Have you ever thought about how closely brand and reputation are tied together? I think back to high school where, almost no matter your social standing, you wanted to make sure people liked you and did anything to keep up your reputation. Think about it in terms of your business now. How do you maintain your brand and good reputation. It’s more important than ever to improve and keep up a good reputation online. It’s because over 81% of people search online before making a purchase. And according to eTailing Group, over 92% of consumers read online reviews. This is where both SEO and reputation management come together. If people are able to find your product and service, and then also see that your business is reputable, you have a greater chance of them becoming a customer.
Did you know that SEO and reputation management are actually related? Of course you’ve likely heard the phrase “there’s no such thing as bad press”. But multiple indicators of bad reviews, bad articles, or information that reflects negatively about your business can mean fewer clicks through to your website and fewer customers because people don’t want to take the risk.
While SEO and reputation management are two very different pieces to the digital marketing puzzle, they can work together very well and benefit each other greatly. And if you’re an agency or company who offer reputation management services, you might want to consider offering SEO as well as a new service to complement what you offer now.
What is Reputation Management?
Just like in high school, in a business sense, controlling your reputation is partly controlling your personal brand. A good reputation means a strong brand that you can grow and expand. You want to make sure people have a positive association with your brand, which means you need to have a positive reputation as someone who provides a good experience and can handle the needs of your customers.
Reputation management is the strategy of controlling how customers perceive your brand. Public relations and other marketing activities also have some impact into this area of marketing. But reputation management includes things like soliciting customer reviews (and responding to them), getting good press through public relations, and building your brand through positive engagements at every customer touchpoint including social media and your customer service.
Overall, reputation management focuses closely on customer reviews. Especially with what seems to be hundreds of platforms from Google Business Profile, Yelp, G2, Facebook, or specialized sites like Thumbtack or FindLaw. Customers can find what people say about your business on a whole host of sites. So the idea behind good reputation management is to minimize the effects of any negative reviews because of the overwhelming number of positive interactions that most customers have with your business. If you do get a negative review, it’s important to respond to it and show those who come across it that you’ve learned from the poor interaction and are working to improve the overall customer experience based on feedback. This is one of the ways to turn a negative into a positive overall.
The Importance of Reputation Management
While this may seem like a straightforward concept, the application of it is a little more difficult. Again, reputation management plays into your overall brand management. And SEO plays into it because you want to have your website show up in the top 10 results of Google as over 95% of the clicks go to these organic SERPs. Online reviews actually can be a ranking factor. But good reviews plus good SEO with strong organic placement can benefit your business greatly. Higher rankings tend to also mean higher trust and more visibility for your company’s websites.
Strong reputation management means you appear high in the search results, you have a good and engaging social presence, and that your brand has a generally positive perception by those who come in contact with it. All of that works together to help improve your marketing efforts.
What is Reputation Management in SEO?
As we’ve explained above, the whole point of digital marketing is to improve the image of your company and gain more customers. With SEO, you can improve your organic rankings through building up the authority and trust of your website with keywords, content, link building, and other optimizations. So reputation management in SEO is the work put into improving the public image of your website through good SEO practices. Your reputation can be improved just by showing up higher in the search results.
However, strong SEO efforts can improve the appearance of your site, your brand, and show the work you put into it. But if you have any negative press coverage from a scandal, a viral negative interaction, or something else, the SEO work you put in can’t help improve how your business appears on other websites. So if there’s an article written that has a negative mention about your business, there’s not much you can do about it. But you do want to make sure the positive interactions and mentions outweigh the negative. This is where you can also rely on your customers and business partners through partnership marketing to help create positive content that can give you a good link for SEO purposes, and can potentially rank highly for a good interaction.
Again, online reviews can actually be a ranking factor, and if you have a lot of negative reviews, people might not even click through to your site, even if you have good SEO that helps it rank higher.
How to Start SEO Reputation Management
You need to start with SEO efforts to rank for your brand and company name. It’s as simple as getting the recognition for your name, thus you need to rank for anyone who searches for your business specifically. It’s situations like this where people might search for “Joe’s Plumbing reviews” on Google, and they want to see your actual business name and associated reviews at the top of the search rankings.
So how can you apply all of this learning to your business and the website? What’s good for your website and SEO efforts will be good for your reputation management as well. All these digital marketing efforts build on each other for the benefit of your business. These are the steps we recommend to improve your SEO Reputation Management.
Review Your Current SEO Efforts
Start with an audit of your current SEO efforts and where you stand currently in the organic rankings. You can use tools like Semrush or Ahrefs and Google Analytics to see how your website holds up and where you currently stand in the rankings and in your reputation. This audit will help you identify what keywords you currently rank for and see some low hanging fruit options of new keywords you can rank for.
Once you have a good idea of where you stand, you can start working on the SEO staples like link building and keyword research. Keyword research gives you opportunities to increase rankings with content creation. (we’ll talk about that in a minute) Look for specific keywords around your business or brand name. These are the keywords attached more closely to your company reputation. You want to rank for all opportunities around your brand name, for positive or negative. Your name itself may be part of a long tail search term or keyword that might be attached to a negative review. These are opportunities for you to tackle and seize all ranking opportunities.
