An important element of search engine optimisation and any form of internet marketing is that of reputation management. Part of the wonder of the internet is that it allows people to speak freely about their likes and dislikes without censor however for businesses this can open up a minefield.
For your customers the web offers an array of review sites and blog forum where they can give their honest opinion about the services and products you offer. If this is a negative experience and the reviews find themselves at the top of the search pages it can be extremely damaging. There is also the threat of unscrupulous sources taking the opportunity to damage the company credibility so a strategic internet reputation management strategy is essential to protect your business from attack.
Tools for online reputation management
The key to success is to be prepared and to constantly monitor the internet for negative posts. There are a range of tools out there that can be used, many of which are free:
One of the most straightforward ways of monitoring your keywords and company name is to set up Google Alerts. This will send a feed of any related content about your company or market to an email address where you can monitor any negative comments and react to them quickly.
This tool can be used to look at blog posts and follow any trends. Again you can track specific keywords and your company name.
Twitter can again be useful for tracking and you can use the searches to monitor any geographic terms.
Netvibes is a great way of setting up a range of RRS feeds to track negative content. It’s handy as it can be used on smartphones.
Acting on information
However collating all this data will add nothing to your reputation management if you fail to act upon the information there. When looking at negative content you need to firstly ascertain who is responsible for the content. Is it a customer, a competitor or an outside party? Once you have all your information you then need to alert other areas of the business. Inform sales and marketing and if the bad press is regarding product quality let R&D know.
The best way of countering negative results is to respond directly in a positive way. If the negative content has been posted by a dissatisfied customer then this is a golden opportunity to turn things around. Once you have shown your audience you’ve taken steps to remedy the issue you can then start to monitor any change in sentiment towards the company. You may also need to tweak any PR and marketing messages to communicate the changes you have made. Also keep a track on your analytics and monitor any traffic spikes that appear for certain webpages or come from certain sources so you’re always one step ahead.
At Searchengineoptimization.co.uk we offer a wide range of services to support your online business including comprehensive advice on online reputation management.