Many businesses today have learned that their online reputation is directly related to their income. This is not difficult to understand when you consider how many consumers today will conduct online research before deciding whether to purchase specific products and services and from who. Obviously a business’ online reputation can help to highlight how trustworthy they are, how customer-service oriented they are and what consumers think of their products and services. What may not be as well known is how online reputation affects a business’ findability.
Search Engine Reputation Management
A business’ findability is essentially their visibility to consumers who are looking to buy. Where a business is not findable, it’s safe to say that consumers are largely unaware of their existence and therefore will not buy from them. Business reputation management services can help to improve online reputation and in so doing, improve a findability. Specifically, there are five main ways a business’ online reputation affects their findability:
1. Spreading brand familiarity.
2. Providing information about the physical location.
3. Advertising the business’ products or services.
4. Maintaining a strong online presence.
5. Building positive reputation and community involvement.
There was once a time where the primary things one heard about a business were only those things the business itself promoted. With the introduction of the internet, however, as well as review sites, social networking, blogs and more, consumers have literally limitless options to generate word of mouth about businesses. Unfortunately, while some of this word of mouth is highly complimentary and beneficial to the business’ reputation, some of this word of mouth can be disparaging and even highly damaging to the business. Needless to say, the latter may potentially increase a business’ visibility, but not in a way that is helpful in attracting and securing new consumers. This is why reputation monitoring services are so important, and improving one’s online reputation is critical.
Improving Your Online Reputation
There are many different things that can be done in order to improve an online reputation. One of the most important things a business can do is listen. A business absolutely must know where and how to listen in order to find out how consumers feel about them. Generally speaking, this requires that one monitors social media networks, blogs, review sites and whatever else is necessary to uncover what is being said about them. Complimentary statements should be duly acknowledged and shared, whereas unflattering, derogatory and even downright slanderous statements must be handled carefully. These types of statements can obviously scar or even ruin a business’ online reputation, but an inappropriate response from the business can exacerbate the situation. A business can work hard to obtain scores of honest, positive reviews and increase their SEO to help push down negative and unflattering reviews. They can also focus some time and attention on addressing negative reviews honestly and professionally in an effort to make things right with disgruntled consumers. Finally, they can pursue whatever legal means are available and necessary to remove outright slanderous and false reviews.
A business that works proactively to establish a strong online reputation and protect it from damage is definitely more findable and therefore more successful in achieving their overall business goals. While they may not be able to control what is said about them (though they can certainly encourage their customers to leave honest, positive reviews), they are certainly able to quickly address negative situations. Sometimes they can even turn these negative situations around into positive ones, impressing not only the customer himself, but also dozens or even hundreds of other potential customers.