- April 13, 2015
You’ve got a brand, right? Sure you do! If you own a business, you have a brand – and a reputation – whether you intended to or not. Traditional business relies heavily on reputation: customer reviews, word-of-mouth advertising, Better Business Bureau and local Chamber of Commerce ratings.
So if I’ve got my hands full managing my business reputation, why should I put thought into my online reputation? Much like SEO, your online reputation can drive sales and traffic to your business.
What is my online reputation?
Google Your Business
The best way to find out the impression you leave is to search for yourself (and your business) in a search engine. If you don't find anything, neither will potential customers. Find something ugly? Forbes.com describes ways to clean up potentially offensive information about your business. Bottom line: Create good content optimized for search engines. That will push the bad stuff off the first page.
Make Google Love your Business
Aim for that top search result on Google and other search engines. Did you know that top spot receives almost 33% of clicks from Google? Google loves to help its users, which is why the search engine giant constantly updates its search algorithms to ensure the best content shows up first.
So to make my business look really good I should do a thorough crop-dusting of positive reviews on every social network and business directory I find, right?
Hold your horses there, buddy. There’s a simpler way to get started:
Steps to Managing your Online Reputation
- Make your website awesome. It all starts with a good domain name (the website address people use to find your website). Your domain name should be succinct and relevant. A florist in Oakdale may look for a domain name like oakdaleflowers.com. Try to stay away from hyphens or underscores, if possible. First, it would be hard for users to find (“Hey John, check out oakdale-florist.com” may result in folks going to oakdaleflorist.com). Second, Google has an algorithm update from 2012 known as “exact match domain.” Essentially searches for “Oakdale flowers” will favor oakdaleflowers.com over oakdale-flowers.com.
- Create good content for good content’s sake. Google’s sniffer hounds don’t like keyword stuffing and links meant solely to boost page rankings. Focus on relevant content meant specifically for your potential customers. Put all of this content on your website where you can archive and curate it.
- Use social networks as Business Embassies. If you think you can reach more potential customers, or keep in touch with current customers, using social media, remember to use those social sites to drive people back to your website. Why? On your website you can not only track who visited, but how long they stayed, what information they liked most and how they got there in the first place. Plus you have more control over how your business brand is handled. Bottom line: Consider social media to be an embassy, encouraging people to visit your home country (website) to visit and shop. Think of information in which your customers would be interested. Include links back to your website to encourage more interaction.
- Create a Google+ page for your business. Having a Google+ page will most certainly boost your search result page rankings. It is the best free way to get your business at the top of search results.
- Stay positive when responding to online reviews. Any malicious malcontent can post negative reviews in an attempt to tank your business reputation. Knowing you can’t force review sites to remove negative reviews (even if they are completely baseless), it is best to put on your best customer service shoes and do some damage control. Most review sites allow you to post replies to reviews. Apologize for a poor experience, offer to reach out to the reviewer to come to resolution on the issue and thank them for taking the time to share their feedback. Even if you don’t reach resolution with a grump, you’ll show that you are attentive and customer service-oriented when others read the review and question whether to trust your business.
Managing your online reputation can be simple, but if you’ve got too much on your plate then Cube Creative Design can help you put your best foot forward. Contact us today to get started.