Your brand’s reputation is everything, online. When a person who doesn’t know your business stumbles across a mention of your brand on the web, for good or ill, an impression is made. When marketing on the web, two main goals should drive your efforts:

1) Present your business in the best and biggest way possible through the things you can control, such as the information you provide on your website or your social media presence

2) Monitor for the negative reviews and comments people make about your business, on the web, and mitigate their effects

Last week, I shared some suggestions for how your business can handle bad press. I realise, though, that I’d put the cart in front of the horse by not first discussing why brand reputation is so important and just how easily it can be destroyed on the web.

This being the case, I want to talk a little about the importance of protecting your brand’s reputation and how you can go about doing so with some proven web marketing tactics. Having a presence on the web but failing to manage your brand’s reputation is a disaster waiting to happen. With the rate at which people surf the web via mobile devices, failing to maintain a positive brand reputation through sound digital marketing is like pouring petrol on a fire.

The following is not only meant to give you some web marketing ideas that you can start to implement, straight away, but I hope it will also demonstrate the seriousness with which you should treat the act of protecting your brand’s reputation on the web.

Google Does a Great Job of Exposing What Some Say is Bad About Your Business

No matter what kind of business you own, someone has likely written a review of your products or services or made a mention of your company, somewhere on the web. What’s great about reviews is that when someone says something good about your brand, it can be all the convincing others need that yours is the business they want. Unfortunately, when someone says something bad about you or one of your products or services, the negative review can influence others’ impressions just as quickly or as effectively, even if the comments are based on lies.

Google makes it really easy for people to see these reviews, too, as feedback or comments made on sites like Google Places, Yelp and the like are often given the top spots on page one of search results. Remember how very few people venture beyond the first page of the search results? This means that even if there are loads of good reviews on page two, the bad someone said about you on page one will be all it takes to give your brand a bad rap and people will take their business elsewhere, as a result.

Ensure the Best of Your Brand is What People Find through Web Marketing and Other Proven Strategies

So how can you ensure the dozens of glowing reviews your restaurant has received come out on top and your brand’s reputation isn’t destroyed and tonnes of web traffic lost from that one disgruntled customer who said gulls could find fresher fish out of the rubbish heap? A good SEO campaign and web marketing!

SEO Moves the ‘Good’ to the Top and Buries the Bad

With the help of an experienced SEO team, you can make sure the positive reviews that give your brand credibility and help build a great reputation for you and your business are the ones that people see, and any of the less-positive comments aren’t so blatantly obvious.

To prove that no business or brand is immune to bad press, just do a Google search of your company name. If the first page of results contains nothing but good, you’re lucky. Others may be shocked by what they find, and this is the perfect example of why staying on top of your brand’s reputation on the web is vital to your success.

Some have accused reputation management, web marketing companies and SEO teams of taking advantage of these negative review situations to sell their services. The truth is, while free tools like Google’s Me on the Web allow business owners to monitor what’s said about their company online, few have the time or the know-how to identify and effectively manage the bad press.

A Presence in Local Directories

One of the web marketing strategies far too many business owners overlook is having a presence in local directories. Yes, these directories are the same ones that give people a platform to talk smack about your company, but they’re also places where positive reviews are made. What’s more is that if the directories automatically list your business in their database, as many of them do, claiming your company listing, adding pictures and updating the text so that it’s interesting and accurate can do a lot of good for your brand’s reputation on the web. Provide more proof that you are who you say you are!

Creating a strong presence in all of the relevant local directories also gives you the opportunity to encourage satisfied customers to leave feedback, and as I touched on earlier, there’s no better way to water down the potential effect of a bad review than with lots of positives.

Do whatever it takes to get customers to leave a good review in Google Places, Yelp or any other directory. Offer 10% off your next service or even a free product. When a good review gets noticed by hundreds or thousands of others in search results, and generates greater amounts of web traffic, leads and conversions, giving away a small incentive will seem like a pretty insignificant gesture.

Video Testimonials Offer Proof they Can See

In the same way that encouraging people to write positive reviews of your business helps protect your brand’s good name, video testimonials posted in YouTube can give your business a few more checks in the right column, especially because those who are distrusting of written reviews may be better convinced when comments are made by someone they can see and hear.

Then, with SEO, video testimonials where real live people gloat about why your business is the best can be ranked at the top of the search results where everyone can see them. This is one of the most effective ways to prove to others that your business’ website is worth a look. Besides, if someone watches a video where a customer talks about all the ways you satisfied their needs, and then they read a review from someone who was a little less-thrilled by your products or services, there’s a good chance the video testimonial will still motivate them to give you a chance.

The next time a customer raves to you about all the ways you’ve helped them, ask if they’d mind having their comments recorded, even if it’s just with an iPhone.

Use Web Marketing to Spread More of what’s Good

The more people see or read about your brand that’s positive, the less likely it is that a bad review will tarnish your reputation. Use social signalling, press releases and content web visitors will find interesting and/or useful to show Google and others that your brand is a leader in the industry. Once Google picks up on the positive buzz surrounding your business, you’ll have more assurance that when people hear about or see your brand for the first time, they’re intrigued and excited to learn more, not relegating your company to their ‘don’t bother’ list.

If you own a business, concentrate your web marketing efforts on the strategies and tactics that will not only make your brand more widely known, but that will also help protect the good reputation you’ve worked so hard to build.

To learn more about how web marketing or SEO from The SEO Company will help build and maintain the type of reputation you need to succeed on and off of the web, call The SEO Company on 1300 885 557 or email us here.


web marketing

digital marketing

Paul Gregg

Paul heads up [g]commerce and The SEO Company, and is responsible for the overall management. Paul's experience extends from various roles in sales management for large domestic and international publishing firms, as well as global digital marketing companies.

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