Reputation is a valuable asset, especially today, where corporate scandals and fake news proliferate on the Internet. The worst part is that people tend to believe fake news, for instance, more than those from reputable sources. These disasters require a creative approach: reputation monitoring management.
How is online reputation ruined?
The brand itself can inflict damage on its own reputation. For instance, imagine how a single dim-witted tweet can destroy a brand’s reputation. Remember in 2014 when DiGiorno was too quick to jump into the #whyistayed trend without grasping the context of the hashtag? Hint: it’s about domestic violence. But the pizza brand offered a clumsy response – a tone-deaf message – as if saying women stay in abusive relationships because of, well… pizza. It’s definitely a #cringeworthy PR nightmare!
But the damage to a brand’s reputation can be due to oblivious consumers. The kind of customers who would leave negative reviews because they did not get what they wanted; yes, they exist. Of course, there are legit reviews from disgruntled customers. Perhaps, they received the wrong item, or the item’s quality did not match their expectations. Anything can go wrong, and the bad experience inclines people to write negative reviews. Not just with online businesses, but this can also happen to celebrities, athletes, advocacy groups, charity organizations, etc.
But, as a brand, you need to be wary of what your consumers know and what others tell about your business. Negative press alters the way your target audience sees your brand. So, don’t expect to win their business if negative reviews are the first or only things they see online about your brand. Moreover, websites bearing these reviews are permanent unless the reviewers themselves will delete them. So, you want to drown these negative reviews so that the positive press stands out.
This is where the role of reputation monitoring becomes indispensable. But…
What is reputation monitoring?
Reputation monitoring or reputation management is a digital strategy aimed at effectively managing brand mentions and online reviews across different platforms. Reputation monitoring experts ensure that your prospective customers find the correct information about your brand or business.
Also called reverse search engine optimization (SEO), it follows a different approach, albeit having the same goal as the actual SEO efforts. That is to strengthen your brand authority and credibility. You would want to put your digital assets in places where the target audience can see and interact with them. You want your target market to see your brand favorably. Thus, reputation management compels you to shape and control the narrative around your brand.
Nonetheless, online reputation management (ORM) is the actual digital marketing service you should be acquiring. There are two key elements here: ranking the positive websites higher on results pages and outranking those pages with the negative publicity that affects the brand and overall business.
Why does reputation monitoring matter to SEO?
Negative reviews occur, and they tarnish your brand’s reputation. It may not be a scandal, but as simple as Google penalizes your website or negative reviews, that is doing a rival company to crash the competition. So, yes, this happens, though, of course, the latter can be challenging to prove.
There are two situations whereby reputation monitoring is critical to SEO.
1) Your website is penalized by Google
Google has its own sets of quality guidelines that may result in penalties when violated. The most common form of penalty is deindexing your website. It means Google would not display your website on search results no matter what you search for it. You need to determine what causes the penalty and how to bounce back.
2) Your brand receives persistent negative reviews
When the business is bombarded with negative reviews, particularly those spearheaded by your rivals, your best bet is to counteract the negative with positive press. Using the right tools and tactics, you also need to recover from these by highlighting positive reviews or addressing the negative reviews the right way.
Here are simple ways to respond to negative reviews that a digital marketing agency can help you with:
- Respond in real-time (as quickly as you can)
- Acknowledge the complaint or other feedback
- Apologize and empathize with the customer
- Take responsibility for what had happened
- Explain your side of the story but don’t be dismissive
- Take the discussion privately offline
- Make the wrong right, and don’t do it again
How to do reputation management right?
There are several crucial tactics involved in effectively managing the brand or company’s reputation. These are
1) Dominate the front page
Generally, this is the essence of optimization: page one domination. You want your users to see your owned and earned media when searching for your brand name, products, services, key people, etc.
2) Be active on social media
While you don’t need to be on every social media (relevance still matters), you need to be active on social media platforms where you have assets. In this way, you’ll have a good grasp of the general sentiment about your brand.
3) Synergize Google My Business listing
Google allows businesses to appear on search in many different ways. Google My Business listing is one of these, but the information included in it should be consistent. Otherwise, your target audience may get confused about which contact details are accurate.
4) Create content for negative keywords
Users generally conduct an online search of your brand to determine whether you are legit or not. Some would even ask on Facebook groups to ‘legit check’ certain brands and products. This is your chance to turn the negative narrative into a positive one by answering people’s questions about you.
If your business is suffering from circumstances beyond the firm’s control, an agency can help regain the authority and integrity you once enjoyed. What you need to do is SEO–reversed SEO, that is.
When faced with turbulent times, Optimind can help you recover through ORM or reverse SEO. Talk to one of our Account Executives to learn more about how we do reputation monitoring. We’ll wait!