. On the other hand… you won’t be.
How Does Reputation SEO Work?
SEO reputation management uses techniques including:
- Improving customer relations to encourage positive interaction and make negative reviewers re-assess.
- Boosting positive narratives of your business by collecting and promoting such information.
In the first instance, a reviewer on Amazon might leave a 1-star review for a faulty product. If left untreated, this will remain a blot on the record. Amazon is a high-trust site, so your product’s rating there is one of the first things a searcher will see.
Rather than ignoring the review, you adopt an SEO-led response that uses positive language and subtly encourages the customer to change their rating based on your excellent customer care. The 1-star review is gone. Search engines take these things into account.
In the second case, an SEO reputation management service collects positive online reviews of your business. This is built into a narrative that can be shared in paid content by authoritative sources, such as an ‘online reviews’ section of a buyer’s guide.
SEO strategies that boost your brand’s image in search rankings and push negative reviews down are the cornerstone of reputation management.
Is Reputation Management Negative SEO?
‘Negative SEO’ essentially means ‘dirty tactics.’ Examples of this include:
- Creating content to associate rival brands with keyword spamming.
- Blackballing negative reviewers using fake accounts.
- Building links from sketchy websites to drive down competitors/critics in the rankings.
This is an updated form of ‘black hat’ SEO. Do you remember when some businesses thought that the best way to promote a website was to repeatedly spam a keyword or phrase? That was ‘black hat.’
The search engines cottoned onto that quickly. Now, the tactic is to make your rivals look as if they’re using black hat SEO, as the search algorithms take a very dim view of this.
Relax. SEO reputation management has nothing to do with either of these practices. For the most part, Google is way too smart to be fooled by cheap tricks anyway. Any SEO expert will tell you that trying to outsmart Google is the fastest way to achieve the opposite of what you were hoping for.
A good reputation management service focuses on results-based solutions that are built from your business’s strengths. This is the only true way to see your SEO reputation recover and grow.
Is Reputation SEO Expensive?
The cost of reputation management varies depending on the situation. A campaign that will involve intensive link-building and suppressing information on generally trusted sites will be time-consuming. Dealing with a few bad online reviews is fairly quick and painless, by comparison.
The cost reflects the amount of work needed. Talk to a specialist to find solutions that are suitable for your marketing budget.
One thing for sure is that the cost of hiring SEO reputation management specialists is tiny compared to the damage your business can suffer from a poor reputation. If you need help with reputation management, get in touch with us!