Link building is also a key aspect to SEO. Authoritative link building can help build your online reputation with Google, and with consumers searching for your brand. Look for potential unlinked mentions of your brand. Reach out and see if they’d be willing to link back to your website. Link building primarily helps your digital reputation, but more brand mentions, more exposure of your name is never a bad thing.
A key in SEO and improving your overall online reputation comes through content. Good content is one of the top reasons to help you rank high online. And to improve your reputation, you need more than customer reviews. You need positive articles on your sites, press releases for various projects/causes or new campaigns, and reviews from influential people in your industry on other websites and social media platforms. Good content also helps you rank organically because you should write around keywords that will help you rank. The idea is to have so much positive content that it can outweigh any negative reviews or articles that might come up.
Additionally, you could create content around potential negative keywords so you control the narrative. You could write blogs about what you do, and what you don’t do, to help clearly designate your product and audience. This could get ahead of potential negative moments where someone might get angry about a potential services you don’t offer, but you clearly state your deliverables outright.
Google also likes to regularly see new content because that means you’re actively working to improve and grow your site. That’s new blogs and articles, but also new site pages and landing pages around what key specialty areas of your service, or around building up the overall knowledge around your industry. You can see an example here from Boostability where we talk about white label SEO services for local businesses, or a guide to Google’s E-A-T guidelines.
Take Advantage of Every Opportunity to Rank
You get a whole host of ways to reach potential customers through a Google results page. Paid ads show up at the top. For local businesses, you have a maps section. There’s organic results, there’s Google Business Profiles, People Also Ask (PAA) sections, and featured snippets. These are all opportunities for you. Take advantage of both SEO & PPC campaigns to improve your visibility. Make sure you have good content that could start to show up in the snippets or PPA sections. Even make sure you are active on your social media platforms that could show up for specific brand mentioned searches. Every potential customer touchpoint is one you can take advantage of to build SEO reputation management.
Update Your Google Business Profile
Because so many people use Google every day, you need to take advantage of every opportunity to rank with them. Within Google maps, if you search “plumbers near me”, you’ll get a bunch of virtual pins of plumbers you can contact. As you click on those pins, you start to research each company, and you look at the reviews. All those are collected through the Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business). If you haven’t taken advantage of that, you need to do it now. It’s completely free, and can benefit you in so many ways. Google Business Profile allows you to put all the basic information about your business in one location. You can put in your name, address, phone number, hours of operation, product information, website address, AND collect customer reviews.
Update and Utilize Your Social Media Channels
While social media won’t directly help you rank higher in SEO, it’s a key opportunity to build your brand, gain more exposure, and directly connect with your customers. This is one of the best ways to improve your reputation management because it’s one of the most direct customer facing tools you can use. And on platforms like Facebook, customers can leave reviews if you turn on that feature. So you want to make sure you stay active on these platforms. If someone comments, interact with them! Use your social media channels as a great way to show off your brand. And if a post goes viral, use that as a springboard into growth on your other platforms.
Sometimes, a bad experience happens with your business. Of course we all try to avoid that, but a negative review is inevitable. In this case it’s important to take action. Sometimes you can get a customer to remove the review by being proactive, contacting them, and doing all you can to remedy the situation. But if that’s not an option, make sure you respond to the review, and then learn from it. Improve your service, and do what you can to make sure the situation doesn’t repeat itself. Then, start to solicit reviews and feedback on that platform to push it down. You want people to first see a positive review and interaction, but they also want to see that you learn from mistakes. You certainly don’t hide or deny that an issue happened, but demonstrate through your response that you’ve learned from it.
Benefits of SEO Reputation Management
The reason why SEO and reputation management work so well together as digital products is because they work so well together. Better SEO can literally improve your online reputation. Plus, good reviews and a positive digital reputation can directly improve your search rankings because it shows Google that your business is reliable and reputable. There are so many benefits to SEO Reputation Management, and to agencies who offer both as part of their product lineups
Take Control of the SERPs
As mentioned, SEO Reputation Management can help you dominate a local search engine results page. You can literally show up in the ads, the map, the sidebar, or organically if you optimize properly and take advantage of every opportunity. Your SEO specialist or company will know what it takes to help you rank in every possible location on the SERP.
It’s All About Improving Trust for the Long Term
Of course the goal of SEO reputation management is to improve trust. It’s to help improve your reputation in the eyes of Google and in the eyes of your competition. Honestly, a slew of negative press or reviews can break a company’s reputation and it can take years to rebuild. You want to take advantage of all growth opportunities to maintain your brand you’ve worked so hard to build. Make sure the end user continues to trust in it, because word gets around!
Do I Need Reputation Management SEO?
It’s safe to say that creating a good reputation online is beneficial for your business. It’s an important part of any SEO strategy. And SEO can help you improve your online presence. It’s a winning combination. This list is a good place to get started in your efforts, but certainly not the end of the road.
If you are a reputation management agency looking to expand your product set, consider selling Boostability’s White Label SEO Services. We can help your clients rank as part of a winning package to improve their online presence through SEO services. Contact us today to get started.